KINGSLEY OPURUM examines the prospects of Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) surviving the raging crisis bedeviling the newly registered party
There were widespread speculations that the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) was floated by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as its alternative platform in case the Supreme Court judgment favoured Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff faction. Eventually, the apex court handed Makarfi faction of the party the opportunity to bask in euphoria, as the pendulum of triumph swung in their side.
However many observers have been left wondering how a nascent party like Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) has been plunged in a full-blown internal crisis, which has the capacity to decimate the party permanently.
These political watchers bemoaned the feud that has engulfed a political party, which is still lying in its cradle, describing the situation as unprecedented in the country’s political history, where a barely two-month old party is in the grip of an internal party wrangling of such magnitude.
APDA was unveiled in June this year in Abuja, and the promoters of the party said that it was formed with a view to dislodging the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.
But the question is; with the raging crisis besetting the infant party, can it cause a major upset in the general elections as boasted and survive beyond 2019? Or will it join other political parties of similar circumstances of emergence and embrace political oblivion?
Meanwhile, the crisis rocking the newly registered APDA reached its crescendo recently as two executive committees of the party emerged.
Reports have it that a faction loyal to the Raymond Dokpesi-led Board of Trustees met in Abuja and sacked the Alhaji Shittu Kabiru Muhammad-led leadership. In a counter action, Shittu’s faction, at a separate meeting suspended Dokpesi and his loyalists from the party.
The Dokpesi led stakeholders insisted that the tenures of the NWC members had expired since June 14 this year in line with the constitution of the Party and that the recent meeting complied with the Party’s Constitution as well as the provisions of the electoral Act as amended.
The new National Officers of the Party as put together during the stakeholders’ meeting are Mr. Mainasa Illo as National Chairman; Chief Dan Nwanyan as Chairman Board of Trustee; Mr. Amobi Nwosu as National Secretary; Alhaji Muhammed Tanko as Deputy National Chairman (North); Dr. Fijabi Adebo as Deputy National Chairman (South); and Mr. Ide Felix Equabor as the National Publicity.
In justifying the act, the new National Chairman, Mr. Illo argued that the ‘former’ NWC ought to have organized a proper meeting to either extend their tenures or elected news officers in line with Constitution of the Party when their tenures expired but failethe d to do so for the reasons best know to them.
He disclosed that the meeting also resolved to partake fully in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State while the meeting also approved the relocation of the Party’s National secretariat to another spacious location in Abuja
Illo stated that the party with the appointment of new NWC members would now be repositioned towards membership drive nationwide for it to contest and win in future elections.
In another development, a statement issued by the Shittu-led NWC and signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Emeka Okengwu, reads in parts: “The newly registered political party, the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance National Working Committee has suspended Raymoond Dokpesi, Dan Nwanyanwu, and Mainasara Ilo for unlawful gathering in the name of the party and violating the constitutional provision of the party for holding illegal National Executive Council meeting sacking the National Working Committee of the party.
“In their desperation move to factionalize the party and move to PDP they went ahead to make this announcement constituting an illegal Board of Trustee and sacking of National Working Committee.
“Due to this indiscipline of these members, the NWC met at an emergency meeting today and suspended them and constituted a Disciplinary committee to sanction them for bringing disrepute to the party.
“We want to appeal to the general public to disregard there announcement because they are agent of PDP trying to destroy the emerging alternative party that will give Nigerians a better life.”
The statement also alleged that “Raymond Dokpesi on the 15th of July wrote a letter to Independent National Electoral commission informing them of a proposed NEC meeting and this letter was signed by him as BOT chairman but INEC responded by telling him to root his letter through the National Chairman of the party because the constitution of the party does not have a BOT until after 5years.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of APDA, in Ekiti State, avowed its support and loyalty to Mallam Shittu Kabir’s led National Working Committee of the party.
The Ekiti chapter of the party said its endorsement was hinged on the decision of party stakeholders, in Ado Ekiti, to continue to support and recognized Mallam Mohammed Shittu Kabir as the authentic National Chairman of the party.
Some pundits are of the view that the festering political crisis, which has enveloped a party that is still at its cradle stage, will certainly drive it to its early grave and cut short of its objectives.
While other analysts believe that in as much as APDA was unveiled as a plan B for Makarfi faction, it will surely be consigned to a political wilderness like Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).
Recall that PDM was floated by the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2013 when the then ruling PDP’s crisis hit its nadir and many bigwigs and founding fathers of the party deserted the party.
Atiku unveiled PDM as an option B for the 2015 Presidential election but subsequently made a U-turn to join the mega APC.
Since then, PDM has been in the political wheelchair and is struggling to take a walk into the political limelight that has continued to elude it. Today, PDM is not occupying any political position in the nation’s political space and to crown it all, there has been mute news about the lame party.
Some media sources have alleged that Senator Makarfi and his loyalists are the architect of the current crisis rocking APDA, as they are poised to hatch a plot to precipitate the party into extinction since they consider the party as being on the shelf.
The sources also alleged that their simple reason is informed by a palpable apprehension that some political heavyweights and moneybags may hijack the party and turn it into a redoubtable force to reckon with; and by so doing, it could serve as a launch pad to queer the pitch for PDP in 2019. This is why the Makarfi-led PDP is resolved to avoid rearing an animal that will later run wild and devour them.
The weighty poser again is; will APDA be in the grip of political debacle like PDM? Or will it wriggle its way to political stardom?