QuickRead: APC leadership crisis. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said last week his Yobe State counterpart, Mai Mala Buni, had been removed as acting chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the March 26 national convention. This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. APC leadership crisis
“Buni is gone, the Secretary is gone. Governor Bello is in charge and he has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and 19 governors. Buni can only return as Governor of Yobe State but never as chairman of our party.
“President Buhari ordered his removal and this has been implemented. Governor Bello has taken over and things are moving according to plan. The party will be restored and the convention will take place as scheduled. The 19 governors and their deputies are solidly behind this move,” Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said in a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on March 9.
However, some other key members of the party, including governors, have continued to insist that the Yobe governor remains the party’s chairman.
Why it matters
The recent development only but confirms that all is not well within Nigeria’s ruling party ahead of the 2023 general elections. The name-calling and backstabbing and the in-fighting as a whole is indicative of a deeper schism that may not bode well for a party intent on retaining power beyond eight years.
The internal contestations is also a reminder that politics is an interest-driven game in which contending forces are constantly in a struggle to seize the reins of authority in bid to decide who gets what.
In the case of APC, the unfolding events aptly describe a battle royale for control of party structures informed largely by the fact that the various tendencies that coalesced into an organization are now jostling for pole position to determine who dominates the party organs ahead of 2023.
2. Court’s order on Umahi
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on March 9 ordered the removal of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe and 16 lawmakers for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in November 2020.
The judge, who gave the order while ruling on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) application, said: “It can be noted that the Constitution does not deal with the issue of defection lightly.
“The 3rd and 4th defendants cannot transfer the votes and victory of the plaintiff on March 9, 2019, to the APC. Office of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state belongs to the PDP.
“The option for Umahi and Igwe is to vacate office and wait for the next election to contest election under the platform of their new party.”
Why it matters
The ruling confirms the place of law in governance, and further illustrates the technicalities associated with the interpretation of the constitution as it relates to the defection of public officials from one party to the other.
While the controversy on who actually owns the mandates between the parties and candidates is as old as the country’s democratic journey itself, the Abuja court’s ruling reinforces the call for amendment of the constitution to address the situation.
Read also: QUICKREAD: Kyari’s planned extradition to the US. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter
Unless this is done, the matter of what is right, in terms of politicians cross-carpeting from one party to the other, can only be fully resolved by the country’s Supreme Court.
3. Jonathan on use of technology for elections
Former President Goodluck Jonathan on March 10 urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fully deploy technology for electoral processes in member states.
Jonathan, who made the call in his address at the ongoing First Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia, Liberia, said: “If full technology is deployed at all stages in the electoral process, elections will be free and fair and completely eliminate the manipulation and rigging of results.
“When technology is deployed across the board, you will find out that people can even vote from the comfort of their homes or in their cars.”
Why it matters
The ex-President’s remark serves to deepen the clamour for transparent and credible electoral processes in in various countries.
Its immediate import is that it challenges, in particular, the Nigerians state to take the lead in ensuring that all constitutional provisions are made ready ahead of the 2023 polls.
When this is done and fully executed, it will raise the prospects for the emergence of a credible leadership build on a lasting culture where votes truly count, and democracy is entrenched.
4. Ortom’s call for self-defence
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on March 9 charged the people of the state to confront the killer herdsmen wreaking havoc in the state.
The governor, who made the call in a statement issued by his media aide, Nathaniel Ikyur, said: “It is no longer fashionable to continue to cry out for help. We must now be alert and ready to confront these killers. This is another way we can assist the security agencies in combating this menace since they are obviously overstretched beyond limits.”
Why it matters
The governor’s charge to the people of the state indicates not only his lack of confidence in the federal government’s ability to tackle the problem but renews the debate for a rejig of the country’s security architecture.
Indeed, Ortom’s latest directive marks another episode in Nigeria’s gradual descent into anarchy where non-state actors have embarked on a killing spree, seizing territories, enlarging the coast of ungoverned terrains and threatening the country’s sovereignty.
5. PDP crisis in Osun
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State on March 8 elected two governorship candidates at the party’s parallel primaries held in the state.
At one of the primaries held at the Osogbo City Stadium and coordinated by Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke was declared the party’s governorship candidate for the July 16 election in the state.
In the second primaries conducted by another faction in the state capital, Prince Dotun Babayemi was declared the winner after defeating four other aspirants in the exercise.
Ewhrudjakpo, who declared Adeleke as winner of the first primary said: “By the power conferred on me as the Chief Returning Officer of this gubernatorial primary, we, hereby collectively declared Adeleke Ademola Jackson, as the winner of this gubernatorial primary for the 2022 governorship election in Osun.”
Why it matters
Without a doubt, the conduct of parallel primaries in Osun exposes the crack in the state chapter of PDP, and illustrates the inability of political parties in Nigeria to handle internal democracy within the ranks at the very least.
The failure of politicians to handle internal democracy, and the chaos that often results in multifaceted litigation before and after elections, have continued to constitute a threat to the nation’s democracy and expose the fragility of the parties.
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