APC, Buhari and the battles ahead

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PDP-vs-APC

By Nojeem Adenrele

It is one thing to have victory but it is another thing to manage victory, and the stage the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is in now is how to manage victory, reduce ugly cracks that will unnecessarily rear their heads as a result of the circumstances that brought the party into existence.

What played out on the floors of the National Assembly shortly after the proclamation of the 8th session will be diagnosed and analysed variously, but to the discerning, the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively, is a fait accompli, but nevertheless, served to highlight the tendencies of power play within the party. It will do the APC a whole lot of good not to allow it fester beyond the manageable.

A precedent has been set, albeit one that was a disservice to party discipline. Yet, it had to be handled with care; reason being the statement by the party that it will work with the new National Assembly leadership.

All these need not be, except the APC think-tank is not prepared to walk its talk of bringing Nigerians the desired change, on the back of which they rode to power.

Truth be told, the APC, made up of its legacy parties: Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), all defunct- won at the last election, historically unseating the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it was a victory that could hardly have been wrought without both members of the rested New PDP.

A cursory look at the outcome of the governorship race in many of the states where the APC won for the first time will also show that the victories had the imprimatur of defecting PDP members. Instance can be found in the North Central states, Plateau, Niger, Benue, Kwara, with the exception of Nasarawa, where the APC for once made a headway. It was on the back of the turncoat men of the PDP. Even in Kogi State, where there was no governorship election, the presidential poll was for the first time won by the opposition. This has never happened since the defeat of former Governor Abubakar Audu, then of the ANPP, by the PDP. Audu, now in the APC, together with a potpourri of erstwhile PDP chiefs delivered the state to the APC.

No doubt the Jagaban Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a place reserved for him in history, present, past or future, that no one can or should be eager to deny him, others must be given their pride of place in the scheme of things. There are stalwarts, mainly of the PDP stock that bat no eyelid in their confrontation with their former party to ensure the victory that is now on the table. Former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku; his energy and resources, Bukola Saraki, who virtually bankrolled the APC electioneering in the whole of the North Central, former Governor Rotimi Amaechi, whose South-South to South-South confrontation with his erstwhile leader and former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, unnerved the latter to no end.

Others abound: Timipriye Sylva, Sen. Barnabas Gamade, Gov. Lalong of Plateau State, former Governor Oyinlola, not forgetting the baba of all and former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of the ‘tear the PDP membership card fame’. He it was that said, “I no do again”. Though at no time did the old guards from the PDP officially present a common leader as their rallying point, yet there must be one somewhere, and it is becoming clearer by the day that there is more than one axis of party leadership in the today’s APC.

The APC leadership must work adroitly to erase from the minds of Nigerians that others from outside of the legacy parties do not have as much stake, rights and privileges as those of the old ACN, CPC, ANPP or APGA in the victorious APC. That is as simple as the emerging situation can be explained. It is probably after a way is found around that tricky issue that the party can in all truthfulness begin to walk. Because the head is CPC or PDP does not imply that all other body parts should be CPC or ACN. That to me is one of the major undercurrents that played out at the two federal legislative chambers, and not a personal struggle or ambition, though it might appear so. And Saraki, a symbol for that reaction, to send the appropriate signal to the leadership of APC.

As at today, in the party structure at the national level, the New PDP are not properly represented. From the chairman, to the secretary, to the regional and Zonal and even in most of the states, they are not well represented. Assuming now that from the chairman, to the secretary, to zonal chairmen, that some of them are New PDP, where the National Committee is sitting, they will have a say, but the whole National Working Committee is mostly the legacy parties, while PDP elements were already in the party when it was being formed. Those are part of the issues that are on ground now that will continue to breed factionalization if not quickly addressed.

Mr. President must be ready to take control now and address some of the issues because he holds the responsibility to manage this government well, not the party. Before the election it is the party, after the election it is Mr. President. That is why some elements of the New PDP are comfortable that Atiku is with the President, because they were worried that if Atiku did not join him, they would have no voice of the New PDP and therefore, they would have lost out completely.

These and more must have become glaring by now, just as I am convinced that the APC is imbued with the capacity to wade through and manage the situation, just as it has in time past. The journey is just beginning and opportunities abound to expand the field. For example, there are so many sensitive positions and appointments that will be made shortly and the government of President Buhari must take deliberate step to balance the interest of all the contending parties, including the New PDP, rather than over concentrating those appointments in his party: CPC, Tinubu’s ACN, Onu’s ANPP or the faction of APGA, for fairness, equity and justice to prevail. So, that from the beginning we have a solid and unifying APC to consolidate the gains of the collective victory. The factor of the New PDP is real and MUST not be ignored or toyed with. Nigerians will be the better for it and more names will be etched in the sands of time in our march towards true greatness.

 

*Dr Nojeem Adenrele is an Abuja based political analyst

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Culled from: http://leadership.ng/

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