Guest Columnist By Mark Okeke
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) finally scheduled its national convention for February 28. Sadly, rather than being a thing of joy the date now has all the markings of a dark cloud hanging ominously over the ruling party, which is now on the threshold of going the way of the former ruling party, the People Democratic Party.
One pertinent question to ask is how the APC got to this point. A background to this inquiry is necessary. We seem to have all forgotten that the impetus for the formation of the APC, in addition to its war cry of wanting to salvage the country, was that of creating a political party that thrives on internal democracy and devoid of the internal wrangling that sounded the death knell for political parties in Nigeria.
The dark cloud above the APC could perhaps have been prevented from gathering has the party curtailed the excesses of certain individuals who reckoned that they owned the party more than others. The most overbearing in this category are certain governors from the northern part of the country who practically passed across the vibes that what other party members and leaders want do not matter. It was their own way or the highway.
Those who had argued against a February national convention for the APC had put forward their arguments. Such people posited that the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has done such a good job that it should have gotten an additional lease of life to further actualize its mandate of smoothening relationships within the party. The APC was riddled with widespread crises and infighting before the Committee came on board.
While the Committee had done much to repair relationships and reconciled aggrieved factions at state level, some states remained in crises that will likely amplify in the run-up to the convention, which would then spell doom for the party.
There was also the argument that it would have been globally consistent to defer the national convention such that it holds at the same time with the convention to select the APC presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections. Those that pushed this position reasoned that it would allow more time for further reconciliation. But the hardliners that have somehow appropriated the party to themselves will have none of these arguments. They practically passed it as a decree that the elective convention must hold in February.
Unfortunately, with the overbearing disposition of these democratic dictators, that which should have been forgotten has now been named. Righteously disgruntled members are now beginning to discuss in terms of the constituent blocs that were cobbled together to from the APC – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP – faction of the People’s Democratic Party. The danger in this development is that it is setting the tone for those aggrieved by the high handedness of some APC governors to contemplate pulling out their blocs and reverting to a semblance of pre-merger days or to go find expression in other political parties.
If those who think they have pulled off a coup by fixing and announcing a date for the national convention feel the limited protestation that greeted the development is a good sign, then they have major surprises coming for them. The seeming silence should rather be construed from perspective of being ominous. These people that are unhappy at being muscled are keeping silent apparently because they have their own game plan, a fallback position that will ensure they can make the people they perceive as usurper to pay steep prices at the polls come the 2023 General Elections. And one way of giving a bloody nose is for them to pursue courses that will ultimately cause implosion in the APC.
For APC’s death not to be near and being of its own doing, genuine stakeholders must step forward to see if there are remedial steps that would salvage the party. There is an urgency to find solutions and expose those that are out to kill the party. Interestingly, these would be assassins and undertakers of the APC are neither PDP nor any opposition. The situation is that the APC is about to consume the APC.
Stakeholders must confront the stark fact that these people currently dictating for the party do not have a single strand of the APC’s interest at heart. No. They are out for their own interests, which would only make February more brutal for the APC. The fallout will not be contained within the APC as there would be a spillover that will make Nigerians call for some people’s head. There will be reckoning. These same characters behind the APC debacle are those that connived with Bill Gates to keep Nigerians perpetually hungry in the wake of global coronavirus outbreak. By seizing the soul of the APC, they invariably target pocketing Nigeria and owning its citizens. People will revolt against this.
If the new self-appointed owners of the APC can still activate their capacity to listen, then they should hear this. Nobody wants a Convention in February. More than half of APC members have issues to resolve. Yet these lords want to deceive party members and Nigerians that a crisis-free convention is possible in February without making visible efforts to build consensus and secure the buy-in of party members.
As the party is made to press ahead with the ill-advised February 28 national convention date against reason and in spite of the dark cloud that hovers above it, one is compelled to ask a profound question. Who bewitched the APC?
Okeke wrote this piece from Abakaliki.