Ahead of the 2019 presidential elections that is years away, State Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are planning to ditch the ruling party.
The rumoured exit, according to a party leader, will affect the fortunes of the governing party and President Muhammadu Buhari’s future ambition in 2019.
Except the president and party leaders move fast to heal the wounds in APC, no fewer than nine governors and hundreds of party chieftains are on their way out of the party.
The APC is expected to suffer more in South-West and North Central. Although the APC, the ruling party at the centre, currently controls 23 out of the 36 states of the federation, a number of governors in these states have become disenchanted with the party and the government at the centre.
Another source told a correspondent that some of the governors are reaching out to their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for alliance in forming a new political platform.
It was learnt that the cracks which developed in the APC soon after the party’s historic electoral victory last year, have continued to widen by the day due to the perceived policy of exclusion unleashed on its members from the top hierarchy of the party.
The negative policy has manifested mostly in the alleged lopsided appointments made by President Buhari since he assumed office 16 months ago.
The governors are also uncomfortable with the non-fulfillment of many populist campaign promises upon which the party rode to power. However, National Secretary of the APC, Hon. Mai Mala Buni has dismissed the reports of the impending defection of some governors as untrue.
According to Buni, President Buhari and the governors “are on the same page of providing democracy dividends to the electorate.” A member of the ruling party, who spoke with New Telegraph in confidence, said the governors had been bearing the pains of dashes hopes and exclusion from major decisions of government for a long while, but were forced to voice it out after Buhari released his list of ambassadorial nominees and they found that they were completely sidelined from the process.
“You recall that recently, the governors wrote him (Buhari) a letter and sent a delegation to deliver the message to him. They just couldn’t believe that those appointed as ambassadorial nominees from their states were not known to them, the governors. I must tell you that that letter is a warning shot and a signal of what we should expect as we go into 2017.
“Most of these governors are fed up with this style of leadership where everything is done by the so-called cabal in Aso Rock without consultation with other stakeholders.”
“You know that since 1999, the governors have been major stakeholders in our democracy. Some people may not like them, but they deserve some respect because they are the political leaders in their various states.
They do not just have control over the machinery of government in their states, they have their loyalists at the two chambers of the National Assembly and a President can only ignore them at his own peril,” he said.
It was learnt that apart from the frosty relationship between the Presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly dating back to the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, some of the governors have been making inroads into the parliament, using their influence to checkmate the Presidency.
There have been speculations that some of the governors were the brains behind the stalling of a number of proposals sent by the executive to the legislature.
It was learnt that a number of governors, particularly those from the South- West geo-political zone are already on their way out of the APC because of the perceived humiliation of the national leader of the party and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, by the party and the presidency.
Sources within the party disclosed that given what has happened in the Ondo State primary elections, the mass defection of APC governors and members to different political party will only be a matter of time.
“I am sure you are not expecting these governors who rode to power on the Tinubu political machinery to still stick out their necks for a man who has maltreated their principal. They won’t because right now, they are aggrieved that those of them who came into the APC from the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have been sidelined along with their leader. “Why do you think some people staged the pro-Tinubu rally recently?
These are clear signals that the party is heading for a major implosion where everyone will take their destiny in their own hands,” the source said. Similarly, their counterparts in the North Central who also feel shortchanged by the APC, a party they massively supported in 2015, have kick started a process of re-alignment with other political interest groups.
The newspaper gathered that some political heavyweights in the North Central are toying with the option of aligning with their associates in the North-East geo- political zone to form a formidable political block ahead of 2019.
A source, who is conversant with the plans, disclosed that currently, the alliance is being coordinated on the platform of a socio-cultural organisation, pending when the time comes to unveil the real agenda.
Another clique within the North Central is said to be warming up to join forces with some elements who have become politically displaced by the crisis in the PDP and some aggrieved elements from the APC to float a new political party that could challenge the APC.
Meanwhile, a former Chairman of the APC in Kaduna State, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said President Buhari must intervene to fix the crisis in the party and save it from disintegration.
Baba-Ahmed, a retired federal permanent secretary, acknowledged that some members of the APC were joining forces with others to form a new political platform.
According to him, the problems affecting the party have been left to linger for too long and must be settled in the next few months, if the party hopes to retain power in 2019.
“Even if you can forgive some of the crisis and blame it on inexperience, you cannot forgive the fact that we have tolerated this crisis for too long.
“Those who have the responsibility of fixing the APC as a political platform are not fixing it.
It is what we are seeing now; a large number of powerful people within APC are walking away from it, thinking that it is beyond redemption. That is unfortunate and I think it is a major setback for the party.”