APC’S SUCCESSFUL CONVENTION: THE CORNERSTONE ROLE OF ATIKU BAGUDU
By Abubakar Wali Shanono
No one, especially among the motley of incurable skeptics, has given the All Progressives Congress (APC) a dog’s chance of hosting such a hugely successful national convention. What with the litany of internal squabbles and wranglings which nearly torpedo the convention? The struggle for space and legitimate angling for the preservation and advancement of groups interest had snowballed into a crisis that had the trappings of bringing the party to its knees.
The Mai Mala Buni angle of it, in which he was accused of using his position as Caretaker National Chairman to place himself at a vintage position to corner power and patronage, on one hand, as well as the efforts by other stakeholders to, perceivably, checkmate this plot, on the other, had placed the APC at a crossroads of a break up.
The political hawks both within the APC and without it , most of who were at the risk of losing out politically if the APC succeeded in outliving its own contraptions and the bobby-traps, took advantage of the seeming potentiality of a messy implosion to,ostensibly benefit from the carcass that will lay comatose on the ground. They laid mines and planted stories in the media – all aimed at quickening the process of disintegration with an eye on benefiting from the spoils of war in the event that the APC ended up not recovering from the landmines.
It took a lot of effort by deep thinkers and eggheads in the leadership of the party to courier it out of troubled waters and anchored it out of its deadly voyage. Here, a special mention must be made of the silent and deeply important roles which President Muhammad Buhari and a number of party leaders at different levels played to water down the fire that was stoked and the resultant implosion that was set to consume it.
One of such leaders whose role had proved critical in the resolution of the impasse – Senator Atiku Bagudu who is the Chairman of the APC Governors Forum deserves the commendation of all men and women of goodwill for the maturity, charm, relentless interceding, endless meetings and late night interfacing which literally calmed frayed nerves, restored confidence and elevated national interests above narrow considerations.
Atiku Bagudu was, as his office – Chairman of the APC Governors Forum stipulated, the liaison between the APC Governors en-block and the outside world. He was, as the crisis lasted, the clearing house of all liaison with the President and all other stakeholding constituents including the National Assembly caucus of the party, the regional blocks and the several layers of relevance at all levels. The letter that was written to him by President Buhari, when a stalemate ensued on whether Buni was no longer the Chairman as propounded by Governor Nasir El Rufai is very instructive here. Atiku Bagudu who took delivery of the letter when the President was out of the country had the entire weight of a drifting party and polity on his shoulders.
It was to his credit that he mobilized his fellow Governors and ensured that the President’s instructions were carried out to the latter. This was at a time the party was hugely divided along factional lines.
Since he became Chairman of the APC Governors Forum on 24th May 2019, it became his lot to live up to the expectations of his colleagues, the President himself and the entire party structures as well as the various and sometimes conflicting interests of a diverse nation as Nigeria.
He has operated silently and because he is naturally not a publicity seeking person, his achievements were only visible to those who cared to pay attention to them.
With a convention that has been sealed and delivered and with a brand new national executive council in place, the handiwork of those who silently worked to achieve it, is discernible for all skeptics and incurable pessimists to see.
Shanono is a member of the APC in Kano