Today’s coronation of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC smacks of the kind of arrogance that can only come from a ruling party. Indeed, what came in as a rumour quickly turned into a project as President Muhammadu Buhari’s famous body language translated into action.
At a dinner President Buhari hosted for the National Chairmanship aspirants in the Presidential Villa on Wednesday night, he told them that the practise of electing National Chairmen had always been by consensus. He reportedly said that Chief Bisi Akande, Chief John Odige-Oyegun, and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; all came by consensus.
According to a source, the President then affirmed that this time around, that it should not be otherwise. The dinner then ended with Buhari telling them that his choice for a consensus candidate was Senator Abdullahi Adamu and that the aspirants should go and work it out.
Such high-stake meetings typically end with millions of naira being doled out to attendees, and this time around, it was no different.
However, the money was not to come from Buhari but from the party which was directed by the President to return the money paid by the aspirants for the form.
While the President gave his narrative of all past Chairmen having come by consensus, he, however, omitted the fact that all three past Chairmen came with the blessing of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The first two, Akande and Odigie-Oyegun were directly nominated by Tinubu. Oshiomhole was a joint nominee of Tinubu and Buhari.
This time around, Tinubu has been left in the cold without a role in the emergence of the next National Working Committee, NWC. The explanation from those around the President is that it is because Tinubu has opted to move from his role of kingmaker to become king.
The option of consensus being preached by the President and those around him clearly suggests that his insistence on the insertion of the use of consensus in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill (2022) was a deliberate political strategy.
The intrigues that were brought to bear by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila of the House of Representatives in trying to shoot down the proposal also suggest that the pro-Tinubu camp had been mindful of the moves by the cabal.
But as always, the President had his way.
If the APC today adopts most of its NWC members by consensus, it would then open the way for the party to also use the same scheme in adopting its candidates for the 2023 election.
That is the fear that the Tinubu Camp had been envisaging. Though consensus had suited the Tinubu camp well in the past, this time around, being at the receiving end of the intrigues and plots of the Buhari Cabal, it is understandably kicking.
It is not as if this kind of arrogance and aversion to internal party democracy is restricted to the APC. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had also shown this knack when it was in power.
Remarkably, the path to the possible emergence of Abdullahi Adamu as National Chairman of the APC was one that the PDP followed on its way to the 2015 election loss.
Still bubbling from the 2011 election victory, President Goodluck Jonathan and his handlers were looking forward to freeing the party from the grip of the Governors.
For Jonathan, it was particularly instructive that as vice-president, several of the Governors disregarded him. It is a sort of irony now that the Governor who perhaps regarded him most as Vice-President was Rotimi Amaechi, the very man who managed the APC campaign that brought him down.
Perhaps in his bid to clip the wings of the Governors, Dr. Jonathan fetched the septuagenarian Second Republic Governor of the defunct Gongola State, Dr. Bamanga Tukur as Chairman. Despite strong opposition, Jonathan muzzled Tukur in as Chairman.
Having been a Governor when many of the 2013 set of Governors were teenagers, he looked down imperiously at them. A Governor was suspended from the party for not replying the phone call of the National Chairman. Another Governor, Amaechi was bundled out of the party.
Yet another Governor, Murtala Nyako was in continuous quarrel with Tukur despite the fact that their children were married to one another.
The rift created by the actions of Tukur inevitably led to the crack that led to the split of the party that saw seven Governors and 57 members of the National Assembly leave the party. One of those who left was Senator Adbullahi Adamu.
Frighteningly, that same Adamu fits the mould of the Tukur that cracked the PDP.
Adamu became Governor, 23 years ago when many of today’s governors were political toddlers, and like Tukur, would not be beholden to them.
It is that fear that has spun rumours of rebellion that Buhari’s order to go and make Adamu Chairman may lead to an unprecedented revolt against Buhari at Eagle Square today.
Besides the possible revolt from the Governors, the Tinubu tendency in the party is completely perplexed by this move. Some believe that Adamu who as Governor was never on the same side with Tinubu has been brought up to silence the Tinubu momentum.
After failing to intimidate Tinubu out of the race, the cabal may have found one man with the grit to stand up to Tinubu. But at what cost?