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UNDERGROUND MOVES TO QUENCH APC FIRE: Why instigators may call party’s bluff

NASS: We are surprised like every other Nigerian —APC

After the period of grandstanding, the All Progressives Congress (APC), seems to have come to the realization that a bird at hand is worth much more than those in the bush. For this reason, its leadership, including President Muhammadu Buhari, has been having sleepless nights over what could become of the party’s fortunes in the 2019 general elections.

Fear of what would happen to the party should its members embark on the much anticipated exodus, is making the party leadership swallow the humble pie and go on its knees to seek the face it had made pariah in the administration of the country.

Ripples Nigeria understands that APC leadership is now terrified that the picture looks very bleak. “It is afraid of losing the 2019 election because once the R-APC pulls out, APC is gone”, said Mike Pam, a lawyer and political analysts in Abuja.

Saraki’s Cross

An insider in APC who is in the know of the developments, said the party’s leadership is having sleepless nights about losing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the opposition.

According to the source, several top members of the party from the north, are on regular secret pilgrimage to Saraki’s home to beg him and his group not to decamp.

The source noted that Saraki is one of the architects of the R-APC whom the party believes can pull the strings if they are able to convince him to stay.

Like a fairy tale romance gone wrong, Saraki is seen to be adamant which necessitated involvement of the President. For this reason, the president has called in Saraki severally in the past one week for talks.

It was gathered that at one of such talks, the President apologized to Saraki for the humiliating treatment he had received in the hands of the party and the Presidency since he became Senate President in 2015.

According to our source, “no one at the meeting could say exactly why Saraki was subjected to such humiliation. They were only saying they were sorry. How do you humiliate your number three in that way only to come back now to say you are sorry?”, asked our source.

Saraki’s travails started soon after President Buhari was sworn in. The president declared his intention not to interfere in the election of the leadership of the National Assembly.

His decision opened the door for some other forces in the party to work to install a leadership that would have delivered the National Assembly to their control.

However, Saraki, an influential and ranking member of the Senate entered the race and contested against the preferred choice of some members of the party leadership.

His victory in the election was however made possible by senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who saw in him, the opportunity to stop what would have become a stranglehold on the Senate by the APC leadership.

The victory also brought out the beast in those who sought to destroy Saraki as he was soon after charged before the Code of Conduct tribunal on allegations of not declaring his asset while he was governor of Kwara State.

The humiliation of arraigning him in court for criminal trial, was followed by protests before the National Assembly calling for his resignation on the grounds that he was facing criminal trial.

The protests also denied Saraki the leverage the judicial process gives him in seeking redress as he was constantly harassed by opponents who deployed their energies to humiliate him.

Saraki also suffered public humiliation in Ilorin when a mob, said to have been paid, rallied and stoned him with water sachets during an Eid prayer at the Ilorin prayer ground in 2016.

The worst of humiliation suffered by Saraki was being linked by the Police to a fatal bank robbery attack at Offa in Kwara state.

The Police leadership was quick in its investigation and publicly declared, through its spokesman Moshood Jimoh, that the Senate president was wanted by the Police to clear his name in connection with the armed robbery incident which left scores, including Policemen, dead.

Jimoh had followed up the claim with the public display of weapons and cars allegedly used in the robbery pointing to same as having been supplied by Saraki to the armed robbery gang.

Not done, the alleged armed robbers were also paraded before cameramen as they named Saraki and the Kwara state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, as their sponsor. The robbers also alleged that they worked for the duo as political thugs.

Tension generated by the Police action was however calmed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who intervened and stopped further humiliation of the Senate President by the Police.

However, threatened by fear of what becomes of the party should Saraki pull out, the APC leadership is working overtime to retain him while begging for forgiveness and opening its doors to making concessions.

Oshiomhole and Galadima

After his grandstanding, the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, whose office is subject of a legal challenge instituted by the R-APC, had to spirit himself to the home of Buba Galadima in Abuja to seek soft landing.

Oshiomhole had dismissed Galadima and R-APC as non-issues. He had also dismissed Galadima as a neophyte while suggesting that he has capacity to sweep him and his R-APC off the cliff.

He however realized how mistaken he was when R-APC joined SDP and other political parties in forming an alliance which culminated in CUPP (Coalition of United Political Parties).

A source in APC revealed that formation of the coalition and agreement on forming a unity government if APC is defeated in the 2019 election sent jitters down the spine of APC forcing its leadership to come off their high horse and begin to beg for forgiveness.

It was for this reason that Oshiomhole reportedly went at night to seek the face of Galadima.

According to our source, Oshiomhole begged Galadima to withdraw the suit R-APC filed in court questioning his election as National chairman of APC.

Read also: R-APC to APC: Your begging is coming rather too late, the train has left the station

Indeed, Galadima had pointed fingers at the National Convention of APC as an issue. He complained that the convention was illegal as the constitution of APC was ignored in how the elections were conducted.

Before going to court, Galadima and members of the R-APC, boasted that the outcome of the convention will not survive judicial scrutiny.

But our source also hinted that Oshiomhole was also interested in how he could make Galadima pull out of the R-APC and make it to collapse.

“He wants Buba to bring the R-APC back into APC. But that’s a difficult one because he does not know Buba very well”, our source hinted.

Recall that Galadima was a very strong acolyte of Gen. Buhari in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). They however parted ways in 2014 when Buhari re-surfaced for the Presidential election after telling his team that he was done with contesting to be president.

Meanwhile, PDP had opened its doors to returnees from APC granting them almost all the demands they made as condition to rejoin the party.

In doing so, PDP understood the influence wielded by the group.

It would be recalled that PDP lost the 2015 general election basically because of its arrogance in believing that the departure of five of its governors, two from very key states, would not affect its fortunes. It learnt the bitter way.

APC, is jittery over same fate. But will it make the necessary concessions and eat the humble pie?

But Pam warns that Saraki and others whom APC and Buhari had gone to beg to remain in the party, ought to be wise and learn from history.

According to Pam, “this was exactly the same scenario in 2002 when Obasanjo had to go beg some governors and Atiku to allow him a second term. They forgave him but we all know the rest of the story. So, Saraki and co should not allow history repeat itself”.

Wamako and Goje

It was rumoured, that President Buhari had also gone on pilgrimage to the homes of Senators Aliyu Wamako from Sokoto state and Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe state and an influential member of the party.

It was gathered that during the visits, Buhari begged Wamako to prevail of his political god-son and governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal, not to defect to PDP. He was also said to have expressed concern over talks of Tambuwal getting involved in the Presidential race. The visit may have delayed Wamako’s expected return to PDP.

At Goje’s house, it was also gathered that President Buhari pleaded with Goje to stay back in APC and work for his re-election. Though it was not clear if Goje gave him a positive nod, Ripples Nigeria understands that the president dangled stoppage of his trial by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ensuring that the case against him does not go to trial as carrots.

One thing is however certain for now, the APC is making deft moves to keep it’s House together, as it definitely can not afford an explosion. However there are many who feel this would be a tough task for Oshiomhole and the party’s leadership, as it has to convince, and offer an alternative to many of those eyeing the presidency.

By Femi Qudus….

 

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