The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee appears divided on how to approach the open indictment of its Muslim-Muslim ticket by some of its chieftains.
Former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and a former Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, at a gathering in Abuja last Friday under the auspices of APC Northern Christian Leaders’ Summit had vowed to work against the single faith ticket of the APC which has Senators Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as Presidential candidate and running mate respectively.
Lawal in his paper, “Our Case against Muslim-Muslim ticket,” described the single faith ticket as a continuation of domination of Christians, particularly in the Northern region.
The ex-SGF who maintained that the single faith ticket of the APC was not accidental but a deliberate agenda to subjugate Nigerians of the Christian faith further called to question the present NWC of the party which he noted was skewed against Christians.
He asked Nigerians across ethnic divides who are Christians to use their voter cards to reject the duo of Senators Tinubu and Shettima at the forthcoming February 25, 2023 poll.
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dogara spoke in similar vein in his own paper entitled, “Righteousness Exalts a Nation, but Sin a reproach to any People.”
Both the former SGF and former Speaker of House of Representatives who incidentally are from Adamawa and Bauchi, the same North East geopolitical zone as Senator Shettima later paid a visit to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike at his country home in the south-south state.
Members of the APC National Working Committee who spoke with Nigerian Tribune in separate telephone interviews however expressed varied positions on how the party should handle the stance and actions of the chieftains of the party who are asking the electorate to reject the party presidential candidate.
National Vice Chairman, North West, Honourable Isaac Kekemeke described the actions of both Engineer Babachir Lawal and Yakubu Dogara as anti-party activities that should not be treated with kid gloves. He called for their sanctions.
He said: “For me, anyone who claims to be a member of the party, to begin to criticise the party openly, chastise the party presidential candidate, condemn the decision of the party leaders who have endorsed the choice of Vice-president candidate, is the highest manifestation of gross indiscipline and anti-party. We can’t continue like this in the APC.
“Dogara and Lawal must be called to order and disciplined. Their actions is an embarrassment to the party; what it means is that they are never with this party from the word go.
“They aren’t bigger than any other member of the party. I call for their discipline, if they refuse to desist from their effrontery. They can resign from the party. It is either they stop this open indictment of the party or they are disciplined.”
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka who also spoke with Nigerian Tribune however said the party would seek reconciliation with Lawal, Dogara and their colleagues who were organisers of the Northern Christian Leaders Summit. Morka, who is from Delta State in the south-south, however, declined comment on the visit to Governor Wike in Port Harcourt by Lawal and Dogara.
He said: “I don’t want to comment on their meeting with Governor Wike, we don›t know why they travelled to Rivers State to engage Governor Wike.
“But on their gathering in Abuja, where they spoke against the Muslim Muslim ticket, we expect them to submit themselves to the judgement of the party presidential candidate who actually consulted with party stakeholders.
“They aren›t the only people who are aggrieved, consultations are ongoing, even with presidential aspirants who lost out at the Convention and other aggrieved chieftains. We really don’t know the motive, the intention of the former SGF and the former Speaker, but we are going to engage them. It isn›t true that the APC NWC is quiet and doing nothing. The party is engaging everybody across board.”
Former deputy national publicity secretary of the party, Yekeen Nabena, also called for reconciliation.
The APC chieftain who noted that the former SGF was genuinely aggrieved however said the party leadership should ignore Honourable Dogara as he claimed the loyalty of the former Speaker had always been in doubt.
«At this point, Babachir Lawal has a right to be angry as a politician. What the party should do is to put in place a Committee to talk to Babachir Lawal.
“The former SGF has been faithful, unlike Dogara that has been going back and forth. People like Babachir Lawal, the party should seek audience with them.”
In a separate telephone interview with Nigerian Tribune, the former SGF who said he spoke based on his conviction said he would not be bothered if reprimanded by the party national secretariat.
He said: “No! What am I getting from the party? I am not bothered!”
The PDP spokesman recalled how the opposition party had on various occasions alerted that the APC government had ceded sovereignty over a large portion of our country to terrorists, “many of whom were imported into our country by the APC.”
He further stated: “From the video, in a brazen manner, terrorists as non-state actors boldly showed their faces, boasting, admitting and confirming their participation in the Kuje Prison break, some of whom were former prison inmates who were either jailed or awaiting trial for their previous terrorism act against our country.
“Nigerians can equally recall the confession by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the APC government knows the plans and whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act.
According to Ologunagba, about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists between 2020 and 2022 “as the criminals continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.”
“This is not politics; this is about humanity and leadership, which leadership sadly and unfortunately is missing in our country at this time,” he said.
The PDP added that it is appalled by “the lame response by the apparently helpless, clueless and deflated Buhari Presidency, wherein it told an agonizing nation that President Buhari “has done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander in Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military…”
“This is a direct admission of incapacity and failure by the Buhari Presidency and the APC. At such a time, in other climes, the President directly leads the charge and takes drastic measures to rescue and protect his citizens.
“In time of adversity, the President transmutes into Consoler-in-Chief to give hope and succour to the citizens. Painfully, Nigeria does not have a President who cares and can stand as Consoler-in-Chief to the citizens.
“It has now become very imperative for Nigerians to take note and realize that the only solution to this unfortunate situation is to hold the APC government accountable. We must come together as a people, irrespective of our political, ethnic and religious affiliations to resist the fascist-leaning tendencies of the APC administration.
Ologunagba called for an urgent meeting of the National Council of State to advise on the way to go over the nation’s worsening insecurity.
“Our nation must not fall. The resilient Nigerian spirit and ‘can-do- attitude’ must be rekindled by all to prevail on the President to immediately and without further delay, accede to the demand by the PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians to convene a special session of the National Council of State to find a lasting solution since the President has, in his own admission, come to his wit’s end,” the PDP spokesman declared.