There was a time the All Progressives Congress (APC) was in a serious crisis of self doubt, which almost tore it apart.
That situation largely resulted from internal squabbles, a quarrelsome struggle for supremacy and an unimaginative management of electoral success and growing membership size.
There were cries and protests from sidelined senior politicians, if you like, the deep members of the party; those who committed their time, energy and other resources to negotiate the formation of the APC. Doors were shuttered on their faces. They were treated poorly. They consequently recoiled into their shells, reliving Bola Ige’s “siddon look.”
Countless litigations against the party emanating from members and non-members based on varied complaints and interests were so distractive, disruptive and even destructive.
The perceived failure to reward those who contributed to the success of the party by the primary beneficiaries of that success when governments were formed, generated anger and muted internal rebellion. The then leadership of the APC at the national level was in disarray. Many state branches were in crisis.
Worried by the party’s tottering towards implosion, past President Muhamnadu Buhari and a few other deep members of the deep APC came together and used their wisdom and foresight to find ways to rescue the party from a political precipice.
On June 25, 2020, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC met under the sagacious leadership of past President Muhammadu Buhari and dissolved the crisis-ridden National Working Committee (NWC) led by Adam Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and famed leader of the country’s labour movement.
The NEC created a Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) chaired by the governor of Yobe state, Mai Bala Buni, a foundation member of the party and its National Secretary prior to becoming a state governor. Membership of the CECPC reflected the diversity of the party’s historical origin.
While some members of the dissolved NWC thought of taking legal action against the dissolution of the body, a tactful Adams Oshiomhole heeded Buhari’s call by withdrawing his court case against the party and accepted the disbanding of the NWC by the National Executive Committee.
Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni and members of his Committee rebuilt the party so successfully that it made an inroad into the South East, expanded its membership base nationwide and among states and national assembly members. This made APC the second largest political party in Africa, after the older African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.
A delighted past President Muhammadu Buhari severally praised Governor Mai Mala Buni and members of the Caretaker Committee for rebuilding the party and making it trustworthy for the electorates ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The former President himself was praised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) which heartily felicitates with him on December 16, 2023 on the occassion of his 81st birthday anniversary.
The APC said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Felix Morka that, “As two-term President, your administration did a commendable job of laying an enduring foundation for the development and greatness of our dear country.”
The party described Muhammadu Buhari as “Legendary for his unparalleled integrity, incorruptibility and uncanny dedication to nation building, we celebrate a visionary leader, elder statesman, patriot and democrat.”
In a similar birthday message, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu described Buhari’s leadership qualities as peerless and noted the former President’s unparalleled record in contribution to the development of Nigeria.
The now rested CECPC organised a National Convention at which a fresh corps of leaders was elected. The new team led the party to win more state governorship and legislative seats in the general elections. Topping that success was the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President of Nigeria.
In a television interview, Mai Mala Buni recalled that despite attempts to cause confusion, he and members of his team did not fumble or failed in reviving the APC, strengthening it and turning it into a leading party that resoundingly won the 2023 general elections.
Salisu Na’inna Dambatta is APC National Director of Publicity on leave