Ahead of APC national convention

Four political parties in 2014 merged to become the Àll Progressives Congress (APC). These were the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Alhaji Atiku Abubakar-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

That merger led to the defeat of a sitting government, for the first time in Nigerian history, by an opposition party.

One year after its formation, APC won the presidential election of 2015 to end the 16 years of PDP hold on power.

Unfortunately, rather than consolidate on the strength that shot them to power, the APC became a house divided against itself when the merger spirit was jettisoned through the managerial style of the immediate past chairman alienating the other blocs in the party.

It is also strongly believed in some political circles that the internal misgivings and wrangling in the APC had been heightened by the hijack of the party machinery by a bloc with the intent on hoisting selfish interest above popular national agenda.

Before the end of this year, the APC will host its national convention to elect new officers to replace the caretaker executive led by the scting National Chairman and Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni.

The convention is crucial to the future of the party depending on how national offices will be appropriated to the geopolitical regions, particularly, the office of the national chairman.

As the APC prepares for the 2023 polls the party needs a unifier, a father figure and a man who has demonstrable political sagacity and experience of uniting people with disparate political tendencies subsumed under the flag of a political party.

All past chairmen of APC were from the South and because the president is from the North, now the chairmanship should righty go to the North.

And in the North it is only fair that the North Central which pulled the second highest votes in Mr. President’s election in 2019, a region known for its rich history of producing competent political leaders deserves the job.

The national convention of our great party, is around the corner and many people have indicated interest in becoming the chairman.

Given the circumstances we have found ourselves as a party, it is time we got a chairman who has shown character, competence and a large heart to accommodate the many tendencies in the party.

One name that has repeatedly cropped up in many quarters across the six geopolitical zones is the former Governor of Nasarawa state and senator, representing Lafia West in Nasarawa state, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.

Senator Al-Makura emerged the only governor of CPC in 2011. CPC pulled over 12 million votes, second only to PDP which won the presidency then.

As the only CPC governor, it is notable that he nurtured the party so much that his state proudly became a negotiating tool among others like the massive following President Muhammadu Buhari enjoyed particularly in the North for the merger that birthed APC in 2014.

The idea

underpinning the formation of APC was the partnership between the South-west and the North with the understanding that power will be rotated between them.

Now that the president from the North is finishing his two terms, it is fair and necessary that presidency goes to the South. Political systems are built and sustained through fairness, transparency, equity and justice.

Popularly referred to as the father of new Nasarawa state, the political juggernaut called Al-Makura has a towering pedigree in politics, business and development.

A passionate, strategic and amiable gentleman, Al-Makura cut his teeth of service since his student days at the Ahmadu Bello Universit,y Zaria, in the mid-70s where he was fully part of the students struggle as assistant decretary general of National Union of Nigeria Students (NUNS).

His student unionism was carefully nurtured through the years by young Al-Makura which became the foundation of his shining political journey.

He developed his leadership skills through various strategic positions he held at local, state and national levels. Among which were member of the 1978 Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1979 Constitution, national youth leader of the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN), secretary-general of the National Republican Convention in old Plateau state, national president Gwandara Development Association and the uncommon privilege of being the secretary-general of various clubs that he was member.

Having gathered these robust field experiences over the years, Al-Makura reckoned that his days in partisan politics were near.

Before he threw his cap into the ring, he created the “Al-Makura Movement”, a multi- tribal platform to engage and mobilise all the tribes in Nasarawa state as one family, a project that clearly underscores his philosophy that “if we must grow and achieve, we are better and stronger together.”

This was the vehicle and political master card that created the Al-Makura factor in politics which he easily leveraged on to defeat his predecessor and orphaned the PDP dynasty in Nasarawa state.

As governor (2011-2019), he sparked off an infrastructure revolution that changed the face of Nasarawa, once a rural state, through massive provision of facilities associated with city life in the key sectors of health, education, agriculture, human capital development and general administration.

A practical politician and great teacher, Al-Makura’s verified leadership, inclusive and consensus building sagacity and a seamless grassroots titan are the rich credentials and the critical healing balm that he will bring to the table to breathe healing in the APC, as national chairman.

The APC at this point desires healing and to get it back on track, it must apply collective bargaining in running the party. This is where Senator Al-Makura fits.

Dr. Oshinaga, former spokesperson for the Buhari Presidential Campaign Council, writes from Abuja.