The ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) fought hard to get where it is today. However, it is dogged by a number of problems it would have to solve if it will continue to rule beyond the current government.
The following list of problems, while not exhaustive, will be among the key ones to solve if the APC is to triumph yet again.
1. Internal Wrangling In States:
While the initial expectation was that all would be rosy for the APC, wittingly or unwittingly, stalwarts of the ruling party in many APC states are finding it difficult to consolidate their gains and the in-fighting in many states that degenerated to violence is a nightmare to the national headquarters of the party. There are intra-party conflicts in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kogi, Bauchi, Yobe and Kebbi states among others, a development which has already elicited skepticism among many people, on whether the APC is actually a party to drive Nigeria’s quest for global relevance and socio-infrastructural developments beyond names and old glory of being the giant of Africa.
2. Creation of new ‘mega-party’ by aggrieved members:
Despite his denial, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s name has remained prominent on the list of aggrieved APC members planning to form a so-called mega party to the ruling party after the secret moves and parts of actions by some politicians were revealed. It was reported that the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and aggrieved chieftains of the APC had intensified efforts at forming the party and parts of their gimmicks was the registration of new parties with INEC if the existing registered parties could not accommodate their targets.
While the APC is naturally expected to be concerned about the reported plan by the aggrieved members to join forces to float a new mega party, the Presidency is actually the one that is most alarmed especially as the 2019 elections seem to be the ultimate agenda of the intended coalition and a threat to the expected second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari.
3. Resurgence of legacy parties:
The continuous loyalty to the chieftains of the defunct trio of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) that merged to form the APC is part of the effects of the crisis rocking the states controlled by the APC.
This is most pronounced in states being governed by governors of ‘PDP descent’ who decamped to the APC to win the governorship tickets and were finding it difficult to do away with former PDP mates at the expense of the potpourri ideologies of the legacy parties of the APC. This challenge is mostly pronounced in the North, and especially among the ANPP and CPC.
4. The Board of Trustees (BoT) controversy:
One of the key factors holding down the constitution of the APC BoT is the controversy over the choice of its chairmanship. Like in other parties, the BoT of APC is seen as critical and influential albeit advisory and as such, many party members expect that it would be led by credible and courageous men, who can keep the party afloat the murky waters of the nation’s politics.
The trio of influential former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State governor and equally influential national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and present Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh were the top contenders for the Chairmanship of the BoT before the party resolved to suspend its inauguration.
The party in August 2014 announced a list of 74 chieftains, including Chief Tom Ikimi and some others who have decamped to the PDP. It was however reliably gathered that the BoT leadership will still be zoned through a special arrangement to reflect a balance in the geo-political zones the way it was done during the National Convention that produced the present NEC.
This is despite of the provision of Article 13.2 (X) of the APC Constitution (October 2014 as amended), on the powers of the BoT, and which stipulates: “The Board of Trustees shall elect its chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and other officers as it deems necessary, and formulate its own rules and procedures to regulate its meetings and activities.”
As it stands the Presidential ambition of Atiku Abubakar and the deliberate clog from the Presidency on party influence through the BoT was responsible for the inauguration of the board.
5. Allegations of corruption against party bigwigs:
One of the core mandates of the present administration is the anti-corruption war and the need to change the way Nigerians expend national wealth. There is however a big challenge for the ruling party with some of its chieftains accused of one form of corruption or another.
Those accused include Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi, the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, Chief of Staff to Mr. President Malam Abba Kyari, and a former military governor of Kaduna State and chieftain of the APC Lawal Jafaru Isa, among others.