CPC in search of unity

Momoh and Buhari Momoh and Buhari



OLUSOLA FABIYI, in this report, examines the efforts of the leadership of the Congress for Progressive Change to reposition the party 

Thereis a saying that if a man knows that he is sick, his problem is half solved. Members of the Congress for Progressive Change know that their party is actually under the weather. They know that its sickness is also serious.

 The party’s governorship candidate in Bauchi State during the April general elections, Alhaji Yusuf Tuggar, did not mince words when he recently described the party as being in a “dilapidated condition.” Tuggar, who was speaking during the inauguration of the party’s Renewal Committee in Abuja, went further to describe the CPC as being in “comatose and in death throat.”

 Indeed, since the end of the elections, the party has been in disarray. While the owners of the building where the campaign office of its presidential candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) have asked the party to quit, the situation is not different at its Utako headquarters.

The party’s problem is more than that. Some of its members have also gone to court, claiming to be the true officials of the party. While the leadership of the party recognises Prince Tony Momoh as the authentic chairman of the party, Senator Rufai Hanga is also laying claim to the same office. Their quarrel triggered legal battles with each faction claiming true leadership. Indeed, this led  to the dragging of First Bank of Nigeria Plc to court by the Tony Momoh-led faction, for abiding by Senator Hanga-inspired injunction barring them from operating the party’s account.

The Momoh-faction is claiming N1bn in damages.  Before then, the party’s former National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Denis Aghanya, had gone to court to challenge  the Momoh faction. Aghanya had justified the action of the former National Executive Committee to go to  court, saying it was aimed at correcting the “anomalies that were perpetrated during the convention of the party and to reclaim the party from the current leadership, in order to restructure it in line with the vision of its founding fathers. For instance, the sudden zoning of top political positions at the convention venue was alien to the party’s constitution and its adoption was therefore a violation of the party’s laws.” Also, Hanga, described as a major financier of the CPC, was not happy with the way it ran the elections in some states of the federation during the last governorship elections. A source close to the former senator said the leadership of the party should be held responsible for its dismal performance in the governorship elections in the country, especially in the north.

Perhaps, he was right.  In the case of Katsina State, intra-party squabbles were said to have led to the inability of the CPC to win the governorship election in the state.

While Senator Yakubu Lado, claimed he won the party’s primaries and was also said to be the popular candidate, the Buhari-led national leadership substituted his name with that of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Masari. It was argued that had it been the party allowed Lado to run with a younger brother of the Late President Umaru Yar’Adua as his running mate, the CPC would have been able to defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema. In Kano State, the story was the same. While the popular candidate was Mohammed Abacha, the son to the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, the Buhari cohorts insisted on Ja’faru Isa as the party’s candidate. This made the party to again lose to the PDP.

The internal bickering reared its ugly head immediately after the Presidential election, when some chairmen of the party in the South-South and South-East openly described the election as free and fair. This was contrary to the opinion of the national leadership of the party, which had made up its mind to challenge its outcome at the tribunal.

Now, 30 weeks after the general elections, the party’s leadership has realised that it needs to put its house in order by inaugurating a committee, named Renewal Committee.

The committee is headed by former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. Its aim is to reposition the party for the future.

Buhari, who el-Rufai described as the soul of the party gave reasons for the formation of the committee. He said, “One critical consideration has compelled us to initiate the renewal of the party after the general elections. While the elections of 1999, 2003 and 2007 have inspired hopes that were later dashed, the general elections in 2011 have demonstrated one reality that we, as Nigerians and as a people must not accept. The elections showed that millions of people could stay away from voting, yet the state and its umpire agencies could generate pre-determined electoral outcomes’ Nigerians must not accept this evolving reality because it is evil and everyone must remember that evil has a life span and will one day collapse and judge itself.”

Buhari said it was unfortunate that political parties had remained a platform for selling or trading public office nomination tickets instead of being the fulcrum for which effective public service could be provided for the people.

He said that the tasks ahead of the CPC were numerous, one of which he added, was to show good example on service delivery in offices where members of the party were in charge.

According to the former head of state, “In the past, the real issue that keep coming up from the lips of our followers and sympathisers is not whether they trust us. It is whether they can afford to put their hopes on us, given the uphill task that they think have to be accomplished in order to bring about the change that they strive for. This renewal effort will address this issue very well and will be a big opportunity to prompt conviction among Nigerian voters nationally, across age, gender, ethnicity and religion. We must all do everything within our powers to rebrand and reposition our party into a highly effective and efficient political organisation.”

Buhari, however, refused to say whether he would run for presidency in 2015 or not. He said he would let Nigerians know his intention immediately the Supreme Court delivers judgment in his pending appeal.

Before then, El-Rufai, lambasted the PDP-led Federal Government by saying that less than N1bn was spent on fuel subsidy in 2007.

He said, “It (subsidy removal) was monumental fraud. The government is trying to tax Nigerians for their inefficiency and corruption. When we were in government, you don’t even hear of billions of naira being paid as subsidy. There was subsidy, yes. We adjusted the prices several times to reduce  the gap. But the last year we were in office, the amount of money spent on subsidy in the budget was less than N1bn. Today, you are talking of N1.3tn. There is something wrong. What has happened? Has the corruption of Nigerians multiplied 10 times or 12 times since then? Has the exchange rate changed so much or the price of oil?”

He said the task before his committee was enormous. el-Rufai said, “Our committee knows how difficult it is to bring about renewal and change. People and institutions everywhere tend to resist change once they discover their comfort zones however difficult. Some resist change even in times of progress, talk less of adversity. Obviously, our party and its teeming members must admit that the past few months have been ones of adversity, of raised expectations, dashed hopes and blatant theft of our national hopes and aspirations.

“Yet, history has shown that it is often out of adversity that the foundations of greatness are found, formed and developed. Political and economic events in Nigeria indicate clearly that our great party must reform or face even more inordinate challenges, if not terminal decline. Nigerians look up to our party as that of social justice, public service and integrity in governance. Only our party has the leadership and membership committed to unlocking Nigeria’s potential and providing equal opportunity for all. Therefore, we must rise up; reorganise to fix the dysfunctional political economy of Nigeria.”

Buhari’s running mate during the presidential election,  Pastor Tunde Bakare, described the general as the most honest Nigerian he has even known. He said having served with prominent Nigerians as a lawyer and a young pastor, he had not seen any Nigerian who could match Buhari in integrity.

He said Nigerians would one day regret not to have Buhari as their elected president.

He said, “I came into politics because he (Buhari) invited me; no other Nigerian could have done that. I believe in his  integrity and his love for Nigeria. As a lawyer, I served under the tutelage of late Chief Rotimi Williams (SAN) and late Chief Gani Fawehinmi(SAN). As a young pastor, I worked with Pastor W.F Kumuyi and E.A. Adeboye. I have not found any other person better in integrity than Buhari. The dead cannot challenge me and the living cannot dare me.”

Nigerians are waiting if the holiness of Buhari, as canvassed by Bakare, who is the pastor in charge of the Latter Rain Assembly, will help in bringing new life to the “comatose” party.


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Posted by on Dec 19 2011. Filed under CPC (Congress 4 Progressive Change), Party Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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