As the campaign season has set in Nigerians must be discerning; to critically examine the conduct and character of the People and Parties that seek to lead our great country as from May 29, 2023. However, It is becoming increasingly apparent that the All Progressives Congress ( APC) is neither ready for election nor structured to govern, though its members are desperate to retain power. Sadly, the undiscerning is oblivious of the usual media hypnotism that the APC engages to confuse and mesmerise the unwary.
I once had a cause to describe the APC as an NGO and not a political party. Even now that it has managed to have a contrivance called Party Executive it remains formless, unstructured, uncoordinated and unorganised. It’s not surprising, since as you may recall the coronation of the Chairman of the Party was a mere formalisation of the appointment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the lifewire, navigator and camp commandant of the APC.
As an indication of the unpreparedness of the APC to lead Nigeria, the Party in its nearly 10 years of existence has no Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is usually referred to as the soul or the conscience of the Party. Without a soul the party has remained rudderless, floundering, reactive and retrogressive. Before Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the flag bearer of the Party against the run of play, he had in his usual entitled fashion been addressed as the leader of the Party. However, neither he nor any other was good enough to lead the BOT, so the structure has remained sterilised.
With the acephalic existence the Party, it could only function under a Caretaker Committee. Again, no one was worthy to lead the intervening contraption but a sitting Governor, who ordinarily should be preoccupied with the affairs of his State. As things stand all the illegality committed in Buni’s era may be subjected to judicial interrogation. The shilly-shally continued until the Presidential Convention of Parties fell due. Again, the APC acted disjointedly asking to be granted extension of time by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC). While PDP had conducted its Party Convention and Presidential Election convention as scheduled, INEC had to baby- sit and spoon-feed APC before it could hold its Party and Presidential primaries conventions. How the Party dilly dallied before ending up with the contentious selection of a running mate for its Presidential Candidate is another lamentable story waiting to be told another day.
Another evidence of maturational lag manifested during the Presidential Primaries. The National Chairman of the Party, acting for himself or a proxy expressed preference for a candidate, while majority of APC Governors had their own choice. Though President Buhari, sometimes humoured to be the leader of the Party, did not make any pronouncement, it is unlikely that the Chairman acted alone without the approval of the man behind the mask. Till today it has been a ding-dong between the National Chairman of APC and the flag bearer of the Party. Where is the time to think or act on the good of Nigeria in all these?
Perhaps a more telling indicator of the gross unpreparedness of the APC for governance is in the constitution of its Campaign Council. In its unguided attempt to be at pace with the better organised and better structured Party like the PDP, the APC amateurs by-passed processes, ignored consultation, discarded vital inputs and ran to the press with a hurriedly hemmed list of Council members. As the joke goes, it is the matter they are still settling. The omission or commission arising from the composition has led to accusations and counter accusations of usurpation of power, disregard for processes, violation of power boundaries, engagement of the dead and even the borrowing of names from other parties to make up numbers or profiles. The inauguration of the APC Campaign Council has since been postponed indefinitely! If the kick off of campaigns was unified by INEC APC would still have held PDP and other parties down from commencing their campaign, but Gentlemen, as you can see PDP is already up and running.
Further to these indices, the Candidate of the APC appears not to be ready. You will recall that he was not available at the signing of the Peace Accord by Political Parties. He has also been rolling from one controversy to another. When it is not about his origin, it is about his age. When it is not about his academic qualification it is about his physical or physiological qualification. Something has to be invented every time to fill a gap. The latest invention was a recourse to an old fitness video to certify the health of a contender for the Presidency of Nigeria, who is on a trip to an undisclosed location for an undisclosed reason and for an undisclosed period. The Presidency of Nigeria is neither a cycling competition nor a track event. Indeed, if it’s an athletic programme then Tobi Amusan ‘lo kan’.
In Tinubu’s absence as a non-residential or off campus contestant, his running mate Senator Kashim Shettima has been conducting himself within his own pitiable capacity, and in the process committing all kinds of gaffes, including likening Tinubu’s ruthlessness to Abacha’s degree or rewriting the Nigerian Constitution to arrogate roles to himself in an unlikely government that is slipping from their fingers due to tardiness. It is for these gross demonstration of incompetence and lack of capacity that the APC has been rechristened ‘All Progressives Confusion’.
Contrary to these irredeemable tendencies of APC the PDP, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, His running mate, His Excellency Ifeanyi Okowa are moving ahead. The PDP has constituted its Campaign Council and the campaign will be on full steam at Uyo on October 10, 2022. Political disagreements are being resolved . The National Chairman and the Party’s flag bearers are not at loggerheads. There are file photos of Atiku’s fitness. He’s not sharing images of fitness, he’s demonstrating it by being available, moving around and with presence of mind. Atiku is talking about concrete plans and actions not seeing the Presidency as an award or hereditary title. He’s relating with all segments of the society and building hope for a united Nigeria. That is preparedness. That is capacity.
Atiku is ready!
PDP is ready!
God bless Nigeria!
Senator Dino Melaye,
PDP Presidential Campaign Management. Committee