Editor's note: "One might begin to wonder if there is an actual APC leader or the party is still under the tight grip of the different factions that gave birth to it," writes Ubaka Chukwuka Maximus in a contribution to Legit.ng. In the light of the recent National Assembly election, it seems that having emerged from a group of parties the APC hasn't yet evolved into a single entity. "The polarized party will only strengthen the opposition," warns Ubaka Chukwuka and calls on the party chieftains to let President Buhari emerge as a single party leader.
- "The APC is no doubt a coalition of political parties with different ideas and motives, not an organic whole yet".
- "The party was so hurriedly put together that there was no tacit agreement on appropriation of offices".
- "Nigerians expect robust leadership from the APC, leadership driven by patriotism and compassion for the poor. The polarized party will only strengthen the opposition".
The just concluded National Assembly election exposed the leadership tussle in the APC. One might begin to wonder if there is an actual APC leader or the party is still under the tight grip of the different factions that gave birth to it. The election outcome saw the APC sleeping. The supposedly wounded PDP outsmarted the APC in the act of complicated negotiation. The election was a political masterstroke against the change party. Political permutation was mocked at, and political pundits like Senator Tinubu didn’t find the game funny. The mock election conducted to anoint Senator Ahmed Lawan for the Senate president position and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the position of the speaker of the House of Representatives turned the winner into the real loser. The APC grossly miscalculated.
The National Assembly election is not a regional election or even a general election where the underage freely exercised undeserved franchise. The honorable members of the National Assembly are not the gullible masses the APC can convince with violence and cheap lies thereby swaying their conscience. They forgot that the National Assembly election went beyond rigid partisan allegiance. These men sit together for the common purpose, they are also members of one committee or another, so, naturally, bounds of friendship must have been formed because every senator has to convince his colleagues to vote for a bill. The party should have evaluated the effects of cross-party alliance, especially between the ex-PDP members and the new opposition party PDP. The experience of the 2011 National Assembly election that brought in Tambuwal against the PDP candidate just repeated itself. History always repeats itself, but people don’t learn from history.
Moreover, the party underestimated Senator Bukola Saraki, who was known to be a fighter, an ambitious gladiator in the political arena. In 2011, he went against his father’s plan and supported a different candidate to succeed him as a governor. He simultaneously delivered his candidate and went ahead to win the senatorial seat.
An ordinary Nigerian would think that all is well with the change party. But acquiring power is easier than managing it. Each party faction is eager to have a strong representation in the key offices. The APC is no doubt a coalition of political parties with different ideas and motives, not an organic whole yet. The defunct CPS is occupying the presidency; the AC has the vice president, the ANPP - the national chairman. The new PDP arm has just grabbed the position of Senate president. The leader of the APGA faction, Governor Rochas Okorocha, is crying foul the APGA deserves the secretary of the federation position if this bounty of victory is to be shared fairly. The new PDP arm appeared to be flexible in getting their goals met as they stealthily allied with their former comrade to get Saraki to the position.
The statement of Lai Mohammed after the election and the outburst of Tinubu weren’t what President Buhari had in mind. Mohammed’s name has always been a synonym to the APC and its idea of change. It is no surprise that Lai Mohammed now thinks he is APC-impersonalized, which allows him to make outrageous statements without authorization. But who will authorize him? The position of Bola Tinubu as a result of the election was seen by the new PDP arm as a sanction against it. This explains why Atiku Abubakar congratulated Saraki immediately after the election proving that his faction supported his emergence. There is an obvious absence of cohesion in the APC. The party was so hurriedly put together that there was no tacit agreement on appropriation of offices.
President Buhari should be the only leader of the party. He should speak first before any overzealous party chieftain addresses the press. Nigerians expect robust leadership from the APC, leadership driven by patriotism and compassion for the poor. The polarized party will only strengthen the opposition. The APC and Bola Tinubu should not make Buhari a puppet. He is the only person that gives the APC a semblance of good image. In 2011, Buhari was able to garner 12m votes even without being supported by the party. He did the APC a big favor by combining the CPC and other parties together.
Buhari was projected by the kingmakers, but made king by the electorate. He is now the king, so the kingmakers should withdraw into the shadows, just like how John the Baptist did after baptizing Christ. They should not give Buhari an excuse to fail because Nigeria must get it right this time. Nigeria is gradually changing, but the founders of this change are hostile to it. “Let the change to change the changer”.
Mr Chukwuka is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
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