A worrisome start to a change promised

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun (left) and the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun (left) and the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

THE manner in which the All Progressives Congress (APC), the newly-elected party into government has  conducted its affairs in the past week or so gives cause to worry about both its preparedness and its capacity to  deliver on the party’s central electoral  promise of ‘change’  to, assumedly, better  politics and better governance.

Besides that, contrary to general expectations, its government cannot be said to have ‘hit the ground running’, the election of the principal officers of the National Assembly where the APC holds a strong  majority is so untidy as to cast doubt on the cohesion of the party.

Really, the party is carrying about as if it sought to gain power first and then plan what to do with it; as if it was as unprepared for its own electoral success as the PDP was unprepared for its defeat.

The APC is a merger of four former parties plus a breakaway group of the PDP. It is reasonable to expect that being a product of such a merger the APC has distilled from its constituent parts a set of core ideological values and principles that firmly guide its members, its politics, its policies, its methods.

This newspaper once observed that the parties lacked clear-cut ideological blueprint, that they lacked internal democracy, and that the history of the country has no proven evidence of a successful merger at the national level. But the APC appeared ready to break the jinx and provide a stable, credible alternative – in content and in style of governance – to the PDP with which just about every patriotic Nigerian was fed up. 

So far from the look of things, the APC may be a mere admixture of groups of politicians who, like  soldiers-of-fortune, migrate to where the fortune is, persons driven by blind ambition who will sacrifice  anything to achieve narrow personal goals. This is not the ‘change’ Nigerians voted for and this is not the ‘change’ they will tolerate.

Let it be recalled that Nigerians voted out a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was more of a ruling than a governing political party, that was insensitive to the yearnings of the electorate, and that was, while it lasted, both incompetent, yet arrogant to the point of being disdainful.

The APC promised a change from all that were wrong with the PDP, including, it needs be noted, internal democracy. APC promised the party more disciplined, more focused and more responsive to the urgent issues that confront Nigeria and Nigerians. That the APC called itself ‘progressive’ was an important attraction to discerning Nigerians who understand the ordinary and the political hue.

For, all over the world, progressive parties worth the label promote political, economic and social reforms in favour of an open government and an increasingly equitable society; in sum, they are acutely responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.

In respect of the election of the National Assembly leadership which was preceded by a disputed mock election within the party, the way the APC legislators became divided, most were absent elsewhere while a few were present where crucial election was holding, and the  way the party was outsmarted by a determined dissenting group indicate a severe lack of  cohesion within the membership of the APC. 

This lack of cohesion is a serious weakness of the party and it is no exaggeration to suggest that it is a threat to the survival of the party in the form it won the election. It is axiomatic that a house divided against itself is doomed to fall. 

The question now:  is this an APC leadership or a PDP leadership in the legislature? With the APC suffering dissension so soon in the day, it is most reasonable to ask: if this is truly a progressive party, where are the progressives while the National Assembly incident played out?  And if as the saying goes, morning shows the day, then are these signs of the ‘change’ promised? No one except the APC can answer these questions and the party must do so very quickly. 

Nigerians have suffered enough under a largely intrigue-filled, undisciplined and rapacious government; they cannot wait to see a change for the better as promised by the APC. The palpable impatience in the air is, under the circumstance, understandable.

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to work with the leadership of the National Assembly although he wished it had emerged with the full backing of the party. Very well. But the point must be made: that the new Senate President is on slippery ground who attained his position by the grace of the opposition. Neither he nor his party’s government can function comfortably to deliver on its manifesto no matter how nebulously phrased.

Decades ago, Buhari as military head of state cited indiscipline as ‘the main problem of Nigeria’. Now, as an elected president, he has found himself burdened with the responsibility to instill discipline into his own political party.  And, it is a pity indeed that this is an issue that takes his attention and precious time so early in his administration. But if the party platform on which his presidency was voted into power is to live up to its promise of change, this former general must take charge now and reform his party.

A great and effective party is built on merit, truly democratic principles and responsiveness to public concerns. The APC still has the chance to become one.  But it  must move quickly to put its house in order, get its acts together, and get on with the job of fixing Nigeria as generally promised in its 10-point constitution, its manifesto and the president’s inaugural address to the nation.

However, it cannot deliver unless party discipline, party loyalty, and party cohesion are made sacrosanct and are imbibed by its members – high and low.  Nigerians await the change for the better that they were promised and which they voted for. Absolutely no excuses will be acceptable for politics-as-usual, or for outright non-

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5 Comments
  • Anthony Akinola

    A very good editorial.

  • Doublee Dee

    A journey of a thousand miles they say starts with a single step. The legs to take the first step seem to be fractured currently in POP.

  • Ebaah Odibo

    I like this editorial. Genuinely Guardian. Truly Nigerian. You see we can articulate our challenges. We can even foresee them. Quote: “This newspaper once observed that the parties lacked clear-cut
    ideological blueprint, that they lacked internal democracy and that the
    history of the country has no proven evidence of a successful merger at
    the national level”. Good point and demonstrable insight!. Then the Nigerian flex. Quote again ” But the APC appeared ready to break the jinx and
    provide a stable, credible alternative – in content and in style of
    governance”. My question: From where? Can you give what you do not have? That is the Nigerian problem; we rely on some sort of ‘divine intervention’ to clear away the problems we have cleverly articulated. The purveyors of ‘divine intervention’ who hobnob with the same politicians are smiling to the bank everyday with our tithes and offerings. They have sedated us with ‘opiumic’ word of God. But that is another story

    Reality: Please be informed: APC IS PDP with new color and logo. Same content. They have played Nigerians the biggest abracadabra since June 12, 1993. Same corruption, ineptitude, brazen actions and lies. (Lai Mohammed!). APC is no more prepared for genuine development than I am to spend honeymoon on the moon! Please our beloved Guardian, don’t join them and betray us. You have been doing well. Keep watch for us.One day the Almighty will deliver us from their hands (or is it their broom and umbrella?)

  • agbobu

    FELLOW NIGERIANS WHY ARE WE SO NAIVE AND SO DOCILE? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE VERY VIBRANT PRESS OF DAYS GONE BY? WHY DO WE FOLD OUR ARMS AND ALLOW THESE THIEVES AND GANGSTERS REAP US UP AND TOY WITH OUR DESTINY? WHY IS IT THAT WE ALLOW THESE RASCALS TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, LIKE THE KILLING OF TARIYE OMUNGUYE GEORGE OF NEITTI, BY POISIONING DURING ONE OF THE SO CALLED RECONCILIATION OF ACCOUNTS MEETING?, WE MAY SAY IT HAS NOT HAPPENED TO ME WHY BOTHER? IF THE MAJORITY GOOD ONES KEEP QUITE AND SAY NOTHING WHEN THE FEW EVIL ONES PERPETUATE THEIR EVIL DEEDS, THEN THE VERY FEW EVIL ONES WILL CONTINUE WITH THEIR EVIL DEEDS. WE MUST ALL NOW STAND UP VERY TALL, LOOK AT OURSELVES FRONTALLY, EYE BALL TO EYE BALL AND BEGIN TO ASK QUESTIONS AND DEMAND VERY IMMEDIATE ANSWERS. IF WE THINK THAT SOME ONE ELSE FROM OUTSIDE WILL DO THIS FOR US, THEN WE ARE ONLY DELUDING OURSELVES. THESE WERE THE SOME PERSONS WHO PROMISED US A FORENSIC AUDIT OF THE NNPC, GAVE US PRICE WATER HOUSE AS THE AUDITOR, BUT DELIBERATELY REFUSED TO GIVE PRICE WATER HOUSE ALL THE ACCOUNTS, THE BANK STATEMENTS, ALL THE FIGURES, ALL THE FACTS ETC. WE MUST ALL SAY VERY LOUDLY, VERY FIRSTLY, VERY FIRMLY AND VERY COMPLETELY THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND THAT ALL OFFENDERS NO MATTER, WHO THEY ARE OR HOW HIGHLY PLACED THEY ARE MUST FACE JUSTICE AND IF FOUND GUILTY, AFTER VERY DILIGENT, FAIR AND VERIFIABLE LEGAL PROCESSES, MUST BE VERY SEVERELY PUNISHED. THIS WILL SERVE AS A DETERRENT FOR FUTURE OFFICE HOLDERS

  • when you have a conglomerate of dissenting personage cross-carpeting to another mintly-formed party, are their nauseating behaviours divested before the new merger?…the answer is axiomatic…
    bad elements would not stop at anything to have the precedence of personal ambition eclipsing the presumed cohesion of the party…
    with this early unravelling, the future seems bleak and a repeat of the hitherto actions for which the PDP were ousted might be repeated…lets wait patiently and see how it unfurls

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