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Published On: Wed, Jun 24th, 2020

APC Leadership Tussle: Confronting the monster headlong

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WEDNESDAY COLUMN by USSIJU MEDANER

info@medaner.com, justme4justice@yahoo.com

In the last few days, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been the laughing stock and center story on all media outlets and gatherings in Nigeria. While I felt disappointed by the emerging events and counter events, I was not in the least surprised about the unfolding events.
I have said it for the umpteenth time, we can only be a resemblance of the seeds we planted; a development of the foundation we laid. We have argued till now that one of the reasons real growth and development look more of an uphill task for us as a nation is because, in the corridor of power, we parade men we mistook for leaders but who are apparently out to satisfy personal aggrandisements; and never, by any chance or means, possess an iota of love and patriotism towards Nigeria and fellow citizens.
The error of leadership created by the presence of these carpetbaggers, selfish politicians would forever remain our undoing until we recognise it and purposefully do something about it.
How could a nation run by politicians who see the act of politicking as a business, a means to all ends, meet its developmental objectives. These men who spend the whole year round politicking and strategising; permutating, through dubious re-arrangements of status-quo to improve their access to power and share of the national wealth. The plight of the citizens nor the development of the nation is never in their permutation and rarely have they contributed significantly to the emergence of a new, great Nigeria.
When we have a state governor orchestrated mass attack on the citizens of his own state under the guise of herdsmen attacks; the same people he swore to protect, because he needed to discredit the ruling and opposing party and win a second term in office and still possess the audacity to claim he is fighting for his people. What a wickedness! We just recently saw another politician, a sitting governor who promulgated and gazetted a law prohibiting mass gathering of more than 20 people anywhere in the state, claiming it is part of the state’s response for fighting the COVID-19 outbreak, when in reality the intention was to hoodwink and suppress the opposition, as it became clearer later. How do we explain out and off the discovery of an elected legislator under the platform of a party being in possession of a cache of war ready ammunitions purportedly meant for perpetrating insecurity in the country and yet sponsoring the protest against the government for doing nothing about insecurity – of which – he is sponsoring? It is in our country that these politicians plan and sponsor insecurities and crimes across the nation to improve their ratings while discrediting their opposition.
Here in Nigeria, we see politics as an opportunity to climb to positions of power for personal aggrandisements. Consequently, we witness political manipulations, coming with forceful and violent scheming to ascend the seat of power; when leadership should be all about service, consideration, honesty, and genuine concern, ability to affect and change the life of the citizens for better and should not have been full of undue influences and ferocities as we are experiencing in Nigeria.
The practice of architecting, instigating and escalating crisis and violence to create a formidable environment for self-actualisation and perpetuation in power has become the password of Nigerian inept and selfish politicians; our people no longer venture into politics for the founding rationale. When they eventually find themselves there, they become political elites, with criminal tendencies, untouchable, stepping on the Constitution ( both of the nation and that of the party) without fear or despair of the law. The motivating factor for boarding the political train since then becomes selfishness – a thought of what I stand to gain. “All I and I” syndrome; politicians in Nigeria since then have only one language – lie, only one act – deceit.
What is happening in APC now is pathetic and unacceptable to most of those who I called “grassroots stakeholders” , who believe in the progressive ideals of the party. The problem began from politicians who are unstable and without personal ideology and would freely transport among parties at will. You would not see someone like Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, who stayed through thick and thin in one party , behaving dishonorably as we are witnessing now. Check their list; you will see them jumping from party to party at every need to seek fresh opportunity. They are in the party not to seek the wellbeing of the party but to use the party to get the best of the nation and its people.
So, what is happening in APC today is not an APC problem but a Nigeria problem. Today, it is APC, yesterday, it had been PDP and the end has not come of it. Definitely, in the next few days APC would return back to a pseudo normal, to wait for the next episode when it comes, and sure it will come.
They are the same, these set of politicians, the businessmen in the corridor of power and those hanging by the side to enter, regardless of what party or congregation they associate with. They are the reason why Nigeria spend the whole year round discussing politics at the expense of dividends of democracy. At what time have we had any break without a drama of position scuttling among them? Hardly ever; you rarely see them discussing national development or criticising the government constructively. If they are in the ruling party, they are busy thinking about who becomes what in the next four years and how to suppress some other person’s ambitions. If they are in the opposition party, they are busy turning the citizens against the government, non-constructively criticising the government and as we witness more often now, orchestrated or pray for crisis to use against the government.
That is why you would see four senate presidents in a four year period as against the ideal one as we witness between 1999 and 2003; that is why a political party would have 14 party chairmen in a period of 18 years as against a minimum of four. That is the scuttle; everyone wanting to be there, not minding the process or the tactics. At the expense of governance, they spend the year round protecting their positions and deporting and deposing others from theirs. To them, it is a game.
And what do Nigerians do in response? They join the party; taking sides with their oppressors and becoming the unpaid foot soldiers and supporters club for the same men who are mortgaging their lives and livelihoods. Just as we are witnessing now; multitudes lining up behind either party in the APC internal struggle; another behind the Obaseki camp; and another singing praises of PDP; and littering the media with unproductive rhetoric that add nothing to the development of the nation but in a myriads of ways slow down our movement as government functions are slowed by the unnecessary diversions of concentration to these unprofitable and unproductive gyrations.
And now, to the business of the APC drama. I would be really blunt; this is about us keeping the integrity of a great party. The problem began in 2014 – the inception of the party We have the real founders of the party, the men who carry the original vision of the progressive ideas that constitute the party and then the multitudes who saw an opportunity to continue their trade in the new-born party. They jumped from all parties around into the ship and started carrying the broom. We saw a good number of them getting out before 2015 because they couldn’t get what they wanted via the party platform. They left and became enemies of the progressives. Most of the party leadership behind the current scuttling in the party were part of them. It is, to them, time to forcefully position themselves for imminent personal gains even at the expense of the destabilisation of the party.
In 2015, APC was in control of 24 states with PDP controlling only 11; today, APC has lost its control in a good number of states to tone down the number of states under its control to 18 with PDP now in control of 17 states. Why? Because, since 2015, it has been one crisis after the other for APC. In Rivers state, they do not care if the party loses it all if they couldn’t get what they wanted and so it was; and today they are still members of the party and unfortunately with leaders attached to their nomenclatures. In Imo state, it was the same scenario that led to the initial loss of the state; but by some providence and legal calculation we got lucky to hold on to the state. The case of Zamfara is more pathetic and what happened in Oyo state shouldn’t have been forgivable; in fact none of those cases should be forgivable, but today, the perpetrators are still the ones calling the shot as leaders of the party and now driving it to the ruins, because of 2023.
I just mentioned 2023; and yes it is all about who becomes and who does not become what in 2023; a whole three years away from now. When they should be on the table strategising on how to aid the President’s efforts at transforming the country and confronting the many simultaneous challenges we are facing currently. At a time when insecurity concern is raising its head again and the nation is fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic, there are no usefulness in these men who are only interested and fully engaged in fighting for positions within.
I want to restrain myself from mentioning names, but is it not obvious who they are. On all sides of the scuttle; those who are behind the removal of the Party’s National Chairman; those who are in the Victor Giadom camp and those who are in the Abiola Ajimobi camp. They are all the same thing. Was it not in Oyo state, with Ajimobi in charge that we lost because personal interest was placed above party interest? How best can the party decide who is not worthy to be given responsibility for leadership in the party? If not by their antecedents. Who are the individuals behind the APC complete loss of River state? Are they not the same people dividing the party now? How could that be? Must we present ourselves as a party without discipline and order?
And now they have started the same game in Edo state; the state becomes dicey and a risk for the party whatever angle you chose to check it. We went into the primary with two factions claiming hold on the party’s chairmanship; a ground for litigation already after the whole procedure. We are presenting a candidate we claimed just four years ago was unfit to rule the state while he was in the opposition. We have a party structure divided and one still a bit under the control of a governor and deputy who are no longer of the APC fold. So, a selfish struggle among the suspended National Party Chairman, the governor who used to be a member of the party, certain members of the progressive governor forum led by the Ekiti state governor, all for individual gains have joined Edo state to the number.
How can we allow these few men to derail the successes and progress of the party and lay low while we do nothing? They are the minority in the party; they were not the ones who gave the APC the winning in 2015 nor at the poll in 2019, but unfortunately, they have turned the party into a nightmare for the tens of millions of Nigerians and APC members across the nation who are the more reliable stakeholders. The grassroots mobilisers who did all the work and are still keeping the party aloft in their respective states and local areas, are hardly recognised because the system supervised by these men is careless about others until the eve of election. If the party loses, they negotiate their transport into another party leaving us to salvage the ruin. This cannot go on any longer.
The All Progressives Progress is stronger than these men thought and could ever imagine; and the party is not by any means going down with them. The time has come for the real stakeholders to take charge of the party and make strong demands for a thorough investigation and discipline of all these men who are using the party platform to further their personal agenda and destroying the party. It is high time the real Progressives wake up and demand actions against each and everyone one involved in the episodes that took Zamfara, Oyo, Rivers from us and is now threatening our chances in Edo state.
This is a call to Mr. President and the leaders of APC such as Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other founding fathers of the party to come to the party’s rescue. There are times when silence is golden but that doesn’t apply to the situation we are right now. Yes, understandable, there are men who have chosen the silence treatment because they do not want to get meddled up in the mess engrossing the party because they don’t want to stake out their integrity. But in the interest of the party and the teeming members, we must convey an emergency NEC meeting to set the national chairmanship tussle straight, make pronouncement about the individuals who were adamant about pulling the party down if they couldn’t get what they wanted. Nothing short of decisions that put this people at bay and inactive would be acceptable by the APC membership nation-wide.
In the final analysis, what these handful politicians are doing does not define what the party stand for. Our core value remains untainted; the party’s desire for an all-inclusive participation, transparency and accountability remain sacrosanct. The uncompromising works of President Muhammadu Buhari is a full categorisation of what the party stands for; sustainable changes in the way the business of the nation is run. The silent, undeniable developmental strides we see on a daily basis, are the factors that define the party, All Progressives Congress.
Former Governor Ambode of Lagos did have all the reasons to move on to another party to seek a second term in office during the 2019 election; so many felt he was too weak or perhaps foolish; but remaining in the party despite urges to move on is what defines a true party man. For me, Ambode is one of the trusted members of APC; and his reward for choosing the party at the most difficult time would soon come.
My final message to Nigerians and all members of APC is that it is time we pull the carpet off the feet of these men and their carpetbaggery, wherever they are found in the country, regardless of political party affiliation, because they are poison. They are liars and can’t be trusted any longer. According to Suzy Kassem, “most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigating to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority. When in truth, they only become popular because they are ponded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that its mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient school children, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere-is always right.”
We wouldn’t be the same people again. Enough is enough. The whole lot of these people are vanquishable; and that must be the most profitable action for the party to take going forward.
If our national founder’s major problem was political naivety, that of APC is political naivety 2.0; no discipline, no one or body is tracking in-party positive contributions and political excesses – all in concrete terms. Those rogue politicians in the party know, certainly, nobody takes stocks, so, they just go about to have their ways or no way for the party. Thus, a strong case of political auditing would need to be articulated, get buy-ins from all well-meaning partisans, kickstart some party reform including membership validation and interactive-feedback system, enjoin the media to aid the project, where necessary. It is only partisans who stand for justice and progress, when they rally, that can stand and defeat the rogue albeit FEW forces dragging the party into “political jahilliyyah” – and it has to be now.

God Bless The Federal Republic Of Nigeria!

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