The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new dimension with the National Peace and Reconciliation Committee for each of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria struggling to make headway.
National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, led by Adams Oshiomhole, had, on Wednesday, November 21, inaugurated a reconciliation committee tasked with the responsibility of reconciling aggrieved members of the party.
The NWC had announced the formation of the committees, with each headed by a governor, to find a way out of the stalemate, so that they could go into the 2019 elections as one strong family.
“Do everything to ensure peace within the rank and file of the party,” Oshiomhole charged the committees during their inauguration.
The APC chairman, who said the committees were free to consult them on new issues that might arise in the course of their assignments, added that the terms of reference given to them were amenable.
It was learned that the committees might not be able to alter the decisions the party had already taken on the volatile states, particularly Ogun, Imo and Zamfara, despite the ongoing protests.
While some of the aggrieved members have insisted that they must be given the party’s tickets, others have demanded compensation with appointments while others are demanding a refund of the monies spent to purchase the nomination and expression of interest forms of the party.
In Ogun State, the grieving loyalists of Governor Ibikunle Amosun have insisted on the declaration of the governor’s anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, as the party’s governorship flag-bearer as a condition for peace to reign in the party, Daily Trust reports.
The aggrieved members are equally demanding the ceding of 26 House of Assembly tickets to Amosun’s loyalists, who had been “denied” candidates form (CF001) by the national leadership of the APC.
It was learned that a presidential reconciliatory team met with Amosun’s group in Abeokuta, barely three days before the APC inaugurated its own peace committee.
The three-man team, led by Princess Sandra Oladele and state executives of the APC, was locked in a closed-door meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta for hours.
Like Ogun, the Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari says the visit of the APC reconciliation committee would be of no value if its main focus is to look into the controversy surrounding the state’s party primaries.
Governor Yari, who spoke through his special adviser on communication, media and public enlightenment, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, said the effort of the committee would not make any difference since they had already filed a suit in a court before the constitution of the peace and reconciliation team.
The governor said until the court delivered its verdict on the case, any reconciliation on the state’s party primaries would be an exercise in futility.
“However, if the committee is coming to talk to all aggrieved members to unite and forge ahead so that the forthcoming election would be won, it would be a welcome idea,” he added.
Aggrieved members of the party in Kogi, have demanded compensation and a refund of the monies spent to purchase forms of the ruling party.
Speaking on the constitution of the reconciliation committee, Ben Adaji, who contested for the Ankpa/Olamaboro/Omala in the House of Representatives, described the move as “belated.”
According to him, “The APC NWC ought to have set up this committee immediately after the kangaroo primaries that took place all over the country,” he said.
On his expectations from the committee, Adaji said, “What I expect from the committee is compensation because this lip service of offering political appointments if the party wins the election will no longer be tenable because of our past experiences.
“I came to contest the primaries for 2019 and the same thing played out. So, lip services of giving appointments will not work. Nobody is going to take them seriously on that. Since they collected our money for nomination and expression of interest forms without conducting free, fair and transparent primaries, they should refund our money.
“Any attempt not to refund the money for these forms, which were sold at exorbitant amounts, would amount to daylight robbery. You cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. We are supposed to benefit from the party and not the other way round,” he said.
In Imo, the chairman of the APC in the state, Dan Nwafor, said the reconciliation would make sense after the restoration of the mandate given to those who won in the primaries conducted by Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Agbabiaka (retd) on October 6, 2018.
Nwafor said, “We are ready for peace, and that peace must come with justice. If the committee is coming to ensure justice, then we will welcome them.
In Yobe state, Yakubu Mainasara, who between 2011 and 2015, represented Nangere/Potiskum federal constituency of Yobe State in the House of Representatives but was reportedly edged out because of the procedures put in place in selecting the candidate, has urged the party to compensate aggrieved members for peace to reign.
“There are hundreds of appointments into boards and parastatals that have not been filled. President Buhari had also long ago promised to expand his cabinet, but he didn’t do it.
“Assuming they had made all these appointments, the pressure would have been less. Thousands of people who work for the success of the party have not been rewarded with anything since 2015. And they now spent their money to vie for elective offices but were edged out; so how would you convince them to work for the party?
“They should make a serious commitment in respect of appointments, and I am sure that many of us would remain in the party because it is better to remain in APC than to go elsewhere,” he said.