APC: It’s called The Sucker Punch

By Editor on 10/06/2015

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“It’s when a guy gets full of confidence he’s wide open for the sucker punch. I’ve seen it again and again in my racket. Some guy commits murder. He takes a lot of trouble and thought to cover it up, fakes himself an alibi or maybe makes it look like it’s done by someone else. Then he imagines he’s safe, but is he…?”

This was one of the most striking lines in the 1954 epic from the master of Thriller, James Hadley Chase’s The Sucker Punch. Nothing could have been more apt to capture the validity of these eternal words on the marble, than the string of events in the country today, particularly regarding the leadership of the National Assembly.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), leaders may not have committed murder, in the manner the writer described and thus, might not need any alibi to cover up. But that’s where the dissimilarity ends. The rest fits like a well-tailored suit.

It is clearly a potpourri – strings of ups and downs events that have dovetailed into overconfidence within the ranks of the APC where the leadership momentarily opened its flanks and to taste the bitter experience of a sucker punch.  

One only needed to observe the gait of the likes of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and Leader, financier and godfather of the APC, Senator George Akume, former Governor of Benue State and now two time Senator, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State and former National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, former Governor of Nasarawa State and now three-term Senator, Senator Ahmed Lawan, four-term Senator and the APC choice for Senate President of the Eight Assembly et al, as they walked into the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja that Tuesday morning. Complete it with the apparent cavalier air and immutable superciliousness of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the effable spokesman of the APC, as he waved aside reporters, who had tried to talk to him as he walked into the imposing edifice and the picture of the confidence within the party leadership would begin to register more visibly.

It is an attitude that took over the political firmament of the country and blossomed like a well-fertilised flower in its full bloom, since the party won the general elections of March 28 and April 11, where they produced the President, majority in the National Assembly and majority of the 36 states of the federation.

In fact, from the look of things, the conduct of the party leadership and many of its supporters since then, seems to suggest that they need to learn a lesson or two on the wise saying that it is more difficult to manage success than to attain it. For if this was not the case, some of its leaders would have taken more than a passing interest in the demeanour of its principal, President Mohammadu Buhari and believed him when he declared in his inaugural address that he was going to be his own man.

The President had at that event pointedly stated: “I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody.” He had gone ahead to also tell those who cared to listen that he would not interfere in the process of selecting the leadership of NASS, but would work with anybody they elected. In fact, the time to take the President more seriously would have been when he openly and emphatically told APC state governors not to interfere him with nominations of his ministers, since he would not nominate their commissioners for them.

This stress on the independence of the component structures of governance ought to have warned everybody that the President meant every word that it would not be business as usual. Perhaps the APC leaders had thought it was mere political talk. So, they went ahead in the usual manner things were done in the country, 19 years after in the current political dispensation.

Even after amplifying the President’s position that they would allow the NASS to elect its leaders, the party still went ahead to contradict itself even before the echo could die down. That was how the nation began to hear about preferred candidates for the two leadership positions of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

That was how things got to a head last Saturday, when the party announced to Nigerians and the whole world its choice of Senator Lawan as the Senate President and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This came in spite of the loud protests from a groundswell of its members, who had maintained that the party must adhere to its earlier position to steer clear of the matter.

Had they been wiser and more prudent with the idea of the “supremacy of the party,” which some observers interpret as no more than the preference of known godfathers to unilaterally impose candidates, the party leaders would have seen the handwriting on the wall and retraced their steps and in so doing, save themselves the inevitable embarrassment and shame with which they were bespattered on Tuesday, when instead of Lawan and Gbajabiamila, the federal lawmakers elected Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara, “rejected” in Saturday’s mock election to the two key NASS positions. And that was how the cookie crumbled.

Before the event, Mohammed, the APC spokesman had maintained the position of the party not to budge in its choice even with the evidently obvious rebellion within. Whilst at it, he still pandered to remonstration, rationalisation and threat, rather than persuasion, rapprochement and armistice.   

Hear him: “We have not imposed any candidate on anybody. Our asking our members to choose their representatives is to ensure that we do not go to the National Assembly with more than one candidate. I challenge anybody to the contrary that the party is biased against any candidate. How do you define democracy when you ask all members of the National Assembly to come to a place and elect those who will represent them? Do you think the party should fold its arms and allow them to go into the election with two, three, four or five candidates and have the PDP defeat us? I don’t think any party will do otherwise than what we did.

“We must be disciplined. Whether you are a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives, you must not forget that you did not get there as an independent candidate, you got there on the platform of the party. If you could accept the guidelines for primaries, why shouldn’t you accept the candidate that emerged through election? The party did not have no preference for any candidate. The party allowed them to campaign and lobby, but at this time, the party said we must step in and elect one of their own in line with our constitution.

“I don’t see any contradiction. The party on its own did not get involved by wants to ensure that there is no division on the floor of the House. I don’t see how they could mix the two. They are just being mischievous. They must not go there with more than one person to contest against the PDP.

“The party will be there and the government will be there for the next four years and I can assure you that we are not short of options. This is a distraction. But I can assure you that we are going to contain it.”  

What the APC spokesman failed to address was the fear in many quarters that what was being presented as the “choice” of the party was actually that of an individual or at best few individuals with vested interests, whose reason for making it could be anything but representative, noble or devoid of primordial sentiments. There, lies the crux of the matter.

Mohammed, who spoke in an interview with Channels Television, had informed that Buhari was going to hold a meeting with the APC lawmakers and the party leaders that morning, prior to the inauguration, apparently to whip everybody into line, as was the case in the old era when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), held sway.

However, what is not known to many is whether the Buhari angle was indeed a dummy. Was it that a more suave, savvy and wiser political machinery that was used to produce the NASS leaders that Tuesday, had actually used that meeting as a decoy to get some of the Senators out of the way? Was the President actually in the know of the plot, if any? Was he part of the intrigue? Is what played out in this episode what the country is going to witness in the days and years to come under the APC leadership? These are the questions begging for an answer that may not come until the full pages are turned soon or in the future.

But the unhidden part is that Buhari was nowhere near the ICC. In fact, it was whilst they were still at the venue of the proposed meeting that party leaders realised that the animal they were still trailing in the bush was already cooked, served and being savoured by those they did not reckon with.

Whirlwindnews.com was informed of how three hot explosions escaped from the bottom of one of the top party chieftains on learning that Saraki had already been sworn in as the Senate President, while still at the ICC. At that point, nobody seemed to care about any form of embarrassing conducts.

In fact, the sorry state of some of the attendees of the ICC meeting as they hurried out of the complex, captured the obvious. The drama that ensued at that instance could have made a great sale for the Nollywood industry. Each person added a unique seasoning to enliven and enrich the recipe.


Suddenly, nobody knew anything anymore. Akume, who was supposed to be the Deputy Senate President under the APC arrangement, instantly repudiated being tagged a party leader, one he could obviously have appropriated, were things to have been different. “I’m not the party leader. Oyegun is the party leader. Go and meet him and find out from him,” he blurted out in answer to a reporter’s question as he hurried off to the Senate, with the evidential sense of loss and evaporated hope of clinching the number two Senate position. “But you’re one of the top contenders,” the reporter insisted; “I’m not,” he reposted, almost aggressively.

“What kind of confusion is this?” the reporter asked Abdullahi. “There’s no confusion,” he replied sharply. Yet, the reporter persisted: “The candidate you rejected has been sworn in. “I’m not aware of that,” he retorted. Even the wife of the Jagaban Bogun, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who volunteered a position by insisting that “we are going to go through a free and fair election,” failed to add more than “I’m not going to talk more than that. But he’s not elected.”

An also palpably nonplussed Chief John Oyegun, National Chairman of the party, could only offer hungry reporters a promise of speaking to them when the situation became clearer.

It was perhaps still in this apparent deep shock and confusion of being outsmarted that the party maintained a rather curious position in a later statement that its members should return to the National Assembly for the authentic leaders to be sworn in.

Signed by Mohammed, it read: “Senator Bukola and Hon. Dogara are not the candidates of the APC and a majority of its National Assembly members-elect for the positions of Senate President and House Speaker. The party duly met and conducted a straw poll and clear candidates emerged for the posts of Senate President, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by a majority of all Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives. All National Assembly members-elect who emerged on the platform of the party are bound by that decision.

“The party is supreme and its interest is superior to that of its individual members.

“Consequently, the APC leadership is meeting in a bid to re-establish discipline in the party and to mete out the necessary sanctions to all those involved in what is nothing but a monumental act of indiscipline and betrayal to subject the party to ridicule and create obstacles for the new administration.”

Decrying a situation in which some people, based on nothing but inordinate ambition and lack of discipline and loyalty, will enter into an unholy alliance with the very same people whom the party and indeed the entire country worked hard to replace and sell out the hard won victory of the party, he added: “There can be no higher level of treachery, disloyalty and insincerity within any party,” the party said, vowing to resolve the matter using all constitutional and legal means available to it.”

But in what seemed a contradiction of the party position, Buhari, through his spokesman, Femi Adesina, expressed his readiness to accept the situation, in the overall interest of the country.

“The President would rather that the process of electing the leaders as initiated and concluded by the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been followed. Nonetheless the President took the view that a constitutional process has somewhat occurred.

“President Buhari had said in an earlier statement that he did not have any preferred candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives, and that he was willing to work with whoever the lawmakers elected. That sentiment still stands, though he would have preferred the new leaders to have emerged through the process established by the party. The stability of our constitutional order and overall interest of the common man are uppermost on the President’s mind, as far as the National Assembly elections were concerned.

“The President calls on all the elected representatives of the people to focus on the enormous task of bringing enduring positive change to the lives of Nigerians.”

Surely, the lesson in all these lies in the abiding suggestion that in a comity of men, the principle of give and take must guide the rules of engagement. After all, was it not said that the more things appear to be different, the more they turn out the same. Indeed as the lesson in Chase’s book infers, a boxer must never be too confident as to leave his flanks open and must never celebrate till the sound of the bell signalling that his opponent has either been knocked out or counted out. Else, the risk is the inevitable – The Sucker Punch. Nigeria waits.









Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on June, 10 2015

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