By Emmanuel Mogbede, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The recent appointment of All Progressives Congress (APC) leader Bola Tinubu by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the crisis rocking the party by reconciling members’ interests has generated controversies since the announcement.
For most political observers, Tinubu, one of the founding-members of the party, is seen as the most aggrieved.
Irrespective of this perception, some party members observe that his appointment will improve cohesion within the party ahead of 2019 general elections, although he has to go through thick and thin of resolving disagreements among party members and leaders.
Tinubu’s assignment, nonetheless, will only mar or make APC in 2019 depending on how he can hold the party together without tampering with various political interests that observers describe as a difficult task, they argue.
Already, pundits note that political office holders in some APC-controlled states such as Kano, Kogi, Kaduna State, Bauchi State and Cross River, among others, are embroiled in crises that require proper reconciliation.
Sen. Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central, believes that Tinubu’s appointment would halt defection of most APC members to other political parties for now.
He, nonetheless, warned that it would be a tragedy for the party if Tinubu could only achieve halting defection, leaving the main interest crisis.
Sani said that avoidable doom awaited the APC at the 2019 polls should Tinubu fail to reconcile aggrieved party members.
“Kaduna State chapter of the party is now having a parallel executive; it is left for the Tinubu team to address the situation before it gets out of hand.
´´It is no more news that the APC is faced with crisis in some states where it holds sway and this crisis has defied solutions for over two years.
´´Right now, the party is already divided in Kaduna and it is for the national secretariat to note this and we have said it in clear terms.
´´The problem has defied solution for two years, but we believe that Asiwaju can do a lot of reconciliation and we hope that he will be able to achieve a lot because if he fails, it is going to be precarious doom for the party.
“In the reconciliation process, I think it is in our interest to put our ambitions in our pockets,’’ he advised.
He advised further that the reconciliation committee should not take sides but should rather offer equal treatment to all presented cases.
He expressed confidence that Tinubu’s appointment could address the fundamental issues that had been confronting the party at both the national and state levels.
But Alhaji Yabagi Sani, National Chairman, Action Democratic Party, said Tinubu might not have solution to APC’s many troubles which its national chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, enumerated.
´´There is no doubt that there are major issues in the National Assembly, major issues in Kano, Kogi and Benue which is the current challenge.
“Tinubu cannot be a judge in his own case. Besides, he is the bone of contention in all the crises in the APC,’’ he observed.
According to him, Tinubu is not in good terms with the Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the APC, even though it has the support of the presidency.
Sani maintained that the crisis within APC was in its foundation and it should be tackled from there.
He observed further that even as Tinubu hit the ground running in reconciling party members, the crisis in the APC Kaduna State seemed to have gone worse as the state government had allegedly demolished the building used by a faction of the party.
Political observers, therefore, believe that the seeming inability of the Odigie-Oyegun-led reconciliation committees to deliver informed the decision of the presidency to inaugurate Tinubu’s reconciliation committee.
As daunting as critics say the task has become, Tinubu has, however, assured party members that he would give listening ears to all complaints from the party’s troubled chapters across the country.
He, nonetheless, cautioned that party members ought to examine themselves to make the task easier.
He noted that since the party won elections in 2015, expectations of Nigerians and the attendant goodwill were very high, pointing out that “the situation is different now’’.
He promised that he would seek opinion and advice on various complaints in some of the states to reconcile aggrieved members ahead of the 2019 elections.
“We worked hard to get victory; we have never governed before, but we won the confidence of Nigerians to govern.
“We have a plan to really serve the country to change and reform the country, but it is not easy to have those changes implemented like instant coffee; we have to grow it and face challenges,’’ he said.
Tinubu explained that the challenges faced by the government and the president were enormous, noting that it was unfortunate that people were not paying attention to the various statistics that were available.
´´The challenges of reform and re-engineering of the finances of this country, stopping corruption and challenging the status quo to change are there; they don’t go away over night,’’ he said.
In his view, Sen. Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central, said the reconciliation committee would be successful if the APC governors cooperated with him.
He observed that Tinubu was the best option to resolve the party’s conflicts, warning that Tinubu’s failure would signify the end of APC.
“The best option for the party is the path of Sen. Bola Tinubu and I believe that he will succeed. If he will succeed it depends on whether the governors are prepared to cooperate with him,’’ he said.
He observed further that the last chance for the party to unite and restore order was for Tinubu to succeed and if he did not succeed, the party would be endangered.
Similarly former Gov. Orji Kalu of Abia, pleaded with Tinubu to accelerate the mandate of reconciling aggrieved members of the party.
He expressed confidence that the former Lagos State governor would settle the rift within the party and sail the party in 2019 presidential election.
A political analyst, Romanus Ugwu in Abuja, also suggested that the “cold war’’ between Tinubu and Oyegun should be addressed to bring unity in the party and ensure genuine reconciliation.
But political analysts insist that the challenges facing the reconciliation committee are beyond the hostilities between the two gladiators and advise APC stakeholders to approach the crisis holistically.