CONFUSION! This is the last word anybody would have used to describe the All Progressives Congress, APC. Since the party was formed in 2013 to grab power from the erstwhile ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it has always conducted its affairs with remarkable maturity and decisiveness. In its quest for power, the party has had a clear vision and carried out all its strategy to achieve its objective with uncanny doggedness and precision laced with wild propaganda machinery. But since it shoved the PDP out of power in the March 28 and April 11 general elections in Nigeria, the APC appears lost albeit confused on how to manage its success.
The most telling of this latter day malaise that has struck the APC is the bickering that attended the tussle for leadership of the National Assembly. Even though democracy thrives in conflict and conflict resolution, its hallmark is also consensus building. The APC must be aware of this basic underpinning of democratic practice and should have built consensus to avoid the unpalatable outcome of the National Assembly election. The election produced principal officers who were not supported by some party chieftains. This avoidable error brought the confusion in the party to the fore. It made public, for the first time, the high level of discord in the party. The confusion in the party is due to the pull from forces from the disparate groups of strange bedfellows that formed the APC namely: The Action National Congress, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and the New PDP. The hocus-pocus which has been in the APC but somehow hidden from public view was most apparent when Lai Muhammed, publicity secretary of the APC, confessed to journalists in Abuja, that the party was indeed confused as to the outcome of the power game at the National Assembly which elected its leaders just when the party was supposed to meet to iron out grey areas before the election was held.
There is no gain saying that what transpired at the National Assembly on Tuesday, June 9, seems to have torn the party apart despite the supercilious and haughty disposition of the elected officials. This is also true of the relationship between the party chieftains despite the brave face some of them put up to fellow Nigerians. Expectedly, the outcome of the stealth politricks and theatrics displayed in electing the principal officers of the National Assembly left both sweet and sour taste in the mouth of many Nigerians depending on the side of the divide one is. Those who are enthused with the election of Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kwara State and two-time senator as the Senate president and Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House of Representatives are happy with themselves. Those who are aggrieved that they have been schemed out are crying blue murder.
It does not really matter how people feel, particularly, about the ambush supposedly done by the Peoples Democratic Party which produced Ike Ekweremadu as the deputy senate president – a second fiddle position, which can at best serve the same purpose as a spare tyre of a vehicle which is almost always in the boot of a car to be used sparingly when it is absolutely needed. The deed is done and life must go on. The all important thing now is that governance must continue as people now turn attention to the next line of action which is for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to send the list of the ministers to the Senate for confirmation.
But just before that happens, it is pertinent to state that jettisoning of the party decisions and candidates approved by the APC hierarchy to lead the National Assembly seems like a bad omen that portends no good for the country. So also is the idea of jettisoning the zoning of power to six geo-political zones in the country. The very idea that all the principal offices in the country starting from the executive arm of government, the legislature and to the judiciary are being controlled at the helm of affairs by one section of the country also does not augur well for a proper balance of power at the national level. This will even be worse if the secretary to the government is also produced by that section of the country. This must be a veritable source of concern to keen observers of the current political chicanery because it does not create room for progressive development of the country. Rather, it makes way for retrogressive politics as those who feel shortchanged or sidelined in the power equation of the country may retreat and find other ways of sabotaging the system.
In essence, this means that the war has been fought for the National Assembly leadership and is ended, but the battle has not been won at least for the losers for the time being. This crop of politicians also control enormous resources in the country and may have to return to the trenches unannounced and renew some nefarious activity. This group which may or may not be righteously aggrieved appears to have been silenced now but they could still contrive all manner of road blocks to ensure that Nigeria does not get the necessary progressives change it deserves. What is more, those who currently feel that they have won the war by crass opportunism, jettisoning time and tested zonal arrangement in the country, might discover to their regret that the battle has just started. It might just be a pyrrhic victory. And this, also creates a sense of déjà vu, of what happened before when the 1993 presidential election was annulled. It happened again in 2011 when another section of the country felt aggrieved because it was denied the opportunity to serve out its tenure at the presidency. Nobody wants a repeat, even in a variant form, of the unprogressive ugly experience we have had in the country which culminated in the NADECO movement, Niger Delta militancy or the Boko Haram insurgency which the country is still battling after so much bloodletting.
The major issue is that the country needs peace which can be achieved if all the power brokers are carried along. Also, every section and segment of the society has to be included not excluded in the decision making process and distribution of powerful offices in the country. So far, women seem to have been left out in the cold. The six geo political zones in the country must be made to have a sense of belonging. That cannot not be achieved by making some sections play second fiddle because just that is not going to placate people from any of the zones who feel shortchanged in the power game in the country. Those who are now sidelined may or may not be among the vocal majority in the country. They may or may not be among the silent minority groups. But if the current power equation is not inclusive, Nigeria will continue to move around in circle, all motion and no movement until justice is done.
This is why the Realnews editorial team hotly deliberated on the goings on in the political terrain in the APC, the ruling party, which promised change to the country for good. If the current bickering and bad blood flowing from the party is anything to go by, this change will totally become elusive. Hence, Realnews decided to devote our cover story for this week entitled APC’s House of Discord to not only serve as an early warning signal to the party but also let our readers understand the undercurrents which has brought the party to this sorry pass and the danger it portends for the entire country. The story was written by Olu Ojewale, our general editor. Enjoy it.
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— Jun 22, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT