It is no more news that the race for the national chairmanship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has since started. Many aspirants have indicated interest to lead the party to the next 2023 general elections.
Some of the aspirants that have so far indicated interest to vie for the exalted seat of the APC chairmanship include Senator Kashim Shettima, the immediate past governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Ali Modu Sherriff, Clement Ebri, Abdulaziz Yari, Alhaji Salihu Mustapha, just to mention a few.
All of the aspirants who have indicated interest to contest for the position are eminently qualified to pilot the affairs of the party following their past records.
However, some factors and sacrifices made by the immediate past governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, many years ago, tend to speak in his favour.
Indeed, the next two years leading to the next general election in 2023 are very crucial. The APC needs a reliable person who has been tested and trusted to lead the party at this point.
The party needs a person who has, over the years, demonstrated high level of loyalty and made huge sacrifices for the success of the APC since its formative years.
It is important to quickly remind the reader that the APC came into being as a result of merger of many political parties who came together in order to wrestle power from the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The political parties that came together to form the present day APC included the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Even though the APC has subsumed all other parties and become formidable, however, the contributions made by each of the parties is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians.
Hence, the time to critically look at what each party brought to the table leading to the merger and take a stand to ensure that all the parties are adequately rewarded. None of the parties that were part of the merger should be short-changed in any way for whatever reason.
It would be recalled that other parties that were part of the merger process have, at one point or the other, produced chairmen for the ruling APC with the exception of the CPC.
This fact was recently reiterated by the incumbent Governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Sule, in his home town, Gudi. The governor had appealed to the party leaders to consider Nasarawa state because it was the only state that provided the CPC a platform leading to the merger in 2013 that gave birth to the APC.
“Two of the legacy parties; ACN and ANPP, each produced two national chairmen of the APC. The only legacy party that is yet to produce the national chairman is the CPC.
“Once the CPC is allowed to produce the next chairman of the APC during its forthcoming national convention, it’s only fair to consider Nasarawa state,” Governor Sule stressed.
It is also worth noting that the North Central geo-political zone of the country has not been given the opportunity to provide the leader of the ruling APC since the party’s formation. This, therefore, provides an opportunity for the APC leadership to consider Nasarawa state.
It is also important to note that President Muhammadu Buhari, who was at the centre of the merger in order to provide a platform for him to win the 2015 general election, has Nasarawa state as the only state controlled by his party – the CPC and as providence would have it, Senator Tanko Al-Makura was the governor of the state.
Many stakeholders of the APC across the country believe that, the CPC and, indeed, the two-term governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Al-Makura, should be rewarded for his patience, resilience and immense contributions to the success of the APC over the years.
They also postulate that Senator Al-Makura has demonstrated, over the years, that he is a good ambassador of the party following the legacy projects he executed in Nasarawa state. This led him to be nick-named as the ‘Architect of modern Nasarawa state’.
While re-echoing the need to reward the CPC and Senator Al-Makura, one of his supporters, Professor Mohammed Mainoma, recently said: “The contributions of Tanko Al-Makura at the national sphere are commendable. It was in Nasarawa state that the real Buhari agenda was implemented. It was what made the nation to become more convinced to accept Buhari as a leader.
“The actual implementation of CPC agenda in Nasarawa has cleared the minds of skeptics as to the capacity of the new party to do magic.
“It was therefore easy after the merger for people to have confidence in APC. Indeed, Nasarawa became the laboratory for APC.”
Also baring his mind in a recent interview with journalists in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, the Nasarawa state APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, John Mamman, appealed to the party hierarchy that the slot of the National chairmanship of the APC be given to Nasarawa state.
The party stalwart insisted that, among the parties that gave birth to APC , it was only CPC that was yet to enjoy the national chairmanship position of the ruling APC .
“For justice and fairness, what goes around should come around. Nasarawa state was the only political collateral the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) had that qualified it for a roundtable talks with other strong opposition parties; and Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who lifted the flag of the party high was the political commodity for the bargain. It is therefore a precise disposition to say that the Distinguished Senator Al-Makura is best qualified for the national chairmanship position of the APC,” the party leader insisted.
It is, therefore, worth recalling that during his eight years reign in Nasarawa state as governor, Senator Al-Makura demonstrated high level integrity. He was transparent to the core.
Despite plots by distractors and enemies of progress, he remained focused and committed, and at the end of the day, he made Nasarawa state an envy of many.
The APC at this point needs such transparent, dedicated and focused person to reposition it for eventual victory in the 2023 general elections.
Baba writes from Lafia, Nasarawa state.