Since the creation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), one expectation of the amalgamation of these politicians is that of their disintegration. Each and every follower of the Nigerian political scene, knew that it is a matter of how, but not when. Everyone knows that the time will come when the cards that transformed themselves into APC will either scatter or be scattered by a defeat at a political contest. Thus, the just concluded primary elections conducted by all political parties in the country are the beginning of the end of APC!
The characters that formed APC are everything but politicians. They are typical African and Nigerian politicians in particular. At the heart of Nigerian politicians is winning elections by any means, even if it is killing. In a nutshell, to Nigerian politicians, the end justifies the means. And the words ethics, morality, and integrity do not exist in their dictionary. In 2014/2015 when the APC was formed, the only factor gathering these politicians together was the sole aim of wresting power from Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the then President of Nigeria. Dislodging the ruling PDP at the time was not of concern to them. Why? Because most of the folks in the merger that birthed APC were the same characters as the PDP itself. Thus, no need to replace PDP (as a party), but to replace the people that are an obstacle to their personal aspirations and looting the treasury, or the national bounty!
Recent events in the APC, and of particular interest is the aftermath of the party’s primary elections into various positions both at national and state levels, are instructive. As expected for a long time, this primary election will be the litmus test of the party. The sitting president is not on the ballot, and his nonchalant attitude to everything that is not him, will be the undertaker of the party to its grave.
One major misunderstanding by President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB, is the politics in its totality. PMB seems to be unaware of how Sir Churchill, the war time British prime minister, describes politics. Churchill said politics is “governance by deception”! Thus, if you are not ready to deceive, one should not even think of politicking, period. This is the basic fact that PMB is always missing. In politics, at some times, you must agree with questionable characters no matter what, especially if the issue is going to benefit society. Because a person’s character is under question mark, it does not mean he is always a “crook”. No, at times you must agree with him/her. And there are times when people of integrity must be disagreed with, particularly when they put the entire society at risk. This is one area that APC and PMB ride on Nigeria and Nigerians.
The current exodus of the party’s bigwigs is a clear indication that all is not well and will never be well for a while with the party. A ruling party like APC should never allow its bigwigs to be exiting its door just because of election differences. Most of these problems should not have arisen in the first place, but, as said earlier, due to the nonchalant attitude of the caliber of the people steering the party, they let it happen. Those sailing the APC ship are only concerned of who becomes the presidential candidate, forgetting that, with a disgruntled APC, it is a herculean task for the party to form a national government.
No individual will either pretend or deny that this exodus from the party is not a serious threat to the party in the 2023 general elections. In fact, it was the presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, BAT, and the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, that raised the alarm in the open market. According to the national chairman, ““You know it is not just in APC that this thing is happening. Because we are the ruling party, our problems are more prominent in the public glare.
“No responsible leader would not worry about losing one member; not to talk of two or three.” But the question here is, what steps do Adamu and the APC took in addressing these exodus?
According to media reports, Senators Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), (Kebbi state losing two Senators out of three!), Halliru Jika (Bauchi), Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina – PMB’s Senatorial constituency), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi) Bauchi losing two senators too, and Francis Alimikhena (Edo) already defected from APC to their new sanctuaries, some to PDP, NNPP, or LP. The biggest of all is the PMB’s nephew and his constituency’s House of Representatives member, Fatuhu Muhammad, still undecided where to head to. But for sure abandoning APC as he put it “Yes, I am in serious talks with PDP, and I am in serious talks with NNPP. They are all looking for me…” looking for PMB’s nephew, surely a big catch for any political party, and a good weapon of propaganda to show the unpopularity of a sitting president!
All these defections could easily be managed should PMB and the APC echelon do the needful. If PMB sat with all these aggrieved members and listened to their grievances, it would be easier to address than witnessing this worrisome situation. This is despite the fact that most of these aggrieved members are having one issue or the other with their governors, particularly on controlling the state chapter of the party. No serious party and party leader would fold its arms and watch losing two sitting senators to the opposition party, as in the case of Kebbi and Bauchi states.
What the APC is currently witnessing is the same fate that befell the then Nigerian ruling party, the largest political party in Africa, the PDP, in 2014/2015. We are all witnesses, some of us with nostalgia on how those defections dwarfed PDP in the Nigerian political landscape during the 2015 general elections. Thus, one can convincingly argue that it is nemesis catching up with APC, as all the promised changes and progressive agenda were meant for too few elite rather than the society in general.
It is now clear that the APC and Nigerians need to provide an answer to questions some politicians and political scientists have been asking – can the APC survive post PMB presidency? Having this answer is critical to the future of APC as a political party, particularly a party that came to being as a result of divergent political parties’ merger. Not only that, these merged parties to some extent maintained their primary identity within the APC. We still hear this is from the CPC, or AC, or PDP blocks that formed the APC.
With the current defections trend in the APC, no doubt that the party could hardly survive post PMB presidency. The main reason is, if PMB, as popular and strong as he is in the party and sitting president, cannot stop all these defections, or even manage the crisis that gave room to the defections in the first place, then one wonders how PMB could unify the party while out of office as President of the Federal Republic.
There is still time for both APC and PMB to reinvigorate the party to avoid many catastrophes particularly when out of office from May 2023. If PMB continues to fold his arms and deep into slumber, and let some party men and women (as we see during the recent presidential primaries of the party, where “a fake anointed candidate was announced in his name) take charge of the party, then he has to pay for it dearly. And history will judge him adequately. One will just hope for him not to be treated as OBJ was by the PDP after he left office before he retired from partisan politics. Hope PMB and his handlers will wake up to the reality of managing a political party in a complex society like Nigeria, and to save the APC from disintegration in a post PMB Nigeria.
Abdullahi writes from Texas, United States via [email protected]