Niran Adedokun (email@example.com)
Without the opposition having to fire a single salvo, the ruling All Progressives Congress has, within the last two weeks, shown that the difference between it and other political parties in Nigeria is not more than that between six and half a dozen.
After the party’s ward congresses started penultimate Saturday, stories of violence, disruption of voting and even death were reported in more than one third of the nation’s 36 states. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, was harassed out of his trademark exuberance while Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, is still dazed by the coalition that swept the carpet of ambitious confidence off his jittery feet. In states where things didn’t turn so physical, stories of discontent, parallel elections and all sorts trailed the exercise.
Things were not much different when the local government congresses held last Saturday. Even in Lagos State, which always bore a discernable level of cohesion, one life was said to have been lost to intra-party rivalries speculated in one part of the state. A faction of the party in Rivers State was alleged to have sacked and vandalised a court of law and in last Tuesday’s edition of The Nation, a faction of the party in Oyo State which goes by the name, Unity Forum, took a full page advertisement, alleging threat to lives from the Oyo State Government. The APC, yesterday’s party of promise, is on the fast lane to becoming a nightmare today.
But it has been said here countless times, only the self-deluded would see any surprise in this. The APC, when it went to the polls in 2015, was the most perfect definition of a conclave of strange bedfellows. Assorted foundational politicians with ill-defined progressive inclinations threw discretion to the dogs and flung their budding party’s doors open to disgruntled politicians recently outplayed in the then increasingly power-drunk Peoples Democratic Party. True, there is no harm in a weak person deploying all they have got including their teeth to defeat an enemy in the immediate as this was what the acceptance of every Dike, Tomiwa and Haruna into the APC at that time amounted to, but it is totally foolhardy not to define rules of engagement at the attainment of victory.
While accepting any and all politicians with a jot of political equity into the APC for the sole purpose of winning the 2015 elections is not unusual in politics, failing to do two essential things after the victory foretells the confusion that currently rules the APC.
So, rather than seize the opportunity of its victory at the 2015 polls to redefine itself and create an ideology to guide its members and form the basis of its contract with Nigeria, the APC has remained an asylum for every political refugee without regard to their motive, self-discipline and political maturity or lack of it. The discordance and indiscipline that we currently see in the APC is therefore a result of very low if not non-existent entry barrier.
The APC has equally not ensured a sense of justice in its fold. In the past two weeks, members of the nPDP, the splinter group that joined the APC from the then ruling PDP have themselves fallen into two parallel lines. While one group, led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje, said the government it helped to form has excluded them, another group led by former Governor Abdullahi Adamu vouches that all has been fair.
But Nigerians do not need these combatants to reveal the truth. Leaders of the APC have washed enough private apparel in the public space over the past four years for a conclusion one way or the other. While leaving the APC, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku insinuated that a lot of those who contributed to the party’s success had become strangers. While it is possible to dismiss Atiku’s submission as that of a perpetual deserter whose main driver is ambition, we cannot say so of the lamentations of Senator Remi Tinubu, to the effect that her husband, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had been abandoned by the party.
Speaking on a television programme, the Lagos Central senator said: “He was campaigning, I did too. We were running three campaigns in my house. And for him to be trashed like that?”
And in spite of the silence and pretence that all is well from the Tinubu camp, it is doubtful that all is well. That is not to speak of the endless altercation between the executive and legislative arms of government at the federal level.
The summary of the whole situation is that on assuming office, leaders at all levels of the APC either never understood or had totally forgotten the importance of the formation as a vehicle of societal development.
Now, it is easy to situate this failure at the doorstep of the National Working Committee but there are other organs of the party, which have allowed their individual interests to destroy the collective interest of the party and ultimately impede national development.
The trouble of the APC would ordinarily be of no concern were it not a clog in the wheel of good governance and the emancipation of the good people of Nigeria. As we speak, the 2018 budget proposal is spending its sixth month at the chambers of the National Assembly. It has become impossible for the executive, legislative and even judicial arms of government to agree on anything whether it is corruption, security, the oil and gas sector or even the very imperative.
The inability of the APC to put its house in order and enforce cohesion amongst its various arms is the root of most of the problems that Nigeria currently grapples with. It is the reason why health workers are currently on industrial action and a number of lives that we cannot track are lost daily. It is why we are unable to speak with one voice on issues like Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and militancy across the country. It is the inability of leaders of the APC to speak truth to themselves that Nigeria continues to lag behind at every parametre of development. It is why we can do little or nothing about the 72, 000 people who die from cancer annually, or the millions of youths roaming the streets and why we have become the world with the worst statistics of out-of-school children, women who die from pregnancy and childbirth, children who do not live to see their fifth birthday and so on. The APC, unless it achieves the miracle of quickly putting its house in order, would continue to struggle to leave an enduring legacy for generations of Nigerians.
- Twitter: @niranadedokun
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