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Congresses Of Thunder, Fire And Brimstone



The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has had its national executive officers intact for about four years now. This is a feat, given the regularity with which the PDP turned over national chairmen, while in power.
It was for this reason that I dismissed as sour grape, PDP’s last year position that the fear of implosion made conduct of national convention unattractive to the ruling party. Given the blood, the guns and the fires we saw from the APC in about 20 states in the past two weekends, just for an internal political activity as lowly as ward and local government congresses, PDP can pride itself as a party that saw tomorrow for the ruling party.

In the congresses, a ward chairmanship aspirant in Ughelli, Delta State, was stabbed to death in an instant; another went same way in Deba town, Yamalty/Deba local government of Gombe State. Blood also stained the exercise in Lagos. At Central School, Dopemu, Agege local government area of Lagos State, several accounts confirmed that Nurudeen Olanose and Kadiri Garba were cut down in a hail of bullets from fellow party members.
More painful was the death of Kofo, a teenage girl, who was minding her own business in Idi Oro area of Queens Cinema, Ibadan, Oyo State when a stray bullet from the type of police we have, struck her down.
The site of a bloodied APC member with a broken skull outside the perimeters of Port Harcourt High Court and the unrestrained destruction of properties within the court premises by party members were no scarier than the endless staccato of gunshots that followed the police engagement of party thugs who muscled out everyone and locked the court premises a day to the local government congress, just to ensure that a restraining order on the congress in the state, sought by a faction, loyal to Senator Magnus Abe, would not be granted.
Party secretariat was torched in Imo and another, incinerated in Bauchi. Scores of party members in Lagos and across the country, with broken bodies who can afford hospital treatments, ended up in hospital beds while some others who cannot, will just have to find ways of licking their wounds. In spite of all these, the greater fear is in knowing that the state congresses and the national convention, where the stakes are even higher, are yet to take place.

Bad as the mayhem from APC’s congresses are, competence and capability from the police and other security agencies in confronting the situations would have spoken better than the tons of verbal safety assurances they waiting to unload on us as political activities kick-in.
Even if the party leaders would not agree, fact is that the party’s congresses left sad footprints that have vastly diminished the APC.
Though it is unlikely to come, the party is expected to take a shot at redemption by taking a stand against the lawlessness and criminalities of its members during the last two congresses, especially as lives were lost and people maimed. The shot at redemption must also include an internal probe into the activities of some of its bigwigs, fingered for complicity in the violence that rocked the affected states and activate its internal disciplinary measures against those found culpable.
We are all witnesses to the fact that electoral administration in Nigeria in the last PDP administration, made reasonable advances in the direction of level playing field, credibility of election and violence limitation. No one’s 2019 ambition should be as important to anyone or political party as to allow it drag us back.

A ruling party’s ward and local government congresses, in which the players showed that their ambitions are worth more than the blood of Nigerians is not only reprehensible, but a warning bell in the polity.
The national electoral body should also be bothered by the effrontery with which some of the party leaders gamed the internal electoral processes of their party because such politicians cannot be demons in congresses and turn out saints in the general election.
The global community, investors and all other Nigerians would not have been seriously bothered by the free reign of thugs and the rogue activities of politicians in the last two weekends if the APC was not the ruling party which should set worthy examples ahead of next year’s general election, and if the evils of the congresses do not warn of greater ones to come.
Political stability has nexus with economic well being of nations. Events in the stock exchange have amply demonstrated that investors are on their marks in fear of political upheaval in the country over 2019. Low investors’ confidence can only ensure that the economy looks down.
The worries of all observers over the storm clouds from APC congresses are well founded. If the party can take the country this inglorious distance over positioning for internal power sharing, is it not likely that it would do the more egregious when the engagement is between it and other political parties?

Apart from creating an uneven playing field, there is no worse signal to send by a ruling party, few months to a general election, than the inclination to cut-throat politics the APC displayed with its last two congresses.
The more danger from the menu the APC congresses served is its huge likelihood of horrifying other political parties into doubly equipping for violence, especially as the central government, which has the exclusive right of command and control over the police, military and para-military agencies, belongs to it.