By Moses Uzziah, Enugu
In 2013, Nigerians woke up to news filtering into the air of a new political party. This news gladdened the hearts of many, as they were tired of the recycling of old politicians in the ruling party at the time. People were clearly disenchanted with the same old stories and promises that were coming out of those politicians nestling in the said Political party. The case then was more of foreplay without penetration which has left the citizenry in abject poverty and loss of confidence in the Government and polity associated with it.
The Mantra the APC came with is ‘Change’. This captivated the interest of the common man who desperately and hopefully thought he would get the ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ which was a Mantra the then ruling party was campaigning on.
A brief overview of the formative days of this empire ( APC) would explain why the ‘Change’ they had campaigned for seems elusive and thereby resulting in the disappointment of a people who had hoped so much in the promises that produced this party at the helm of affairs in the country.
In 2013, the PDP which was then the ruling party had internal issues that seemed hard to resolve. This gave birth to a faction that named itself, ‘The New PDP’ and that was the start of the gradual loss of their grip of power in Nigeria. While this was going on, the main opposition parties at the time were strategizing to take over power. This led to a coalition — the greatest ever seen in the Nigerian political sphere. Top Opposition political parties : The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP — a faction of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party came together to form a coalition party called the All Progressive Congress (APC).
This merger came as a stunner, and brought a new dimension to the upcoming General Election in 2015. The PDP, for possibly the first time in the return of Democracy to Nigeria, had to work vigorously to fight for the major Seats in the country. Little did they realize that this merger will result in the ousting of this political power which has been reigning over a decade from the seat of power.
In late 2013, some serving Governors, Distinguished Senators, and Honorable members of the House of Representatives decamped from the PDP to join the Newly Formed APC. This never seemed as a major win for the new party, but the result was to be later seen in the following election in 2015. For the first time in Nigeria’s Politics, a party successfully handed over to the opposition. Many Nigerians rejoiced, hoping that the desired Change is here. The over 15 million Voters (officially recorded) who voted the APC in felt elated to have been part of this history.
Five Years down the line after this merger, the All Progressive Congress (APC) seems to be losing the popularity it came to power with. Many people were not restricting their thoughts to mere feelings but were quick to speak out on the disappointment they feel that the new party is not living up to expectations. While this is worrying, there is an even bigger problem which seems to be eluding the party, its leadership were already breeding disgruntled members at the top, with its policies which to a large extent does not consider others but the very few that are the key decision makers. The Populace at large are not unaffected as their choices in issues such as the candidates to represent the party at the polls, are not considered.
To make matters worse, there are the ‘o yes’ members who view the party and everything the leadership does as the best. This set of people view the person at the helm as a demi-god who is infallible and never to be questioned. This has in turn birthed a Leadership that to a large extent think they are getting it right because they have a set of ‘political vuvuzelas’ that hail their every move. The result showed in the 2019 General elections as prior to that year, were mass defection of those in Leadership positions. While it seemed that the Ruling party had a stronghold at the top, some States started falling apart which resulted in the removal of the party from the eligible parties to be voted for. Some case studies were Rivers and Zamfara State.
The party made strong a Lagos State General Elections that would have rather been easier because of the decision of they that hold power. The political god-fatherism which is and has always been the major problem in Nigerian Politics played a huge role in the Lagos State Saga. While the Leadership of APC helped in ensuring the did whatever they wanted in Lagos, they never knew the damage that was being done to their popularity. The popularity of the ruling power started waning gradually. Could this be the reason the Edo state Governor who came into power through the rank and files of the APC could muster the courage to have a face-off with the National Chairman of the party? This is yet to be known. However, one thing is certain — the APC is losing its house gradually in an event that looks like the one in 2013 that ousted the then Ruling party from the seat of power.
Is it that this people fail to learn from previous mistakes or they are being deceived into believing that they are infallible?
The Edo State incident is still one unfolding and showing to all very clearly that there is a big problem in the house. How the leadership wish to address this issue is yet to be known, but the future does not look particularly bright as this problem might bring the whole dirty linen to full public view.
While the National Chairman is still battling to keep his seat in the Party, will he mend fences and fix an already broken relationship at the top? Can they come together to have a good party policy that will encapsulate all the members or will they continue with the differing ideologies that they had in the different parties merged together to form APC?
Just as the Mike Asuquo Cartoon Work showed, APC was a party that came in united like the bunch of broom on the party logo. But today it is far from that — a broom scattered in pieces in the hands of its members. The saying ‘United we Stand’ also points to the other extreme ‘Divided we Fall’. Whether this party will go the way of the now opposition party remains unknown but the pointers are glaring. The opposition is not blind either, as they will want to capitalize on any opportunity to win back their lost Glory.
Moses Uzziah is a political analyst. He is based in Enugu with his family.