President Muhammadu Buhari helped pull his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party back from the edge of descending into total chaos after he backed one faction of the party and forced the dissolution of its National Working Committee (NWC). This action has brought an end to the controversial reign of Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman and also rolled back the crisis that was almost tearing it apart. 

Bola AHMED Tinubu (LEFT) partly blamed his protege, Adams Oshiomhole (RIGHT), for the factional fights in the ruling APC

Buhari’s decision to intervene in the APC crisis was the result of pressure from two of its state governors that are close to him. His actions angered the pro-Oshiomhole faction of the party to the point where they are alleging that he was blackmailed into backing the anti-Oshiomhole faction. 

The dissolution of the pro-Oshiomhole NWC has been viewed as a huge blow to the political ambitions of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu — the former Lagos State governor and the APC’s current national leader — who was seen as the leading contender for the 2023 Presidency when Buhari’s tenure comes to an end. Oshiomhole was seen as Tinubu’s stooge who was being used to control the structure of the party in order to smooth the way for his presidential ambitions. Now that he has been removed the feeling is that Tinubu’s ambitions are in jeopardy. 

The APC governors have had their way with the dissolution of the NWC which, under Oshiomhole, had become a threat to their bid to control the party’s structure. Now that they have persuaded Buhari to sack him, they are likely to continue to ensure that they have absolute control over the party’s future structure but this is likely to create tensions with the pro-Tinubu group. 

So far, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to have benefitted from the crisis that has been tearing its main rival apart. However, despite the apparent relative calm in the PDP, it has its own silent crisis which is brewing between two factions — those of Rivers State’s Governor Nyesom Wike, and Atiku Abubakar who was the PDP presidential candidate in 2019 —  and could come to a head in months ahead as it begins the process of challenging for the Presidency in 2023.

This excerpt is taken from Nigeria Politics & Security, our weekly intelligence report on Nigeria. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

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