Archive for February 2013

THE APC TO NIGERIA’S RESCUE?   3 comments

“The APC is the only promising antidote to the PDP’s venomous bite on Nigerians.” -Shuaibu Mohammed

So much has already been said and written about Nigeria’s new political kid on the block – the merger of progressive opposition parties called the All Progressives’ Congress (APC). By this piece, I am not intending to just add my voice to a myriad of intelligent and objective treatises, with different perspectives, naturally, that have followed the announcement of the formation of the APC. All I will attempt to do is to substantiate the argument that the APC is a major game-changer for Nigeria’s politics and democracy.

First and foremost, it must be understood that this is the very first time a major political party is being born with so much public attention accompanying it. The reasons are not farfetched. At the time the People’s Democratic Party came into being in 1999, very few Nigerians, if at all, had cable television. Even fewer had mobile phones. In fact, today’s social media landscape makes the founding of the APC an entirely different affair from that of the PDP. How relevant is this, you may ask? Well, because there was little mass following of the twists and turns that accompanied the PDP in its early years, it was easy for it to be soon hijacked by a small group of influential politicians and business moguls. The same cannot be said of the APC. Already, there are very positive indications about the great interest many a Nigerian youth, albeit the middle-class social media-inclined, have taken in the APC. It is to be expected that this class of young people will, in the short to medium terms, seek to be counted in the APC’s rank and file and therefore to participate actively in the APC. No APC leadership will undermine this mass, seeing the impact of social media amplification of its formation only.

Secondly, the APC is also a major game-changer for Nigeria’s politics because it clearly represents the first promising and politically-expedient alternative to the PDP. Without any bias, it is a fact that if you give the PDP another chance in power, at the centre, in 2015, Nigeria’s democracy and development will remain encumbered. On the other hand, if you elect the APC at the centre, you will inevitably rejig Nigeria’s body politic. With the great interest Nigerians, especially the youth, now have in national issues, the APC will be compelled to act right, if she must retain popular support whilst the PDP will be forced to undertake much-needed reform in a bid to win power the next time around.

“The emergence of the APC has sent shivers into the spines of PDP, as Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State admits it is a huge threat. If the PDP is jittery about the prospects and implications of the APC for our nation, shouldn’t Nigerians be taking APC seriously by giving it a try?” asks Lauretta Onochie, a political commentator.

I am certainly aware that there are many who fear the APC may turn out to be a copycat of the PDP. But those fears are largely unfounded. It must be recognised that even without the backing of federal power on their side, and with less than one-third of the governorships in the country, there are more performing governors in the opposition than in the PDP. For all their weaknesses, the likes of Rochas Okorocha, Kayode Fayemi, Adams Oshiomhole, Babatunde Fashola rank much higher than many, if not most, of their PDP counterparts.

Of course, I am not saying the APC consists of perfect men and women. Far from it! But the very idea behind its founding is not only noble but very commendable. It is up to all who seek change to harness the APC’s platform and make Nigeria so much better than it currently is. Anyone who is waiting for a bunch of perfectionists to fall from the sky will do well to wait for eternity. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush! Urban Dictionary, an online platform, explains that age-old adage saying, “It is better to have [and take] an advantage or opportunity that is certain than having one that is worth more but is not so certain.”

By the way, is it a coincidence that, for instance, in recent times, only an opposition member of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, both turned down the National Honours offered to him and publicly asked that their jumbo salaries be whittled down? Is it by chance that of all the states Information Minister, Labaran Maku, planned to visit in his so-called ‘Good Governance’ tour, only one led by the opposition (Edo) challenged him and rightly so, and objected to wasting public funds on that window-dressing and profligate initiative? I reckon that so much more is still to be done to make the opposition look entirely different but these are signposts that we have some people of conscience in the rank and file of the APC, as opposed to the majorly corrupt and unrepentant power-mongers in the PDP!

As publisher and politician, Dele Momodu, said in a February 10 interview, “It’s not in the character of conservative parties [like the PDP] to accommodate, tolerate, encourage and nurture good members,” except of course, political developments like the formation of a strong opposition party, forces them to do so, which I hope it eventually will. Like in the United States recently, the Republican Party was forced to acquiesce to immigration reform, something they vehemently opposed, even going into the last presidential elections, because of the political reality that Latino-Americans have not only become a major voting bloc but that they also contributed significantly to the victory of the rival Democratic Party.

In all, and like Momodu again said, “I firmly support the present APC merger. Nigeria is in desperate need of a rescue from the prodigal [PDP]… All believers in a better Nigeria must join hands and make [the APC] work.” Similarly, Lauretta Onochie said “Nigeria is the only home we have. We must be willing to take every risk, including embracing the APC, to recover her.”