Giadom and Ajimobi: Who Wins the Soul of APC as Party Gears Up for 2023 Elections?

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Giadom and Ajimobi: Who Wins the Soul of APC as Party Gears Up for 2023 Elections?
Nwolu Obiajulu

A popular axiom has it that the only thing which is constant in life is change itself. The current happenings in the Nigerian political landscape have been thrilling and thought provoking. The gimmicks and intrigues could be presumed to be connected to 2023 elections.

Ever since the June 16 appeal court ruling which upheld the March 4 judgement discrediting Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), two factions have emerged claiming legitimate right to pilot the affairs of the party.

Soon after the judgement of the appeal court in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC) announced the endorsement of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the Acting Chairman of the party.

Ajimobi was selected by virtue of his position as the Deputy National Chairman (South) in line with the APC’s constitution which says that the Deputy National Chairman, North/South “Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone.”

Barely 24 hours after the endorsement of Ajimobi, Oluwole Afolabi counsel to Victor Giadom, Deputy National Secretary of APC, staked claim of his client’s position as the valid Acting National Chairman of the party.

Afolabi based his claim on an order of the FCT High Court issued on 16th of March, 2020, by Hon. Justice S.U Bature in Suit No. FCT/HC/M/6447/2020. Ever since then, the APC has been divided against itself. Similar to events that played out prior to the 2019 general elections where a new APC faction emerged. Fallout of the disputes at the time saw the exit of bigwigs like governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Senator Bukola Saraki and other heavyweights who decamped to opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, Ajimobi is missing in the scene of the drama. The former governor has been recovering from an ailment which some section of the media has reported to be related to the lethal coronavirus, though the facts remain unconfirmed. In his stead, Hilliard Eta National Vice Chairman, South-South has been holding sway, coordinating the Ajimobi’s faction pending his recovery.

Giadom on the other hand has taken a bold step of calling for a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Thursday. The NEC meeting billed to hold virtually has been boasted by a tweet of media aid of the President, Garba Shehu expressing the backing of the President.

Shehu had tweeted, “The President has received very convincing advice on the position of the law as far as the situation in the party is concerned and has determined that the law is on the side of Victor Giadom as Acting Chairman.”

“We urge the media to stop promoting manufactured controversies and not to give any further room for mischievous interpretations of the law on this matter.

“In addition to the President, the Giadom meeting will, hopefully, be attended by our governors and the leaders of the National Assembly.” Said Shehu.

Several critics have weighed in on the position of President Buhari on the issue. The acting National Secretary of the Eta led faction, Arc. Waziri Bulama declined invitation to the NEC. Bulama said that members of the National Working Committee (NWC) would be boycotting the meeting. The NWC equally holds that Buhari was ill-advised into lending his weighty office to what they labelled illegality convened by Giadom.

The sentiment of the NWC was equally shared by Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee Against corruption (PACAC) who urged Buhari not to participate in the Giadom convened NEC. Sagay said he was at lose at how a Deputy National Sectary has the ambition to become Chairman when there are deputy and vice-chairmen.

Sagay, a professor of law, equally alleged that the ex-parte order Giadom relied on had long expired as such orders last 14 days.

Proponents of Giadom chairmanship say Ajimobi cannot claim the position by mere nomination which was not affirmed from the members. They say bringing Ajimobi from his zone is not the final, but the entire APC members must assemble and adopt it.

These issues are, however, not unconnected to the control of the party towards the buildup of 2023 elections. Factions and their supporters would fancy control of party candidates for elective positions. As events in Lagos and Edo have shown, the individuals who call the shots, play a huge rule in party flag bearers.

Speculations say national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu favours an opposite camp from that of the President Buhari.

One thing is certain, as President Buhari rounds off his second tenure, APC must position itself much better than before as the Buhari factor has been a major force on which it had ridden to victory in elections, especially in the Northern region.

 

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