Who Will Save The APC From Itself?
If your name is Olisa Metuh, Femi Fani-Kayode, or even Doyin Okupe, not to mention their erstwhile principal Goodluck Jonathan and his dollar billionaire of a wife Patience; the latest crisis to hit the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) must have come like the soothing rendition of one of Beethoven’s classics at bedtime.
To say that the call by the APC National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinibu, for the resignation of the Chairman of the party John Oyegun must have sounded like music to the ears of all the PDP chieftains and foot soldiers across the country is an understatement, but not totally surprising given all that has transpired in the affairs of the party since it took over the reins of power at the centre.
For weeks and months before the primaries the APC conducted to picks its candidate for the gubernatorial elections in Ondo state, the rumour mill was rife with insinuations that the leaders of the party supported different candidates for the nomination. Tinubu’s letter calling for the resignation of Oyegun was only the climax of a crisis that had been simmering under the surface and only became public knowledge after the name of one of the candidates was forwarded to INEC recently. Tinubu’s candidate, Olusegun Abraham, is said to have lost out to Rotimi Akeredolu, who was allegedly backed by Oyegun.
The same scenario played out to a lesser extent in Edo state at a local level before sanity eventually prevailed and resulted in the choice of Obaseki who is set to test his popularity, and indeed that of the incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomole, in the state’s gubernatorial election on tomorrow.
Everywhere you go – apologies to MTN – it seems that the APC is doing its best to out-do the former Super Eagles defender, Godwin Odiye, in scoring spectacular own goals, or put even more succinctly, committing embarrassing, if not pathetic unforced errors.
For all the venom contained in the letter he wrote to Oyegun, including the rejection of the title of National Leader of the party, Tinubu only succeeded in rising the ante in what is already a massive crisis that risks to undermine its chances at future elections in the country.
The gubernatorial elections in Edo state tomorrow will provide the first litmus test of the popularity of the party among Nigerians albeit at the state level just like the one to hold in Ondo state in a matter of weeks. With 2019 not too far away, it is needless to add that the APC cannot afford to start losing ground to the main opposition party the PDP so soon.
With the recession knocking Nigerians for six, and with no end in sight to the nation’s economic woes, what the APC can ill-afford is the prospect of the PDP offering itself as a viable alternative to the APC even if the facts may not necessarily support their argument.
The PDP can at least point at the recent détente between the two opposing factions of the party led by Ali Modu Sherif and Ahmed Makarfi as grounds for optimism. The APC, as it is today, can hardly do the same.
Against all expectations, and to the consternation of millions of Nigerians that voted the party into power with uncommon enthusiasm, the APC seems to be doing everything in its power to confirm what many thought to be the lame rhetoric of its detractors that it is a party of strange bed-fellows who had nothing in common.
Very worryingly, there also seems to be a growing consensus that while the while the APC fought successfully to wrestle the levers of power from the PDP after 16 ruinous years, it was never really prepared for the enormous challenges it met on the ground. The length of time it is taking to effect many federal appointments will only serve to underscore that allegation.
While the APC conclusively won the battle – the 2015 elections- it now apparently risks losing the war which is the promise to impact lasting change in the polity. And if indeed it is true that change must start with Nigerians in their individual capacities, the leaders they look up to for perceptive manifestation of the change are not walking the change in the National Assembly which is embroiled in endless crisis between factions of the same party!
Certainly the millions of Nigerians who require change, and have indeed been required to exhibit attitudinal re-orientation to internalize the change, cannot now look at the leadership of the National Assembly for direction embroiled as they have been since their inauguration, in their nauseating corruption battles.
The millions of Nigerians who yearned for change have been cruelly disappointed in the budget-padding scandal which threatens to turn the NASS into a circus. Now, with the in-fighting among the leadership of the party, they are also likely to passive pettiness and lack of commitment to the common good in their disposition and capacity to depart from the old ways of the PDP they thought they rejected in 2015.
All these, like I hinted earlier, is good news to the PDP if the party is able to get its act together, and assuming it has learnt useful lessons from its past mistakes. They will not have a better opportunity to return to power if the APC continues on its current trajectory of self-destruction.
It is obvious now, more than ever before, that the APC can no longer afford to rely on the tremendous goodwill of President Muhammadu Buhari to win elections. The disposition presently is for people to vote for individuals of their choice and not necessary the party and its lame message of change.
Nigerians cannot see change in the manner recruitments were conducted into some federal agencies in a manner that suggested that the children of the poor and the unconnected have no chance of landing good jobs on their individual merit. Needless to also add that they can perceive no difference in the manner the affairs of governance are being conducted. The change they were promise is fast becoming a mirage.
At times like this what the APC needs is strong leadership and commitment to the values it promised Nigerians. The president can no longer afford to sit idly by and watch matters deteriorate even further. He is our elected president on the platform of the APC. He is seen as the custodian of the change that was promised. He must, as a matter of urgency, step up to the plate to rescue his party from self-destruction.
He can longer afford to sit on the fence and watch the endless bickering in his party. He cannot afford to remain a neutral party and watch as prominent individuals wreck the party with their petty battles. He must draw the line somewhere. I don’t also have to remind Mr. President that governance goes beyond the anti-corruption war especially when there have been zero convictions so far.
The clock is ticking.