Guest Columnist By Anthony Kolawole
It is that period again when political parties begin to put their house in order in preparation for the general elections. Warring factions are reconciled, concessions are made, waivers are granted and a host of other activities that would position the party for electoral success.
I have followed events carefully in the political landscape and made some observations, especially with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) preparedness towards the general elections. I must confess that the issues in the APC are humongous and an indication that all is not well with the party.
There are lots of infighting. The centre seems to be shaking from the tremendous pressure placed on it by interested stakeholders. At some point, it feels like the APC is a congregation of strange bedfellows. It is one week one issue in the APC. Either the party contradicts itself on zoning, or a stalwart is accusing the Caretaker Committee of the Party of bias and favouring a set of aspirants over the others.
This is quite unlike the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which seems stable and strategizing to take back the power they lost in 2015. I dare say that with the way the PDP is going, electoral fortunes might come their way to the chagrin of the APC, who appears to be still basking in the euphoria of previous electoral success, forgetting that times have changed and so should political strategies.
What is the problem of APC? There is a leadership crisis. To date, the party does not have a substantive chairman. The party has been led by the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, under a Caretaker Committee arrangement after the leadership crisis that saw the ouster of Adams Oshiomohole.
In my opinion, the Mai Mala Buni led caretaker committee had fared well in addressing some of the challenges in the party. They had attempted to reconcile warring factions. But now, there is a bigger problem: the date for the APC convention.
The Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee (CPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has come under renewed scrutiny over the proposed February 26 National Convention date. This is a time bomb waiting to be detonated. I assume the stakeholders in the APC have not realized this. And this is sad. They have busied themselves with bashing one another and refused to look at an issue as critical as this.
The proposed convention date by my analysis is not feasible because there are quite some unresolved issues in the party, mainly some of the issues that rocked the boat for Adams Oshiomole and his executives at the time.
Most times, I wonder if the APC is prepared to retain control beyond 2023 because of its failure to see the handwriting on the wall. My take is simple. The proposed date for the convention is not realistic. This view has been echoed by some APC members, citing that the party must put its house in order before the mention of a convention.
This is where I empathize with the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee, who, by all indications, seems overwhelmed by the myriads of issues in the party. He has done quite well as caretaker committee chairman, in fairness to him. However, the proposed date seems to have thrown up more issues than anticipated this time around.
Did he act under pressure? Was he reluctant to announce a date for the convention when the house is not yet in order? Whatever is the case, holding the APC convention on February 26 might be the final straw that would break the camel’s back. I stand to be corrected.
The issues that have come up with this date are humongous, and we might see a repeat of the Adam Oshiomole’s era, which might spell doom for the party. And it would be to the advantage of the PDP in the sense that anti-party activities would be rife. Trust Nigerian politicians.
Make no mistakes, I am not sympathetic to any party; my contribution in this discourse is a product of the various political permutations in the buildup to the general elections and the attendant implication for the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.
The APC is the central focus because it is the ruling party. It is expected that it should have a solid plan towards retaining power, on the heels that the opposition PDP seems to be gaining momentum. Let me also add that some of the policy initiatives of the APC have not helped matters. Would I say that Nigerians are disappointed with the turn of events since the APC came on board? The answer is yes and no. this is a topic for another day.
Back to the crux, the APC leadership must slam the brakes with the February 26 convention date. It defeats common sense. The rational thing to do is to address some fundamental issues that are yet unresolved. I might not have the details, but from the look of things, all seems not to be well and going for a convention in this atmosphere would end up complicating matters rather than resolving them.
If I may suggest, holding the convention in six months won’t be a bad idea. What that would do is to give the party ample time to put its house in order. I strongly advise Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee to look in that direction. As they say, uneasy lays the head that wears the crown. It would be challenging, but obviously, a rational decision must be made.
I am not convinced the APC is not desirous of retaining power. And if they must retain power, they must begin by putting their house in order. The February 26 date might be an invitation for chaos in the party. Those that still love the APC and its existence beyond 2023 must therefore make a decision between Buni’s efforts and the February 26th Convention date for the APC.
Kolawole is a teacher and wrote this piece from Keffi.