By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi and Romanus Ugwu
The race for 2019 Presidency may have split the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) into three camps, battling for the soul of the party.
The three main camps are the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) caucus, defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) cum South-West caucus and new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) caucus.
Sources said there are other sub-camps and caucuses that are ready to align with the main three camps when need be.
The tussle in APC is said to be connected with the 2019 general elections and the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the presidential election, which is red years away.
Daily Sun gathered that so intense is the struggle that the three contending factions are scheming to produce chairman of the influential Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party. The BoT is an advisory organ but wields considerable influence in who gets what in any political party.
It was gathered that the struggle for control in the party started shortly after the presidential election on March 28, 2015. Some Buhari loyalists said as it was time the president became the undisputed leader of the party, while others contended that he should face governance and leave party matters to the politicians.
Shortly after, some members of CPC, Buhari’s former party, reportedly said it was normal to allow the incumbent the right of first refusal on a second term and that talks of 2019 should be jettisoned until the APC stabilises in government.
But, members of the defunct ACN and the nPDP believed the president should only serve one term; set the country on the right pedestal, fight corruption and quit the stage for a younger member of the party to take over and continue with the APC manifesto.
In the lead up to the national caucus, BoT and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings tomorrow, a major issue for resolution is the Senate leadership squabble which is still festering.
The attempt of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), chaired by the chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to get members in the National Assembly respect the party position failed miserably.
Senators jettisoned the party’s position and zonal arrangement for offices, while the House of Representatives worked out an arrangement that subsists today.
Inability of the party to have its way in the National Assembly was blamed on the chairman with some stakeholders calling for his removal which is allegedly being championed by a governor from the South-South where Oyegun comes from.
But, another source in the APC disclosed that, “even if Oyegun is kicked out, because of the zoning formula in the party, the South-South will still occupy the chairmanship position.”
Another knotty issue for the party’s NEC to solve would be who to succeed Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Mohammed, before his appointment as the Information and Culture Minister, was the party’s spokesman. He is from the North-Central.
His deputy, Timi Frank, is from the South-South; a situation which may have worked against him from occupying the position before now.
So, as the party convenes its meeting tomorrow, Daily Sun gathered that some members would seize the occasion to ask for “more political patronage.”
According to one of the chieftains of the party, “some of us who worked for the party have not been compensated. Boards of federal agencies have been dissolved. This is the time to put loyal party members on these boards,” said an assistant to one of the party’s leaders.
“The slow pace of appointments and removal of PDP appointees in government positions are all to the detriment of APC members on the long waiting lists of some of our ogas.
The distribution of political patronage should have strong inputs from the party as a strategy for strengthening party loyalty and motivation of party faithful…” he added.
Meanwhile, APC National Auditor, George Moghalu has denied cracks in the party.
He said such speculation is a figment of the imaginations of mischief makers.
“Such speculations are figment of the imaginations of certain persons. As for the BoT chairman, I can tell you the decision of who becomes the chairman is an exclusive reserve of the members, and the person to emerge as the chairman will be known very soon when we organise the inauguration,” he noted.