The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC had on June 25, 2020, dissolved its National Working Committee (NWC) where Tinubu and his associates had a clear majority.
They lost the battle as the management of the party structure is now in the hands of a caretaker committee and state governors who are battling to reassert their control over the party’s machinery.
Although the general view is that Tinubu will run for the presidency in 2023, but he has not announced any such intentions.
Sources said the former Lagos State governor now experiences serious rivals in the party.
The divisions in the party are said to be led by the camps of Nasir el Rufai, governor of Kaduna State and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport on one side; and deposed chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the other.
Other factions within the party include Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi and Works Minister, Babatunde Fashola.
All the warriors are said to be modest about their ambitions, but many have their eyes on the 2023 general polls.
“Don’t forget that an Abuja High Court ruling on March 5, 2020, which ordered Oshiomhole to obey his suspension by his ward in Edo State, opened the fault lines of the APC pitching its governors against Tinubu.
“Tinubu is known to have installed Oshiomhole and has being his back bone, shielding him from the party’s ambitious state chief executives who see the national chairman as a stumbling block to their 2023 presidential aspirations.
“With the court ruling, believed to have been procured by proxy by the governors, the stage was set for an epic battle with the national leader,” said a party chieftain who does not want his name published.
He added that the party “quickly moved to avert a power vacuum that the court ruling would have created, announcing the approval of nominations into vacant positions in the NWC.”
The Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC warned last week that the main aim of dissolving the immediate-past NWC of the party will be defeated if the party goes into a national convention in a crisis.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement, said the focus of the committee is on achieving and sustaining lasting unity, peace and reconciliation in the party ahead of the planned national convention of the party.
He spoke against the backdrop of a groundswell of opposition by APC members against an alleged plot to extend the tenure of the committee beyond December.
Also, the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, on Thursday, described those opposed to the planned membership registration/revalidation exercise, as political bandits who were desperate to install surrogate leaders.
In a statement titled, “Campaign against Membership Registration in APC: A Smokescreen for Surrogate Leadership,” in Abuja, Lukman, noted that claims by some party leaders that the mandate given to the caretaker committee didn’t include membership registration, were being dishonest.
He said, “In this age of banditry, it will appear that some of our so-called leaders are as skillful in politics as the criminal bandits ravaging our communities – towns and villages. We must appeal to these so-called leaders to come back to their senses. For anybody to claim our party’s membership, not even emerge as a leader, the legal standing of such a person must be beyond suspect.
“One will expect any leader of the party with any claim of being a progressive or even democratic politician to welcome the need to have membership registration/verification ahead of the APC National Convention.
“In fact, even after membership registration/verification, before we can satisfy that there are legal delegates for any National Convention, APC would require Ward, Local Government, and State Congresses.
“These congresses need to hold ahead of the National Convention to affirm that the delegates to attend the National Convention have the authority of party members.”
The PGF DG further explained that the debate ought to be about how to conduct both the membership registration and congresses in ways that would assist in resolving the lingering leadership crisis in the party.
He, however, said, “Sadly, it would appear that it is the old challenge of ensuring that the party remained with crisis-prone approaches based on some tight-fisted control of party structures by some leaders.
“This means, the design is not about laying a strong foundation for the party based on which the rules of the party are the reference point but instead ensuring that the party is controlled by some designated leaders whose only objective is to manipulate the process of candidate selection for elections.
“These so-called leaders advocating for APC to have National Convention without going through the process of membership registration/ verification simply want to plant their surrogates as the new leaders of the party. To achieve that, false arguments are being presented that the National Convention of the party doesn’t require membership registration.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Tuesday gave the Buni Committee to go ahead with the registration and revalidation exercise.
The 13-member caretaker committee, headed by Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni, was given six months to complete its assignment, including organising a national convention for new leaders to emerge and also to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.
Due to the perceived inaction of the committee to roll out a timetable for the convention, a group, Concerned Members of the All Progressives Congress, warned the caretakers not to stay beyond December.
It also threatened to approach the court for interpretation of the party’s constitution, especially the composition of the committee, which it said violated section 17 (4) of the party’s constitution.
Reacting to the developments in the party, Nabena said: “It is important that the APC conducts its planned national convention to produce the party’s national leadership as a united house. Otherwise the main aim of constituting the committee following the dissolution of the immediate-past National Working Committee (NWC) will be defeated.
“The planned nationwide registration, update, revalidation of the party’s membership register will undoubtedly cement the APC’s political and numerical status as Nigeria’s largest political party.
“Also, the committee has resuscitated the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanisms and has set up reconciliation committees for Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ogun and Ekiti among other states chapters with reported disputes.
The committees are already meeting with the key stakeholders in the various states and have achieved substantial reconciliation in many states.”
Nabena said ahead of the planned APC national convention and the 2023 general elections, stakeholders should continue to support the committee’s efforts to unite the party in order to make it formidable enough to consolidate on its national governing status and landmark achievements.
He added that the ruling party must not go into a national convention and general elections in crisis.
“We should take it one step at a time and ensure that the ongoing national reconciliation process being undertaken by the committee is sustained, successful and continues to yield results,” he added.