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APC Congresses: A Postmortem, By Jerome-Mario Utomi

By News Express on 31/05/2018

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•Jerome-Mario Utomi
•Jerome-Mario Utomi

An elderly man in a sleepy but egalitarian community was diagnosed of ulcer and cancer-related complications which, of course, had excruciating pains as its companion. One fateful morning as was still on his sick-bed, the old man resolved not to continue, as the pains were becoming unbearable. Without delay, he sent for his children. 

On that day, at that time and in the place, the children gathered, but helplessly gazed at their father as they could do nothing to ameliorate his pains. Suddenly, in that milieu, the look on his face changed. He began to beam with smiles. Surprised at this turn of event the son, in excitement, screamed ‘Papa is getting better’. And the old man smiled the more before responding thus: I am not, but was just savouring the mirrored fight that will ensue when I must have gone. Bewildered at this response, the daughter pressed further: Daddy, so, you envisage disagreement among your children?

The old man again said no, I was only imagining how ulcer and cancer will be locked up in a fight of supremacy in order to ascertain the real hero that is responsible for his death so as to claim his carcass.

The above scenario depicts the rancorous All Progressives Congress (APC). The fight to hijack and dominate the soul of the party was fierce and total; unsettling tales of blood characterising the exercise across the country sickened sane minds.

Like the old man that enjoyed the ecstasy of the visual presentation and pictorial identification of what is to come, Nigerians were in the name of party congress physically presented with what analysts intelligently appropriated as the re-enactment of the scramble and partitioning of Africa by the then colonial overlords.

From Ekiti to Rivers State, Adamawa to Delta State, and the vast majority of the states of the federation shared but a common denominator: a party fractured into factions with each having parallel congresses.

Considering the calibre of politicians involved in this exercise that customarily supposed to be an intra-party affair, Nigerians are shell-shocked with the event that unfolded and such feeling has understandably necessitated the question: Is that a picture of what 2019 general election holds for the nation?

Indeed, the episode which was laced with mixed reactions has come and gone, but not without torrents of lessons for the party and the masses. The most radical being that the jostling was not about the people or an effort to end their cries, but was primarily orchestrated by politicians’ persistent resolve to consolidate on self-aggrandisement and ostentation associated with the political class. To gladiators at the congresses, it was not about service, but selfishness and ego.

To an appreciable extent, the congresses as organised has become a pragmatic pointer that nothing afterwards has changed politically but, apparently, nosedived from bad to worse, with critical minds wondering what APC has become after travelling a long windy road to power. This, in my view, explains why the party - and, of course, its government - has been emblazoned by critical minds as the telling-proof that success is a “lousy teacher that makes the winner feel that he cannot lose.”

What is even more curious to informed Nigerians is the party’s choice of this inglorious part in the face of several knocks it’s the APC-led Federal Government has recently received over not too impressive performance, with the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s 3,573-worded letter echoing the same position.

Aside this baffling dust raised by the congress, the APC - like other political parties in the past, when viewed from a wider spectrum – has, by this congress, demonstrated their penchant for ignoring political prophecies and non-belief in the saying “a stitch in time saves nine.” If not, the party should have hitherto designed preemptive strategies that would have nipped this unpalatable incident in the bud.

Regardless of what others may say, personal interest may have prepared the ground for this squabble but, definitely, it was not the only factor that propelled this widespread acrimony across states of the federation. From observation, it was evidently glaring that leadership challenge acted as the enabler of the rancour, as the party is currently loaded at its head with people that are more interested in leading than following; an arrangement that made the party an inverted pyramid and collapse inevitable.

This situation was further fuelled by the party’s leadership inabilities to expose this conflict that has fractured the party long before its congress. The challenge is mirrored in the mechanically manufactured amalgamation of what is today known as the All Progressives Congress, during the build-up to 2015 general election. If the party’s leadership had attempted having these cracks mended before now, maybe, it could have provided the party with gateway to a rancour-free congress. But allowing this “drama” come to the open has, as a consequence, brought untold difficulties to the image of the party. Given the slant of public opinion, part of this difficulty is that the APC, in the estimation of Nigerians, is now reputed as a party that is lacking in internal democracy, while their government is unable to accelerate economic growth, social progress, promote peace and stability or stop the generation of disadvantaged graduates, among others.

Very instructive also - as the intra-party brawl continues unabated - is that other political parties are patiently waiting to feed on whatever is left of the party via the provision of alternative platforms to the aggrieved members.

In the light of the above it will, in my view, be politically unwise for the party to ignore these red flags, as contrary to speculations, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may become the greatest beneficiary of this impasse.

In the same token, any attempt to view the recent alliance between Obasanjo’s coalition and the ADC as a paperweight move can only come at a heavy political price. And, of course, the people’s will should not be in any way under-rated as they have acquired the power that knowledge gives, in readiness for the 2019 general election.

Catalysing this fence-mending process, therefore, it’s imperative that leadership of the All Progressives Congress should urgently allay the fear of its supporters by finding a set of iron-willed political strategists within that can proffer durable solutions.  

•Jerome-Mario Utomi, of, writes via and can also be reached on 08032725574 (SMS)

Source News Express

Posted 31/05/2018 11:45:58 AM





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