The Soul of APC Is Gone

By Muyiwa Olayinka
All Progressive Party APC is a political party in Nigeria that was formed on 6 February 2013 in anticipation of 2015 general election. It is a party formed from the merger of opposition and legacy parties namely ACN (Action Congress Party), CPC (Congress for Progressive Change) ANPP (All Nigeria People’s Party) and a faction of APGA (All Progressive Grand Alliance) to take on the ruling party PDP (People Democratic Party). Five governors of the ruling party PDP joined the fold very close the general elections of 2015.

The ideology of the party rests on Federalism, Social Conservatism and Progressivism. Many Nigerians were tired of the ruling PDP that dominated the political space for 16years. They needed a change of guard. The party came with a ‘change’ slogan and everybody latched on to the message

This is the first time alliance worked in Nigeria and the party won the election with a land slide victory.

APC won the Presidency with its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and controls the majority of the National Assembly. It affirmed its winning streak by having more states in its kitty.

It was a turning moment in Nigeria’s political trajectory, expected to breathe fresh ideology and new way of conducting governance.

But sadly, the expectations of Nigerians were dashed almost 3years of APC in power. Nigeria slipped into recession, for the first time in history, as a result of ineptitude and tardiness of this government. It took the President almost 8 months to constitute his federal cabinet. When it was finally constituted, it paraded majorly, known and spent politicians that have dominated the political scene for so long.

For example the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, was a minister in 1982. He was a former chairman of PDP, the party that lost election to APC. The President failed wittingly to proffer realistic solutions to national economic problems.

The resultant effect is pervasive hunger, high cost of goods and services including staple food items, job losses and high unemployment rates, failing value of the national currency, the Naira, high exchange rate and nose diving of all economic indices.

Furthermore,the ruling party could not manage its success and unable to get its acts together. Lack of internal democracy, internal fighting among members, indiscipline and jettisoning the party’s manifestos became the lot of the party.

President Buhari later realized could meet bogus and realistic promises made started denying some of many campaign promises made to Nigerians. The party started loosing its public rating among its believers, followers and supporters.

Today, it is obvious the party is in total disconnect with the people. The party’s mechanism is in total disarray.

You do not need a soothsayer to know that APC is technically dead but only living on borrowed time and oxygen.

The party sounded its death knell before it took off. Many will not take kindly to this but the signs had been there from inception..

APC is a party that was built on lies,hatred, bile, hate speech, emotions, propaganda thereby playing on Nigerians intelligence. It is so sad that many Nigerians did not see it coming. We were sucked up on the euphoria and propaganda being dished by party members on daily basis.

But I saw it coming!

I hinged my position on hindsight and past experiences.

Candidate Buhari has always performed below average in public office. I do not want to dwell on his stewardship as the head of the intervention agency, PTF ( Petroleum Trust Fund), created by the late General Sanni Abacha.

My position was predicated when he ( Major General Buhari) was the military head of state. He benefitted from a coup of 1983 by pushing aside the lame duck government of President Shehu Shagari. A leopard cannot change its dark spot, President (Buhari) is/was fond of apportioning blames of the precarious state of the nation to his predecessors.

He accused the former government of Shagari of the all the ills in the country, when he took over on December 31st 1983.

After his return to power in 2015 he has consistently been blaming his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan of all the problems of Nigeria, but realistically Jonathan spent 6 years in office of 57 years of independence from colonial powers.

Sadly, President Buhari did not evolve his economic blueprint, both practical plan and agenda to get us out of recession.

He came on a platform APC, a party of strange bed fellows with vested and self interest politicians. Consequently, the party is a like lost ship that is rudderless. The reason is not far fetched.

Let us examine the political blocks that make up the ruling party, APC

1.President Buhari is the arrow head of a political bloc that is very powerful within the party, APC. He led the CPC into the alliance that metamorphosed to APC.

As the executive President, in a Presidential system, he holds enormous powers. He commands large followership from the north based on his personal integrity and Spartan lifestyle. But his personal integrity has not transformed to performance to change the fortunes of his party and Nigeria as a whole. His government recorded lack luster and below averaged performance .

He has little to show apart from curtailing the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east. His fight against corruption had been directed at the previous government but closing eyes to allegations of sleaze within his government.

The report of the investigation of his erstwhile SGF (Secretary to the Government of the federation ) had been submitted and no action had been taken. An allegation of award of contracts to the tune of $26 billion, by his minister of state for petroleum against the GMD of NNPC has been swept under the carpet. Our President that is fighting corruption does deem it fit to investigate.

The President has been having health challenges lately. His ill health has slowed down the smooth running of government. Despite this, his handlers and supporters have started his reelection bid for 2019.

The presence of a “cabal” in his government will not rest on their oars to ensure their benefactor gets to run his constitutional second term. The ambition is being kept under wraps by his inner circle and his ambition is beginning to tear the party apart.

The President wants to maintain the status quo of the John Oyegun led executive hierarchy of APC. Inability of the party not to have its mini convention is deliberate in order not to allow the Hawks within the party rock the boat that is already design to favour him.

2. Bola Ahmed Tinubu led the legacy party ACN to APC. ACN is much more a bigger party than CPC. Tinubu had a nationalistic agenda and wanted to be part of a central government. He was tired of being referred to as a regional leader thus encouraging his ethnic stock, from the south west to support Buhari. Buhari had contested three times and lost but won the fourth time when the south west votes supported his bid.

Unfortunately the power brokers within the party had a hidden agenda.

Tinubu was given the title of national leader without clear mandate and defined responsibility. He was enjoying the accolade but not knowing he’s political clout had been reduced, as a result of not having any role to play

The Governorship elections in Ondo, Kogi and Edo brought the reality that he’s just a figure head. He has forgotten the fact that the President is the national leader.

It dawned on him when his preferred choice was sidelined in the Ondo gubernatorial election. He was embarrassed, he wrote a scathing letter to APC national chairman, John Oyegun and the executive of the party.

It is pretty obvious that Tinubu has got his fingers burnt. He was not rewarded for his contributions to the party. He’s waiting in the wings to re access his political future.

He has fallen back to his old political base using his supporters to test waters. Pa Akande his staunch ally and a leading member of the party, intimated that any member can contest for the office of the Presidency, jettisoning the zoning formula.

To political watchers, there are under current moves to prepare Tinubu’s shot at Presidency, or otherwise, could be a grand design of bigger things to come.

But the fact remains that Tinubu and his group had been schemed out of political calculations. The party had its emergency meeting with Governors on the party’s platform and leadership of the National Assembly recently. Tinubu, speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the south west Governors were conspicuously absent.

3. Former Vice President Atiku contributed immensely both politically and financially to APC . Atiku has never hidden his ambition to become the President of Nigeria. As a result of his ambition, Atiku had been moving from one political party to another. He joined APC with the mindset to realize his ambition, contested in the primary but was not successful because the machinery of the party was deployed favorably for Buhari. Atiku with his financial war chest learnt this hard lesson and lost the ticket to the man of the moment.

He had no choice but to support hoping that 2019 could present another opportunity. Leaving nothing to chance, Atiku unveiled his plan in earnest but it seems this action has pitted him against his party and this government.

For his perceived obduracy, the government has launched strings of attacks at his business interests. A company he has substantial interest ( Intels) has been involved in port operations and it is a multi billion naira contract spanning close to 30 years.

By executive fiat, the government cancelled the contract through the office of the nation’s Attorney General. As if that is not enough, the company’s office was shut down by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) over unpaid tax. These actions are going to have a political backlash since Atiku has large followership within the party.

4. Bukola Saraki is an influential member of the break away faction of PDP. He dumped the political party (PDP) that gave him political reckoning and joined APC. Bukola has not hidden his desire to become a political godfather. He inherited the political machinery of his father (late Dr Olusola Saraki) left behind. He’s the strong man of his state, Kwara in the north central Nigeria. He has surpassed his father’s achievements in the political turf by becoming the current Senate President. His late father was the Senate majority leader in the second republic

Immediately APC won the general election, he put everything in motion to become the nation’s Senate President. He took the opportunity when the senate presidency was zoned to the north central.

Against the party’s preferred choice, he became the Senate President against all odds. This set the tone for his political persecution. He was tried for all manners of corruption related charges. The cases dragged on for a long time, and it set the party’s membership at the National Assembly against the inner nucleus of the party. He won all the charges against him, and the party is yet to get over the sad episode.

Saraki’s debacle largely contributed to the polarizing state of the party. It affected the party’s cohesion and discipline.

In an interview recently, Saraki said that the party is drifting apart and not a rallying point for members. He said the crisis in the party is related to “administrative aspect and the inability of the national executives to provide leadership in driving the party”. He’s partly right because many state chapters of the party have been bedeviled with intra party crises, and the party has not been able to stem the tide.

Presently, the party does not have substantive Chairman of Board of Trustees since inception. National executive committee and caucus meetings have not been meeting periodically. A party that does not have a mini convention is falling apart, and members are at a loss of the direction it is heading. It has become effete, ineffective and incoherent.

An appointee of this government, Professor Itse Sagay made mention of this fact but instead of the party to turn a new leaf, he was thoroughly insulted.

The cracks have started manifesting.

It is sad that a party that promised so much has been able to deliver a little of his campaign and utopian promises. Many believe so much in this President that his party will make a difference but unfortunately it has dashed the hopes of Nigerians that believed so much in it.

According to Dele Momodu, a staunch supporter of President Buhari and APC, he wrote and I quote ‘ What we envisaged to be a change is fast becoming a mirage and turning out to be a riotous calamity’

Can this party be trusted again?

Do average Nigerians have faith in this party?

Will it be able to turn the tide and improve its fortunes?

For now, it’s soul is gone

Only time will tell.

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