The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently embroiled in crisis with a faction that calls itself Broom Unity Movement (BUM) led by a loyalist of the National Leader of APC, Mr Faud Oki. The emergence of the group few days ago seems to confirm existing speculations on the state of health of the party, BOLA BADMUS reports.
Few days ago, Lagosians woke up to the news of the emergence of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state led by Mr Faud Oki, one of the key loyalists of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Oki, who had been in charge of campaign organisations of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, now Minister of Works, Power and Housing and, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, as director general, was reported to have gathered some APC chieftains to a venue, the lounge of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, on Tuesday, to declare that the party had broken into factions, accusing the leadership of the party in Lagos led by Otunba Henry Ajomale of engaging in what he termed “illegalities, manipulation and marginalisation” against members.
Oki, who named the new group the Broom United Movement (BUM), a development which came barely two weeks after Tinubu started his assignment as head of the reconciliation committee of the APC, warned that unless genuine reconciliation was allowed to take place, the party in the state may be heading for a crisis and disaster in coming eections.
According to Oki, the Lagos State chapter of APC suffers from low organisational capacity and lack of internal democracy, saying that the resultant effect of this had been its incapacity to support democracy as expected.
“Our party suffers from low organisational capacity and lack of internal democracy. The resultant effect of this has been its incapacity to support our democracy as expected. Today, our party in Lagos State is fading into insignificance. Massive membership exclusion is becoming the order of the day with members withdrawing from the political space and constituting themselves into internal opposition,” he lamented.
“The current graveyard silence that permeates our political landscape with a ‘siddon look’ syndrome is very dangerous,” he said, adding that political parties are vital organisations in a democracy, and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties. Unfortunately, the democratic culture in our state is characterised by factors such as illegalities, rigging, oppression, manipulation, marginalisation and violence.
“Democracy and political participation are related to good governance; this relationship is complementary but appears to be antithetical in our political system. When democracy is abused, good governance becomes elusive and evasive.” It is in the light of all these that the BUM will involve committed party members who will bring moral authority, character and wisdom in handling the delicate issue of reconciliation, unity and accord.”
Oki assured party members that from now on, their “votes will count and they will be allowed to freely choose their leaders in a healthy competitive atmosphere.”
But a twist to the emergence of the Oki-led faction is that the party may have begun suspension process against the facilitator himself, as he has been summoned to appear before a committee put up by the APC leadership in the state.
Oki confirmed this to Nigerian Tribune, adding that he was billed to appear before the disciplinary panel and explain why he should go and form a faction of the party in the state. According to him, the panel was set up as being clamoured by those “who do not like him and what he did,” with the aim of suspending him from the party, but he quickly said such a move is “an internal thing by the party.”
When asked if the BUM would still remain now that he faces possible suspension from the party based on the roles he played. Oki boasted: “there is nobody that can stop the Movement. It has an objective and the objective is to reconcile all members of the party and ensure that the APC remains united and strong,”
When contacted, the Assistant Publicity Secretary of Lagos chapter of APC, Honourable Abiodun Salami, said he was not aware that Mr Oki had been summoned to appear before any panel.
Salami said Oki was only trying desperately to make a name for himself, pointing out that whatever he had been saying was a fiction of his own imagination.
“We don’t even know that he is doing anything; everything that he is doing is just his own fantasy. Nobody has given him any summons if he has been served any, let him produce it,” Salami said.
The party spokesperson, however, contended that some masquerades were behind the Oki-led group, expressing the belief that very soon they would be exposed.
He wondered why the BUM coordinator, who he said had been part of the Ajomale-led APC leadership all along, and had not raised any at the level, would now find something to complain about.
“The masquerades behind the faction will be exposed soon. He (Oki) has been part of the exco and has not complained about goings-on. Why is he complaining now?” The APC spokesperson said.
The APC leadership in the state may have decided not to admit there is crisis in the party currently. However, for some time now, the second term bid of the incumbent, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, ahead of 2019 governorship poll has polarised the party with those pushing for the bid on behalf of the governor being on one side against the rest of leaders and members.
And the split is more pronounced in Alimosho area of the state, which is the strong political base of the Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. It is in the same Alimosho that a leader of the party, Alhaji Abdulai Enilolobo, is holding the forte for Aregbesola.
It would be recalled that recently, the party had the wisdom to manage what could have become an open conflict between the governor and chairmen of local government areas, most especially from Alimosho. The issue precisely was the appointment of secretaries and supervisory councilors in all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state, which Governor Ambode had allegedly influenced in his favour by having a list comprising his loyalists, who worked for his elections, pushed to all the council chairmen for appointments.
Opposition to the list was very strong from the Alimosho area of the state to the extent that the council chairmen there had to go ahead with the appointments of their favoured candidates as agreed with their leaders. As at that that time, the party leadership in the state admitted knowing about such development and working on its resolution. But such appointments still stay till today and it is not on record if any of such appointment has been reversed till date. A pocket of opposition to the governor’s list also was reported in some instances across the state.
Also, it is possible that the declaration of faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) by Faud Oki might also have been influenced by fact of recent development between the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and the Legislative Arm headed by Speaker Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, which even casual observers would not fail to notice.
Some months ago, it was speculated that the relationship between the governor and the State House of Assembly under Obasa has been quit frosty, but everything came into the open when early Monday, February 26, 2018, the governor decided to sign into Law in the 2018 Budget of over N1trn.
At the signing, unlike the usual tradition for such an important event, the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, was not present, and not represented by any member at the occasion. Members of the State Assembly contacted on the issue even expressed surprise as they were not aware that the governor had signed the budget, which the State House of Assembly passed into law almost a month earlier, a delay which could have made the House begin to consider a veto option once the governor fails to sign the already passed budget bill into law at the expiration of 30 days.
Before the eventual signing by Governor Ambode, Nigerian Tribune had tried to clarify reports in some quarters that the governor had since returned the earlier passed budget to the Assembly, on the basis of some sections of the document which he was not in agreement with.
But the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, when contacted on phone for his reaction, denied knowledge of such report, saying: “I am not aware of that.”
The Majority Leader also said he was not in a position to know why the governor had not signed the 2018 budget into law as passed by the legislature. He simply replied, “I don’t know.”
As things are now, it will be foolhardy for any follower of political development to conclude that things are okay in the Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) and that there is nothing to resolve. However, some party members and chieftains, who would not want their names in print, all admitted that the party is in crisis, but quickly said that the crisis is resolvable.
One of them in his response, said, “there is crisis in APC and there is also no crisis in the party,” arguing that the only crisis rocking the fold is the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who he said all other aggrieved leaders, including former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, Dr Muiz Banire, the party’s National Legal Adviser; among others, are not pleased with the way he had been piloting affairs in the state.