APC: Continuity or change?


APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun











All Progressives Party (APC) was formed as a progressive political party.

But happenings since the inauguration of the party on May 29, 2015 suggest that there may not be a departure from what Nigerians experienced in the hands of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which ruled for 16 years.

We are most likely going to move out of the frying pan into the fire. And this is not what Nigerians bargained for in the just concluded 2015 general elections.

PDP was voted out at the centre for obvious reasons. Nigerians did not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC because they want the status quo. Nigerians are beginning to doubt whether APC stands for continuity or change.

Buhari and the APC made history on March 28, 2015 when they defeated an incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. But they will fritter away the goodwill on which Nigerians elected them if care is not taken.

APC is the first political party since the return of democracy in 1999 to unseat a sitting president whose party, the PDP, has boasted of ruling Nigeria for 60 years. APC is a party with a President whose character, personality and strength of character are fascinating and from whom Nigerians think they can experience a better life.

The Nigerian people cannot be blamed. For many years, they have been betrayed by governments. Past administrations have failed in bringing a new lease of life for a people that deserve a better and bright future.

Every Nigerian would seem to agree with this assertion even though we may disagree on other issues. Our reasons for disagreement are not too far-fetched. Recent elections have shown that Nigerians are divided along ethnic lines. But it is quite disheartening that happenings within the APC and the conduct of its elected members at the National Assembly make one wonder whether the agenda of the party is continuity or change.

Activities of the government under the PDP after the 1993, 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections were the same old story. Their economic plan and public policies were all the same. This is to be expected from a conservative party like the PDP.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s economic policies were the worst despite having a Harvard and MIT trained economist as his minister of Finance. This was the reason Nigerians ended his tenure as President.

The APC seems to have a better economic plan and agenda different from that of the PDP if we are to go by the antecedents of some of the star members. One of them is Babatunde Raji Fashola, former governor of Lagos State.

Fashola exemplified this in the way he managed the affairs of Lagos State. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti State, also stood out with his developmental programmes in the state before his unfortunate defeat by a man who many believe ran his governorship campaign not on anything edifying but based on stomach infrastructure.

Governor Ayodele Fayose was once governor of Ekiti State who left unceremoniously and whose unflattering deeds were later exposed to the public. In spite of his antecedents and poor public record, the people of Ekiti State decided to trade Fayemi for Fayose. They blame Fayemi for his elitist programmes and policies.

A great decision was made when Nigerians decided to try another political party. Having discovered that the PDP was not offering something new and measurable especially during the last years of their 16 years rule, Nigerians took the bull by the horn by voting for change. The tide of change also swept across states that were traditionally regarded as PDP states. Nigerians only expressed their dissatisfaction with the poor level of governance under the PDP government.

Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges and everyone looks up to Buhari and his political party to fix these problems. The new APC government need to live up to the people’s expectations and have a radical departure from what obtained under the PDP. APC should not be tempted to adopt the policies and style of the PDP. Doing things the PDP way is definitely not an option for members of the APC at all levels of government. APC needs to vigorously pursue its change agenda without any hindrance.

What played out at the inauguration of the Eighth National Assembly on June 9, 2015 shows that true change may not have come after all despite Buhari’s belief and avowal in his inaugural speech.

The coup d’état in the Senate, the embarrassing emergence of a PDP senator as Deputy Senate President and the dissenting and rancorous voices of some disgruntled members of the National Assembly, all show what the course of events would be in the next four years of our democratic experiment—that indeed the beautiful ones may not after all have been born. I pray I will be proven wrong!

Nigeria is truly evolving besides the APC saddled with the responsibility of bringing about the desired change. It is up to APC to prove to Nigerians that what they voted for during the 2015 general elections is not continuity, but change. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Aregbeshola is the author of Nigerian Political Parties and Politicians: Winding Road from Country to Nation.

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