Within the last few days, All Progressive Congress, APC, has been squarely in the news for a series of missteps as it sought to fill vacant positions within its National Working Committee (NWC).
These positions were made vacant by resignations occasioned mainly by appointments into the Federal Executive Council aside from the voluntary resignation of Salihu Lukman, the National Vice Chairman of North West.
I am concerned about APC since it controls the Federal Government, whatever affects the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) affects the whole nation.
The APC is the dominant party in government at the federal level because it produced the President as well as a majority of members at the National Assembly. Whatever disorganises it will willy-nilly affect national discourse.
Whenever the APC’s house is not at peace with itself, its troubles will surely reverberate and affect governance across the entire country.
A well organised and democratic APC is in the interest of the citizenry. An APC that practises internal democracy will be seen as evidence of a democratic mindset by those in power, while a dictatorial and law breaking APC will be read as a bad omen for democracy in our nation as a whole.
Any keen observer of the recent happenings in the ruling APC will have noticed by now that all is not well within the party. While this column does not want to dwell on the circumstances through which the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu emerged national chairman of the party ahead of the 2023 general elections and his unceremonial exit from the position however it was, Adamu came through a National Convention as it should be.
However, the emergence of the former governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje as the current national chairman of the party is shadowed by the fact that the processes are not clear when read against the APC constitution.
Indeed, all is not well in the party’s governance processes judging from their lack of adherence to their own constitution.This infidelity to its constitution can be seen clearly in their recent effort to induct new members to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) arising from vacancies created therein.
This filling of the vacant positions in the National Working Committee, has led to flexing of muscles by various shortchanged interests. These clashes can be traced to efforts by some to outwit some states while favouring others.
For instance, Cross River State which hitherto had the National Woman Leader position was schemed out and was replaced by a nominee from Edo State. Of course, this has not gone down well with the party members from Cross River who promptly protested and very loudly too at the National Secretariat of the APC.
Also the replacement of kogi State representative in the APC NWC had its own issues. Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi and the leader of APC in that state laid a seige at the party’s Abuja National Secretariat. This resulted in a shutdown of the Secretariat of the ruling party as was reported in local and international media.
With an already bad image, Nigeria as a country and APC as a party do not need These acrimonious distractions!
These are unnecessary crisis that distract government as well as create unnecessary turbulence to the ship of state!
The Thursday protests which some commentators describe as justified was widely covered by the media as many frontline newspapers were awash with stories of the demonstrations and the consequent police presence at the headquarters of the ruling All Progressives Congress. The demonstrators from Cross Rivers State APC were demanding the return of their “stolen” slot which had had been inexcusably moved to Edo.
The CRS protesters who according to reports engaged in a shouting match with placards held high above their heads, lamented that, “the outgoing National Deputy Chairman for North, Senator Abubakar Kyari was replaced by Borno party chairman, Ali Dalori while Cross River was not allowed to fill its own slot.
What is really the root of the protests? It is basically the failure of the party leadership to adhere to its own rules. The national party leadership also failed to carry the state stakeholders along in replacing the NWC members in disregard to the constitution of the party.
For instance, in the case of Cross River State that hitherto had the position of National Women Leader, the protesters from Cross River State felt that her replacement at the NWC must come from Cross River State. They based their position on the constitution of the party which stipulates that any vacancy created in the NWC shall be filled by the state that initially occupied the position.
They argued that even though both Cross River and Edo states are from the South South, the replacement of Dr Edu with someone from Edo State is against the party’s constitution.
Notably, this leaves Cross River without a voice in the NWC, given the fact that Cross River is the only state in the South South with an APC governor. From reports, the nominee from Cross River who was duly ratified by CRS APC and forwarded to APC HQ was discarded.
The Kogi State protesters were against the alleged imposition of a person to the NWC from the state without carrying along the stakeholders including the governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who by the constitution of the party is the leader of the party in Kogi State. It should be noted that none of the two state governors, namely Senator Otu of CRS and Yahaya of Kogi were consulted as leaders of their state chapters of APC! This can be likened to barring a man’s head in his absence.
Inaugurating the newly appointed members of the NWC, in the night of last week Friday, the APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, acknowledged that the party had taken serious notice of Governor Bello’s objection and the grievances of those who lost out in Abia and Cross River states.
Whether this acknowledgement is enough to satisfy the aggrieved states remains to be seen as there are talks here and there of litigations, a distraction that APC cannot afford so early in Tinubu Administration.
However, Dr Gandunje and all those who run political parties in Nigeria should note that political parties are critical to the survival of democratic governance.
The parties remain ideally the idealogical link between the members of the party and the government. Parties are as essential to democracy as justice is. There is no way democracy can survive without the survival of democratic practice with poltical parties.A well organised political party helps a government govern. A disorganised political party is an albatross as was evidenced in the loss of power by the PDP in 2015.
The victory of APC in that election cycle was clearly made possible by the undemocratic autocratic machinations at PDP’s Wadata Plaza.
The APC’s electoral success demonstrated how political parties built on genuine citizen support can trounce a party in power that had lost its connection to the people.
It is the view of this column that the APC has over the years and since its rise to power, demonstrated autocratic tendencies, a fact that will not help engrain and entrench democracy in Nigeria.
At this auspicious time, political and policy actors should not give Nigerians reason to question or abandon our hard won democracy.
Yet, instead of capitalizing on its laudable successes at the polls, the APC seems to be following the autocratic and draconian footsteps of the PDP that saw to its unravelling and defeat in 2015. We pray that such misfortune should not befall the APC.