Convention: Who Owns The APC?

By Yusuf Shehu Usman

After it’s last membership up grade and revalidation exercise, the ruling party, the APC has reported that it can boast of a membership base of over forty million Nigerians in the net of it’s membership
In demographic terms, this is a sizable percentage of the overall Nigerian population
For a political party that was formed only in 2014, this testifies to it’s widespread acceptance by Nigerians
If this large membership base translates into votes in 2023, it will place the party in a very good position to actualise it’s dream of retaining power after the 2023 general elections
The question which this post seeks to interrogate is, who owns this great party of millions of members and how do they exercise their rights of ownership?
In theory, the party belongs to all the members who came together and formed it, but in reality and in practice, the stake each member has in the common ownership is determined by the level of contribution financial and otherwise, to the sustenance of the management of the activities of the party in it’s bid to win elections
This explains why every member is accorded the status of a stakeholder but some members by reason of their extra contributions above others, have earned for themselves, the higher status of critical stakeholders
This categorisation in my opinion, is fair enough and I don’t think there should be any argument about it
The argument is not in the organization of the power or control structure but in the distribution of the power of decision making within the composite whole that constitutes the corporate entity
That’s why the Political party is organised and structured in various layers of authority, each with defined functions to perform and powers to exercise as allocated by the party’s Constitution
The party structure consists broadly of the Executives and the party members and the power of decision making on critical issues affecting the party is shared among them, albeit in disproportionate proportions
This should be the normal state of affairs in any organised Political parties
It is also what obtained in the APC up to the point the Adams Oshiomole National Working Committee was dissolved in highly controversial circumstances and replaced by an aberration and a structure strange and alien to the party’s Constitution, named the Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, presently led by Mai Mala Buni, a sitting governor of Yobe State
On inception, the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee was given one major mandate- to organise a National Convention of the party within six months and return the activities of the party to the normal and Consttitutional structure.
I think that informed the use of the word “extraordinary” in the nomenclature attached to the Committee
The Caretaker Committee was accordingly inuagurated and given the support and the power to execute it’s mandate
If the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee had stuck to the mandate given to it, the APC would have had it’s National Convention about a year ago and by now, it’s preparation for the 2023 elections would be on top gear and far ahead of it’s arch Political rival- the PDP
But the Caretaker Committee set it’s self on a power mongering game and this pushed it into doing extraordinary things which were never contemplated nor spelt out in it’s original mandate
It plunged it’s self into a man hunt for expired and frustrated PDP chieftains, who in my opinion, would have come knocking on the doors of the APC as defectors after they had lost out in the power game and the war of attrition that engulfed the opposition PDP at the material time
These PDP refugees conveniently termed defectors, had only one option after being frustrated beyond their wits by the PDP and that obvious option was to seek refuge in the ruling party, the APC, which has every potential to provide them a platform to contest election and ride on the back of it’s popularity and power of incumbency to win elections
Therefore, wooing the PDP chieftains which the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee flaunts as a major achievement, is in fact, an under achievement, because it was an event which is naturally bound to happen, given the very established nature of Nigerian Politicians
Besides, it was never a part of the mandate given to the Caretaker Committee and it has nothing to do with the organisation and conduct of the APC National Convention
The Caretaker Committee also launched it’s self into another exercise without any nexus with the organization of a Convention. It set for it’s self the duty to up grade and revalidate the membership status of APC members across the country
This huge exercise despite the litany of controversies that trailed it, also opened a big window for the party to amass a considerable amount of funds into it’s coffers
The Caretaker Committee by indulging in this exercise, had also turned it’s self into a money making machine for the APC, a task that is not a part of it’s original mandate
Since the Committee ventured into the arena of financial management, it is expected that at the fullness of time, it should be held to account through a financial audit process for the management of the party’s financial resources, in the absence of the substantive Financial Secretary and National Auditor of the party
After this, the Caretaker Committee in an extraordinary manner also strayed it’s self into the functions of conducting party congresses at ward, local government and State level, which again threw the party into another phase of crisis as a result of the parallel Congresses that produced factional leadership in many States across the nation
While doing this, the Caretaker Committee forgot that zonal Congresses was also a part of the party congresses that was necessary to complete the Congress
They forgot about it, failed to consult the Institutional memory of the APC or deliberately kept it aside to be used as a bait to negotiate an extension of it’s Mandate
The Caretaker Committee embarked on another exercise called the Reconcilation Process which brought on board, the Abdullahi Adamu Reconciliation Committee on which it assigned the difficult task of reconciling the divergent and opposing tendencies that reared up their heads as a fall out of the flawed Congresses
The argument being made here is, all these activities ventured into by the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Committee, are functions assigned by the APC Consttitution to the elected National Working Committee
If the Caretaker Committee had kept it’s self within the circumscribed, extraordinary and sole mandate of organising and conducting the National Convention within the six months given to it, it would be absolutely unnecessary for it to embark on the various voyages of discovery it set for it’s self,. that pushed the Committee to serially seek extension of it’s Mandate
What the extraordinary activities of the extraordinary Convention Planning Committee had caused the APC is enormous and most of it negative
The Caretaker Committee began taking care of it’s self. It usurped the powers and functions of virtually all the Constitutional organs of the party, except perhaps the NEC and even that, it must be because the NEC is headed by the President himself and they can not compete for power with the President
The Caretaker Committee has collapsed the APC into a one Structure party and effectively took ownership of the body and soul of the party to the detriment of other members, including those who should occupy the status of Critical Stakeholders
As it stands today, the APC operates on a two level Structure both unrecognized by the party’s Constitution- The Caretaker Committee and the progressive Governors forum
The other Critical Stakeholders are completely marginalised and left out of the decision making process especially on crucial matters concerning the party and in which they should have substantial stakes as major contributors to the party’s financial resources
In view of the foregoing facts and observations, it may not be difficult or wrong to propose the thesis that the Caretaker Committee and the Governors Forum have wrestled control, power and influence from the Critical Stakeholders and indeed taken effective ownerships of the APC in body and soul.

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