Last Tuesday’s tsunami at the National Assembly where a former majority party had suddenly turned to a minority party was very much expected. The only problem was that those concerned had failed to read the handwriting on the wall so as to take precautionary measures, if at all they were able to do so.
It was an embarrassing situation where 14 senators and 37 Honourable Members of the House of Representatives defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the opposition political parties, thus making the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which formerly was the minority party in the Senate, now the majority.
All along, the battle for supremacy in the country’s political firmament has been between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which ruled the country for 16 years, and the newly formed All Peoples Congress (APC), a patchwork of expedients hurriedly put together for the sole aim of wrestling power from the PDP. Once that aim was achieved, everything gave way. Like oil and water put together, the APC could not blend.
The APC has a strange arrangement where some other person is parading himself as its National Leader, different from the person who contested and won election on its platform as President of the country. It is a case of two captains in one ship.
Thus, even though the APC had managed to grab power at the centre in 2015, right from day one, the party had failed to manage its victory. This was manifested in many different ways.
For instance, with the relative majority of APC members in the National Assembly, on the day of inauguration, the party failed to enthrone a leadership of its choice in both the two chambers. In the same vein, it took the executive arm of government almost six months to form a cabinet, which in the end, were made up mainly of spent forces. That was why the party has failed to move the country forward.
All over the country, there were seething problems among members of the party, either between the APC state governors and the Ministers from their states in the federal cabinet, or between the governors and the federal law makers from their states.
What broke the camel’s back and exposed APC as a political party of irreconcilables, was the the late decision of President Muhammadu Buhari that the party should go into fresh congresses for purposes of electing its new officers.
Conscious of the fragile nature of the APC, and fearing that fresh elections into its executive committees might tear the party apart, President Buhari had initially opted for a two-year tenure extension of all elected APC officers, from the wards to the national level. But somewhere along the line he thought otherwise.
No doubt with the prompting of the APC National Leader, Ashiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinibu, who could no longer see eye to eye with the incumbent National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, President Buhari was forced to later change his mind. He then called for fresh congresses of the APC, to enable the party elect its officers across the country. That was the undoing of the APC.
Like a time bomb set to exploded, everything went haywire. The APC members refused to agree among themselves on who should lead them. Parallel congresses were held across almost all the 36 states of the country. Chairs and pebbles were hauled on party members at various congress venues, which had resulted to several injuries and some few deaths. It was like a war front. Everybody was up in arms against the other. There were no compromises, and nobody was prepared to step down for the other.
In the end, the APC went different ways, which had resulted to the formation of a splinter group, called the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC). The R-APC was just a platform, a soft landing venue for defecting APC members, in order to establish that there was already a division within the APC, so that defecting members would not lose their elective positions. That’s why all these lawmakers who defected from the party will retain their seats in Parliament, and even the elected governors who are decamping.
Political pundits are of the view that last Tuesday’s defections at the National Assembly was just a prelude, that more defections are about to happen. We watch them. Politicians will like to go to where their nests will be better feathered. They have no base. They are like ashawo. Today, they are with PDP. Tomorrow they change to APC. The next day the leave APC and return to PDP.
But has these changes impacted positively on the lives of the ordinary people of the country? Your answer will be as good as mine.