VIEWING THE APC “CHANGE” DIFFERENTLY
The deliberate absence of His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor and the indefatigable National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and His Excellency, Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State, at the National Executive Committee meeting of the party is like the herald of the “Sidon look” regime of the National Leader, the “Asiwaju” himself.
In my views, and also for those “living in the Spirit”, as commonly heard among Christians, “vision” is the foundation of great achievers. A man who will pursue a successful goal must begin with a vision. The mission for any endeavour, for which personal life is sometimes contributed to its realisation, finds expression from a vision.
If my sense if history won’t fail me, and I hereby beg the pardon if it does: the conception of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was first by the “G9”, which later transformed into the “G18” after some men joined the “framers’ team” even as others left it. It was in the “G9” that His Excellency Arc Alex Ekuweme, former Nigerian Vice President and am Igbo man sat together with His Excellency Chief Ajibola Ige, former Oyo State Governor and an erstwhile Attorney General of the Federation and a Yoruba man, to deliberate on the outlook of the PDP. I heard that it was Chief Ige who wrote the constitution of the party. It was the emergence of the “G32” that finally framed the PDP by the merging of their visions.
One very unique, and very certain happening observed during the formative stage of the PDP, was that though there was a progressive increase in the number of men in the team that framed the party, there were also men who were in the team from the beginning who dropped out along the way because they just could not see themselves working together with some who were subsequently admitted in the team.
The PDP truly had a national outlook with respected statesmen as its face.
The Alliance for Democracy (AD) was not so. It had the face of some very strong South West men of repute; it was the creation of the Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political platform for national political expression. The PDP is indeed the product of very sound deliberations at various stages by experienced men in the game of politics.
However, as some would desire to believe, the APC is a party suffering from inexperience, because it is seen as a new emergence upon the nation’s political terrain. It is believed that its delicateness and tenderness endeared it to Nigerians as the symbol of hope. But I disagree: APC’s victory at the first poll they participated in dwarfs this thinking. Although the APC is new and appears inexperienced, it is lead by experienced and very astute political actors who have been giving the party its direction from the beginning.
For me, the hope for “Change” manifested when I recalled my friend’s warning about supporting His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Jonathan from sentiments, and my building of confidence on the pressure Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu mounted on President Muhammadu Buhari to join him in building a party to delete the PDP from power.
My friend, and classmate in Government Secondary School, Daura, Sylvanus Amlabu, had during the period stretching into the 2011 Presidential election warned me not to fail to cast my vote for Buhari because he was the candidate of Nigeria’s leadership for that time. He saw the Jonathan presidency as the big mistake Nigerians would make.
Things were not really bad at that time and I, especially, was oblivious of any disadvantage in Jonathan, so I could not see what he was pointing at. Sylvanus tried to highlight the risk of choosing Jonathan who was clearly unprepared for governance, and I dismissed his view as personal to him. Jonathan was representing me from the South South zone, such a first time privilege, it was a dream come true and needed to be supported by all Niger Deltans, and I thank the other region who also supported that privilege we had. Unfortunately, only the Ijaws benefitted from his administration.
So when Tinubu started his political pilgrimage with Chief Bisi Akande and Lai Mohammed, I felt hope rise in my heart that with the cult-following of Buhari in the North, if he receives the support of the South West, a new and winning formulae will come home to roost in our political mathematics and calculations in opposition parties politics in Nigeria. It was possible for foremost opposition parties to form a league to take power from the ruling party.
Unlike the vision that framed the PDP, the APC vision was first conceived by one man who saw and explored the privilege and possibility of merging opposition parties, as an alternative for taking political power; and he shared it with “like minds”. The umbrella body under which some APC senators of the Eight Assembly shelter to create an alternative platform for themselves within the party with the support of some former and present northern governors and some northern elders of the party is the aberration of the “like minds” coinage. Curiously, those who stand in offense to the party are entirely members who defected from the PDP.
I will constantly pronounce Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara guilty of insubordination to their party leadership and I can strongly defend and justify my position. The unfortunate cause of the protracting crisis of the APC is the presumptuous admission of the members of the nPDP into the APC without issuing them a code of conduct, to which each of them admitted into the party must attest. That would have eliminate people like Bukola Saraki and his Kwara State team, possibly Aliyu Wammako and his Sokoto State team and Rabiu Kwankwaso and his Kano State team. This would have been the worst that could have happened to the APC at that stage.
Rotimi Amaechi may still have progressed with the APC because his political battle was the fiercest. All of these actors knew that it was not an option to return to the PDP, so they were left with no option than to either establish their own party, join one of the weak opposition parties, or join the APC. I wish to believe which soever option Saraki, Wammako and Kwankwaso would have chosen, they would have still won their States, caring less if the PDP returns to power at the centre.
Nevertheless, more than winning Rivers State for himself, as the others would and did, Rotimi Amaechi needed Goodluck Jonathan out of power at the centre at all cost. It was therefore not surprising that of the 4 of 5 governors who left the PDP and joined the APC, he alone lost his State in its political entirety, save for the hurriedly put together Local Government Councils leadership, which is still very unstable. The picture of the alleged persecution of his aides by the government of Rivers State is the picture of Amaechi’s scare of PDP returning to the centre.
Of the elders, Atiku Abubakar, as is habitual with him, would have saved Goodluck Jonathan asking him to return to the PDP him three times. He would have jumped at the offer the very first time the man asked him. He too would have left the APC, dragging his train with him. Some things were, however, clear about the 2015 presidential election: the personality of President Buhari, the popular yearning for change and the political support of the South West.
It was not about any political party, especially in the entire North, where the”SAI BUHARI” chant was cult-driven and the determination of the South West to take its political chances and make them expressive. Nothing could have stopped the APC from its presidential victory. President Buhari’s victory was the answer to the effectual fervent prayer of downtrodden Nigerians. This must not be diminished or taken for granted, if it is true that “leadership comes from God”.
As the people who came into the APC after the merging parties have agreed on their leadership, accepting to recognise a National Leader, when the mission of “Change” was set on course, still being in its formative circle; the nPDP members who volunteered to join hands with the APC to oust the PDP, should have discussed the interest they were bringing in at their point of entry. Coming in as volunteers and now pretending to show political muscles because of some despicable support from a failed political platform struggling to stay alive is not the same change majority of Nigerians envisioned. It is dishonesty.
The APC leadership was truly naive to have overlooked the expectations of the nPDP members at this stage.
They found a caveat in this to be exploitative and unreasonable. In the course of establishing the leadership of the National Assembly, the nPDP members descended too dangerously on every one possessing the “Change” hope, by forming a protective wall around party offenders to conceal their nocturnal and vulture-like machinations and an unholy power delivery against our symbols of “Change”.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have his shortcomings as a human being but I still dont see any rationale behind anyone accusing him of any leadership error, as he did not and has not fail to move the party forward in the course of his leadership before the rude obstruction to the political advance of the party.
The hoot about ““cutting Tinubu to size” is like the artful dodge murders wickedly resort to by blaming Satan for using them to kill others than take responsibility for their actions. To shield their unnecessary scramble for office and the open laundering of their political self-interests, they complained of the “overbearing attitude” of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I must commend the “Asiwaju” for boycotting the APC NEC meeting. He has shown himself to be a man who is on course to achieve a successful mission upon a concrete vision, not someone who is carried about by “every wind of doctrine”.
This is the time for Bola Tinubu and all who like him are now seen as intruders in the APC, to stand aloof from the government of President Buhari and the affairs of the APC, as they have clearly expressed no confidence in the National Assembly and its leadership. If Mr President wants their opinion on any matter of State, he knows where to send for them. If the party needs their attention and contributions in any matter, they know how to find them.
There is every need for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prove to all those who want to take the national leadership of the APC from him that it is now available to take. “Bola” should put it down for them and save them the effort of having to drag it with him. He should also prove that he has no such political frame they are desiring to “cut to size”. He needs to to prove that the size they wish to cut down is in the figment of their imaginations.
What makes President Buhari think he will sit down and watch the desecration of the platform he joined others to build and now that he feels concerned for himself and his leadership index, he is calling for respect for the “supremacy of the party” and claiming to stand with standing the party. “Baba”, as we fondly call Mr President, there are some people who are not yet a part of your government and still have the right to watch political happens from the sideline, holding valid, even if different, opinions.
If Mr President’s call for members of the APC to respect the position of the the party leadership must be given any tooth, he must define if his call embraces the need to correct the fracture in the structure of the party caused by the insubordination of Saraki and Dogara. For those with the knowledge of structural engineering, a fracture is not plastered off to stop a continuous failure. There must be a deliberate work done to reinforce the areas of failure to contain its spread. It is about spreading to other parts as it is now doing. Refusing to honour party invitations is graduating amongst members of the APC.
If by my assumption Mr President’s call includes Bola Tinubu accepting Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives as heads of the legislative chambers of the National Assembly, then the condition lies in both men publishing their apologies to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in two national dailies before the issue will find its resting place. I therefore commend both Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande for resisting the change been introduced to the “Change” we followed.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was available to both Saraki and Dohara to also lobby in their quest to for the office they occupy. Since they won their positions through their romance with the PDP, they have visited everyone that mattered, have they visited Tinubu? If the serial insubordination of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representative must be punished for ridiculing the party and Bola and Bisi are ready to give their positions up to satisfy this vacuum, what in it is anybody’s business? If nothing was done to Saraki and Dogara for disobeying Mr President and the party leadership, nothing will also happen to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande if they refuse to see Mr President’s position as theirs and that also of the party leadership.
The structural faults to the political obedience of Mr President and the party leadership must be corrected from the first point of defect. I congratulate the two politicians who have stationed themselves upon discipline and sageness. They have both proven to be the appropriate symbols of the change we demand.