A hausa proverb speaks about the grace in walking and looking over your shoulders. One sees how far he has come, and appreciates his journey, and looks forward to where he is headed. APC as a party, at this crucial time, needs to reflect and remind itself where it came from, and on what foundation it was built. What was the mission of the founding fathers? Was it just to topple the PDP, or was it carved out of a need to build a vehicle that would deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians, as opposed to delivering to a few, which the PDP did so marvelously well? APC campaigned about change, and building a country to its rightful height and might, in Africa, and around the globe. Change in itself is hardly a one day affair, and like charity, it begins at home. Change in its finest form, comes from within, and the agents of change, have to start with themselves first, before anyone or anything they hope to effect. Changing the way of life of 200 million black Africans, is not an 8 years job. In my reckoning, 8 years is just a starter pack period. Continuity is key, if we are to ever appreciate what is being built.
The change wagon needs to be circumspect, as it ushers in a new leadership, which is to superintend over the party’s primaries, as it heads into the 2023 elections. APC was successful in 2015 not purely on its own merit, but because of the fact that the party in power crumbled, with its key figures — governors and the like, dumping the PDP, breaking the fulcrum upon which it stood — and standing with the opposition, to dismantle the leadership that had held sway for 16 years. This the APC must hold close to its chest, its brain, and its soul. The founding pillars, and the powerful stakeholders, especially the governors, must see eye to eye, as the most vital decisions are taken; especially regarding the future of the party. Just one governor, or one founding father, losing it, and swaying the other way; can be consequential, and can lead to a larger disintegration of the party.
Already, there are insinuations that members of the CECPC, (caretaker/ extra-ordinary convention planning committee) are angling for Presidential or Vice Presidential tickets, and this is hindering the progress of hitherto planned activities of the party. The governors must work together as a coherent unit, despite the differences they may have, over their choice of Presidential candidates. Some may have ambitions, to run as Presidential or Vice Presidential candidates, and this can certainly ‘pitch’ them into camps. States that do not have governors, have ministers or ranking members of the National Assembly to fill those voids in leadership as the convention draws nearer. Decision making should be approached in the most pragmatic manner, with criteria or indices fixed, which can be considered with points, if it boils down to it. Voting too can be adopted, when it comes to the most gritty, or nerve-tensing matters.
It seems a settled matter that the Northern block will assume party leadership, while the Southern block will vie for the Presidential ticket. This could be a done deal by now. However, the unfortunate verbiage and garbage, coming from the Tinubu vs Osinbajo camps is discouraging and confusing, and if not handled cautiously, can spiral into a ‘bringing down the house’ commotion. There was no PMB without Tinubu, neither was there a VP Osinbajo without Tinubu. There also wouldn’t have been an APC without a GMB, and ofcourse all the political workhorses, negotiators and even traitors. So APC is a collage of so many colors, that beautifully made a fine work of art, that outshined and defeated an incumbent, who was fighting with all his might. So the in-fighting must be checked rigorously and contained amicably. Party chairmen at the state level have been sworn in and so far, it has been peaceful. Dissenting voices must be listened to, and appeased one way or the other. There should be no gloating.
Coming from different legacy parties, the APC was sold to us, and we believed in it. We loved it like it was our own blood. We fought for it religiously. We were all universally connected as kith and kin through party affiliations. We spent our own meagre resources, used our vehicles, our accommodations, our computers, and our phones. Our families were all in it, and it was one big family event. We invested in something hopeful. Something that belonged to us all. Something we could claim and have a stake in. We cannot watch it fail and flop. Our leaders owe it to us, to make it work again, and beat the PDP convincingly, and send them farther away from power. The leadership of our party owe it to us, to put their personal interests, and individual differences aside, and put party and country first. No one should corner the party and make it his/ her cash cow. It belongs to us all and without us all, it is nothing. Our leadership must arrive at what is workable, viable and sellable, reckoning with our realities, our sentivities, and economic conditions; while avoiding previous gaping mistakes. Our party leadership owes us nothing short of victory in 2023, no matter whose ox is gored.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.