Judging by the garrulous grandstanding of Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, the recently sacked national chairman of the APC many are easily convinced that he was the problem at root of the crisis rocking the ruling party. Completely devoid of diplomatic finesse and the temperate temperament required of the chairman of a ruling political party, Oshiomhole was like a bull in a China ware shop. Comrade Oshiomhole’s Obsession with soviet style dogma of party supremacy, which he ignorantly elucidated to mean party structure leadership dictating to the democratically elected government of a liberal democracy such as Nigeria on how to govern along absolute partisan lines, made him the single most potent danger to Africa’s largest democracy. That the APC is a morally bankrupt and ideologically barren power grabbing mafia clique, which is bereft of any abiding philosophy of good governance in Nigeria, the danger of Oshiomhole’s obsession with the supremacy of such a party to Nigeria’s democracy becomes is made manifestly clear enough for all discerning minds to see.

A former labour leader, Comrade Oshiomhole exhibits the tendencies of a man who is imbued with a messianic complex and an inflated sense of self-worth as clearly manifested in his know it all autocratic attitude as the national chairman of the ruling APC. And his stubborn insistence on enthroning the dogma of party structure supremacy in a liberal democratic Nigeria was nothing short of arrogance of ignorance. Whilst it is glaring that his poor leadership style has left the ruling APC in ruins, Oshiomhole is not the pathogen of what ails the APC; he is just a painful symptom. The root cause of the crisis rocking the ruling APC, is the acute leadership failure of President Muhammadu Buhari on very front as the leader of the both the ruling party and by extension the government of the Nigerian nation.

As the leader of a party that Nigerians supported to end the sixteen year rule of the PDP in 2015 on the strength of their promise of change, President Buhari has failed to transform the ruling APC from the election winning special purpose vehicle it was into a truly democratic political party with a clearly defined ideology, pragmatic ideas and guiding philosophy on how to deliver on its promise of good governance. Manifestly lacking the clarity of vision as well as the mission of a well-charted roadmap towards translating the manifesto of the ruling APC into reality, President Buhari has equally failed colossally to fulfil the promise of change to Nigerians five years later.

Consequent upon President Buhari’s acute failure of leadership on all fronts, the reward for political participation in the 2015 change movement by members of his ruling APC has been state patronage in the form of government appointments and award of contracts in the clear absence of a good governance frame work that guarantees welfare and security for all citizens. This often corrupt reward system of patronage at the expense of state resources for political participation has been exacerbated by President Buhari’s propensity for clannishness, nepotism, favouritism, sectionalism and cronyism in his choice of appointments that are largely comprised of family and friends drawn from his section of the country.

President Buhari’s leadership failure and his instituting of the most intricately corrupt state patronage system in the history of the 4th republic has induced governance paralysis in government leaving politics as the only thriving industrial economy in today’s Nigeria. This unfortunate situation has triggered a rat race by millions of economically displaced politicians that are scrambling for a few thousand available government jobs not as a means of public service but as a means of self service at the expense of the public treasury. This is why the ruling APC has been embroiled in internal wrangling among the different interest groups and disparate tendencies that got cobbled together as an election winning special purpose vehicle in 2014 over the spoils of their 2015 and 2019 electoral victory and conquest respectively.

Whereas it often said that there should be honour even among thieves, President Buhari has been less than honourable in the managing the various interest groups and tendencies within his ruling APC by his undue favouring of his own CPC faction of the party with top government jobs and other privileges. His stone cold demeanour, aloofness and uncaring attitude towards issues not directly concerning his personal political interest has seen President Buhari failing to make timely interventions to settle feuding interest groups within the APC over the spoils of their 2019 electoral conquest. These and President Buhari’s inability to ensure fairness and justice in the distribution of state patronage to all interest groups within APC has further accentuated the festering crisis rocking the APC.

Although, President Buhari failed to transform the APC from a mere election winning platform into an ideologically driven political party, he nevertheless succeeded in disfiguring the ruling party into a monstrous election war machine. Under President Buhari’s watch, the ruling APC, backed by the full might of the federal government has recorded a string of electoral victories since 2019 not by winning but by the conquest of the people’s vote from land, air and sea. With the enthronement of state sanctioned electoral banditry, the ruling APC has successfully converted its enormous incumbency disadvantage arising from its failure to redeem its promise of change into and advantage through democratic subterfuge.
Therefore, the struggle for the control of the soul of the monstrous APC election war machine has degenerated into a mortal combat by contending forces within the party. And because, whoever controls the party structure, dictates the choice of candidates into all electoral positions as well as who gets what, when and how from the spoils of their electoral conquest in 2023, the mortal combat for the soul of the APC has gotten even more intense with Oshiomhole is an early casualty.

However, the sacking of Oshiomhole along with his entire NWC will not solve the internal problems of the APC as long as President Buhari’s leadership of both the party and Nigerian state in general persists in acute failure. With a shrinking national income, surging population and rising debts, the corrupt patronage system, which he has instituted and elevated to a state policy is clearly unsustainable. To avert the impending implosion of the APC prevent it from pulling Nigeria down with it, is to urgently return to fulfilling its original promise of change and by fully implementing its manifesto through an integrated framework of good governance for the socio-economic development of the Nigerian state. Notwithstanding, Oshiomhole’s lack of tact, diplomatic finesse, wisdom of the tongue and general mismanagement of the party, he was only an aberration that was thrown up by President Buhari’s leadership failure. President Buhari is the pathogen that gave rise to the severe Oshiomhole symptoms that the ruling APC now suffers from.

Majeed Dahiru, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through dahirumajeed@gmail.com.