The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, has attributed the ongoing crisis within the governing All Progressives Congress to the ambitions of some unnamed party leaders.
He also said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration was still grappling with problems it inherited from the previous administration.
Dalung spoke to reporters at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, on Thursday.
APC leaders have been embroiled in a subtle war since the party’s victory in the 2015 polls.
The situation recently came to a head when a dispute over the handling of the Ondo State governorship primary led to a call by the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, for the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
In response to a question about the crisis, Dalung said, “I think we should try and appreciate the chemistry of what is referred to as APC today.
“APC started as an amalgamation of different political groups; then graduated to a mass movement and formed the government.
“The significance of this is that this is a political system that is an embodiment of diverse interests. Now, the management of that interest is very critical, but the challenge the party and the government are facing is that the government itself inherited a situation where it has more challenges of fixing the country.
“So, nothing or no good attention at all would have trickled down along the line in view of the economic constraints the government finds itself. That is enough to stir bitterness in the party and this can give birth to crisis.”
Dalung added, “The second perspective, you could take a look at how to deal with the future. A politician is very ambitious person.
“In everything he does, including on the spur-of-the-moment, he calculates ahead of time. So, it could also be that some politicians had viewed the future and they are already dusting (up) weapons for a political showdown to set the tune for their political ambition.”
The minister noted that government was worried that party leaders were at each other’s throats at a time all hands were required to pilot the ship of the country.
He added, “There is no reasonable person in government that won’t be worried, because the unity of the party is the unity of the government; so, we are concerned. Our position is to appeal that all those that are involved in the crisis are our leaders and we respect them very much as young people.
“What we expect from them is to bequeath durable legacies and I don’t think that crisis is part of what they intend to bequeath to us.
“They should be guided by this fact that the younger ones are interested in learning positive things from them. Everybody should sheathe his sword and appreciate the need to contribute to the re-fixing of Nigeria and let the future determine things.”
On the recent defection of Senator Joshua Dariye (from Plateau State) from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, Dalung said the action showed that APC had something to offer.
Dalung stated, “For us, members of the party, it is a thing of great joy and is an endorsement of our manifesto as the only credible manifesto that can stand the test of time for now in Nigeria.
“So, we welcome his return to the APC family and we wish him the best as we journey together in repositioning Nigeria.”
Attempts to get official comments from the party leadership to some of the issues raised were unsuccessful.
Calls to Odigie-Oyegun were not returned. A response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.
Similar calls to the mobile of the party’s National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, indicated that the telephone was switched off.