A lot of insinuations have been attributed to the reasons the All Progressive Congress, APC faced many crises especially after the primaries held before the elections, which also somehow affected their performance at the polls.
Among some of the states the APC crises were more visible include: Zamfara, Ogun, Imo, Rivers and others. In fact, in the case of Zamfara the party almost failed to field in candidates, while in Rivers the party was completely disqualified from contesting in any position in the state, leaving only the Peoples Democratic Party to easily defeat other parties in the race.
Using Imo as a case study; after the 2015 general elections, the APC which won the governorship elections and controlled the state house of assembly were united and strong to the envy of many other political parties. But as time went on many of the APC members started complaining that the State governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha was controlling the party for his selfish interest and never cared about any other person’s input in running the party. And in spite of the numerous complains the governor through his utterances made it clear that he would personally decide who becomes anything in the party, the state and even the person to succeed him. It got to a point he started allocating elective political positions to some persons, at a time the primaries had not been held or elections taken place.
Okorocha’s decision on who would succeed him at that time did not go down well with his party members and many other people in the State. This is because his comments and succession plans did not only affect the APC, but across all segments of the state including the other political parties.
His attitude and speeches at that time portrayed him more like a military dictator, forgetting that he came to power through popular participation and democratic means. For instance in one of the occasions he addressed the people about who would succeed him, he made it clear that any one above 50 years should never think of succeeding him. It was later people discovered that he was reefing to his son inlaw who is below 50
Many of the APC members could not tolerate such an overbearing attitude from the Governor, as a result they formed an alternative pressure which they named APC coalition members. Unfortunately for the governor, many of his strong allies, including his deputy joined forces with the group against him.
Initially the governor never took them serious, but after a parallel primaries in which the national leadership of the party recognized the candidate of the coalition members as the authentic governorship candidate for the 2019 election, instead of Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s son inlaw and candidate. For that reason, the governor decided to back Nwosu in another party, the Action Alliance AA.
The crises and misunderstanding that emanated from that primaries completely disorganized the APC in Imo during the elections, as the governor maintained his vow not to support any other candidate except his son in-law.
But at last, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leadership revealed what caused the electoral downturn of the party in the March 9th 2019 governorship elections, particularly in Imo and Oyo States. The party made it clear that the reason was largely due to the people’s disenchantment in the attitude and performance of the governors.
Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu who is the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, while speaking in an interview with Newsmen stated that the party had ensured a level playground for people to face the electorate and for the electorate to pass judgment on the candidate put forward for elections.
While referring to the losses suffered by the APC in Imo and Oyo States, Onilu said the party lost due to its principled stand that impunity must no longer reign.
“You could see that we lost the presidential election in Oyo and Ondo State where we have sitting governors.
“But because we didn’t want to condone impunity, we did all we did in Imo State in a way to undermine ourselves, and the choice we had was to accept what would have amounted to the impunity so that we could win Imo State, but we said no, we would rather do what is decent,” he said.
Further assessing the performance of APC in the last general election, Onilu said contrary to expectations that the party would mobilize all the resources of coercion at its disposal to ensure victory for its candidates, the reverse was the case as everyone was allowed to face the electorate without hindrance.