SUNDAY NARRATIVE: APC: 100 Days Of Honeymoon
ASIWAJU Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a smart man. Until he was treacherously conspired against by sections of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), after the 2015 elections had been won and lost, Tinubu used to be one of Nigeria’s foremost political master strategists. He used to have a good knowledge of the polity, knowing when to retreat and when to forge ahead.
It is not an awkward repetition to state that Tinubu gave a voice to the Southwest when former president Obasanjo and his former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), conscripted the zone into some bogus political mainstream. When all seemed lost, Tinubu, the political Trojan returned to the drawing board and rescued the zone to is former prime place, as one of the ancient tripods on which Nigeria’s political life rests.
A prized possession that must not be toyed with, lest Oduduwa forebears begin to turn uneasily in their resting abode, Tinubu held tightly to the region since 2003 and recreated it as a good bargaining monument in Nigeria’s dubious federal system. He put it to use in 2007 without much initial success, but later recovered substantial part of the region via judicial pronouncements. In 2012, he attempted another partnership with Muhmmadu Buhari’s then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). When he smelt a rat early enough, he returned to base and angrily poured in his support for the candidate of the PDP, former president Jonathan. Unfortunately, that effort was not adequately acknowledged by GEJ, after he had formed government.
That put Tinubu on the road again towards 2015, in search for allies. The dream is to get to Abuja and have a feel of the government at the centre. But this time, he looked smarter. He had the full compliment of the Southwest states, apart from Ondo. He also had Edo and he was in a good stead to drive a hard bargain, and to possibly dictate the terms. Indeed, he was the principal partner, the game changer. The elections came and it was good victory for the APC.
But it is in the apportioning of credit for job well done that Tinubu and his loyalists have met with huge disappointment. First, it was in the National Assembly, where another group felt it was early enough to cut Tinubu to size. If the other group were to allow him have his way in the selection of leaders for the NASS, Tinubu would be all over the place, they feared. They, indeed, cut him less than his real size, until reason and fairness prevailed and Femi Gbajiabimila was grudgingly offered the seat of leader of the House of Representatives.
That action procured some relief for Tinubu, who had quietly withdrawn to map his way out of the cobwebs. Not to be seen sorrowing over spilt milk, the Jagaban roused himself from temporary stupor, to have Ramadan breakfast with President Buhari on Tuesday, July 28. Still a good tactician, after doing necessary obeisance and on his way out, he needed to say something reassuring to Nigerians and to himself, in spite of the obvious lull in governance and the eclipse that was set to close in on him. That was when he pleaded for the people to give Buhari 100 days of honeymoon, because the task at hand is huge, having being complicated by the monumental failures of the previous administration.
Hear him: “May 29 was when this President was sworn in. It is an international norm; there is a honeymoon period, at least, a minimum of 100 days’ honeymoon. And won’t you allow honeymoon at all? You said change is not coming. Change is not by magic. It is driven by the people, the spirit and the character and the planning.”
The Jagaban Borgu is not the subject of this narrative, apart from the obvious fact that his peculiar station, vis-à-vis that of APC could give inkling of how far they have fared in 100 days. But I needed to bring him in, so that due respect will be paid for using his quotable quote. I also beg to deviate a bit from where to place the beneficiary of his plea. It is not only Buhari who has enjoyed 100 days honeymoon; it is actually the entire APC that has been honeymooning, at the expense of public trust and their litany of campaign promises. And we need to break it down.
IN its first 100 days as the party in government, they said we should no longer say ‘ruling party’, we have seen a coalition that is sluggish to transit from a previously vociferous opposition to being regal and determined, in utterances and actions. The party is busy trading allegations and turning itself into an EFCC, instead of putting the government on its toes to deliver on its list of endless promises.
Just within 100 days, APC has suffered amnesia and can no longer remember what it dished out during campaigns. They have forgotten that they used their hands to draw up and publish a long list of campaign communicators, strategists and whatever, whom they unleashed on the people, just to suffuse the polity with all manner of propaganda. Now, Garba Shehu and Lai Mohammed are denying messages that were dished out by their motley crowd of campaigners. They should rather apologise for their incongruities.
The APC is certainly not in a hurry to repent of is its love for harried propaganda.
Countdown to the 2015 elections, the APC expertly hurled barrages of verbal missiles to bring the former presidency and the PDP on its knees. But having formed government, the party seems vacuous on how to combat Nigeria’s myriad of headaches.
Who says governance is easy? Ordinarily, Nigerians are very fair-minded people and would not expect any magical turn around in a mere 100 days. But because the campaigns were hyped beyond the usual, peoples’ expectations have also climbed beyond the ordinary. The APC before March 28 was in winning mode and to sustain the positivity of that moment, it jarred out promises that sounded heaven on earth. And Nigerians, otherwise very modest and humble, also keyed into that mood, which can now be safely described as fictitious. Let the APC propagandists repent now and forsake their wayward ways.
The party leadership should learn to consolidate an effective hold, so that its opinions and decisions would be respected by all members, from the Presidency, through the NASS to states.
IT was a shameful episode on June 9, when some APC legislators were tricked to the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, while a handful loitered in the Assembly to cook up figures and have upper hand in the power game that is now entrenched in the party. That episode remains a blemish and ridicule of the party’s claim to some form of supremacy.
After treating Nigerians to a breathtaking scramble for space, the APC-led National Assembly has indeed, been honeymooning. They have practically been on holiday since that historic inauguration of June 9. They come in briefly and abscond hurriedly to buy time and let off steam. They have not settled into their core business of lawmaking and oversight of the MDAs. The seat is still very hot, particularly for the Senate leadership. Just like it is with receivers of stolen items, their minds are not yet at rest because the owners are on the prowl. We are yet to see any purposefulness in the legislature, except the probe of the EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, which is a sideline issue and its altruism yet to be established.
APART from the slowness in style, PMB seems purposeful and determined. He has demonstrated political will on issues of corruption, which was lacking in the previous administration. That has forced a gradual change of mind and attitude. We are waiting for the prosecutions of proven cases.
Smartly, PMB has harvested low-hanging fruits that were in place, but largely ignored by the previous administration. The improvements in electricity supply, return of the refineries, Ogoni cleanup and even the anti-corruption fight have all been work in progress. But it is political will that has accentuated the processes.
We are also thankful to PMB for a sober and noiseless Aso Rock. You need sobriety to think clearly and stay focused. So far, we see less of our ‘First Lady’ and we love the deliberate aloofness. A good First Lady is not a commodity to be bandied all over the place, but that is not to say she should not play some role.
APART from Kaduna State’s Nasir el Rufai, I can’t see serious movements anywhere else. Majority of APC states planned to fail, just like their PDP counterparts. They depended 100 percent on Abuja and now they can’t pay salaries. Those who mouthed progressivism yesterday have introduced school fees and stopped other welfare programmes for citizens.
This is their scorecard, but if they like, let them embrace propaganda. Very soon, it will be 200 days.