In the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Federal Government endeavour to salvage Nigeria from the ruins of the past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governments; they should not allow themselves to be distracted by the irrational behaviour of defectors and nomadic politicians. The general election is about seven months away. APC has formidable national structure and enough time to quell any rebellion. The political foes struck at the wrong time and against the wrong political enemy, the Progressive.
APC ought to have allowed four years acclimatisation period for the acclaimed defectors and nomadic politicians to settle in the party, as true Progressive, before given them tickets to contest election for their various seats. The actual members of the parties that merged to form APC on 6th February 2013 and seasonal Progressive therein only ought to have been given tickets to contest election in 2015. APC would have introduced a policy of defect, resign your seat and contest a by-election under your new political party. Although this is already in the 1999 Constitution, yet many of our elected disregard the provision and related Court judgement with impunity. With these many would be defectors would not risk their seats by defecting at will.
Upon been elected in 2015, President Buhari perhaps intoxicated by the power of office, took his eyes off the ball. He forgot that many of his military era political foes are still well, alive and loose generally by proxies. That talking to each other does not heal old political wounds but merely put it in abeyance and to be resurrected at a given opportunity. But Buhari ought to have neutralised his perceived or imagine political foes by running a national and inclusive Government. He ought to have appointed enough substantive cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and filled other necessary political positions early in 2015. All of the posts should have been filled with members of APC and seasonal Progressive. Instead Buhari presumably intentionally or unintentionally alienated many APC members and seasonal Progressive. He forgot that he was in a democratic setting of teamwork.
President Buhari naïvely played into the hands of the rebels, defectors and nomadic politicians by acquiescing to many National Assembly demands and assenting to many of their passed bills of law. Many of the bills of law were either against the constitution, flawed or were unnecessary. For example, there were no need enacting laws in areas that were already covered by constitution or existing statutory laws. All of the crimes committed in the country today are already covered by existing laws. If the Judges cannot apply and interpret the constitution or existing laws, they need to be reminded of their weakness. You cannot amend the constitution directly or indirectly in piecemeal nor by Acts of Parliament.
What is at stake now is the future of Nigeria. The challenge is Good versus Evil in the country. The issue is not President Buhari in what he has done or what he failed to do. What the defectors and nomadic politicians are doing are affront to Nigeria, Nigerians, APC and civilisation. They cannot continue to jump from one political party to another at will only in search for their own personal gains at the expense of the country. Freedom does not mean abuse and irresponsibility. Should Nigerians close their eyes, open their hands and embrace the PDP even in coalition with other fringe political parties as Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) after having personally pocketed public fund over sixteen years from 1999 – 2015?
Nigerian electorate are 70% Progressive and 30% Conservative orientated. Over the sixteen years from 1999 – 2015, it was the PDP (Conservative) the minority in the country who suppressed the majority who are Progressive. They prevented the Progressive as individuals from exercising their vote freely. The PDP rigged elections, illegally won four general elections and formed four illegitimate Governments. The PDP Governments went further to fragment the Progressive into frivolous political parties instead of making the country a two-party State with allowance for independent candidates.
Looking at what have transpired among the PDP, defectors and nomadic politicians before, Nigerian electorate must ask; are these the people anyone wants to do business with let alone allow to run the country again? For example, over the years many members of the National Assembly past and present, who are predominantly PDP and nomadic politicians, took or borrowed huge amount of money from various banks. They did not pay back the money. They asked Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to write off the debts. As a result, most of the banks became insolvent and were liquidated. In collusion with some of their State Governors they organise bank armed robberies and other crimes in their States. At the National Assembly, they collect huge amount of money every year in the guise of constituency project fund and pocket the money. They pad their budgets and collect the money for their personal uses. They infiltrate the budgets of the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) and pad their budgets for dubious expenditure and collect the money for their personal uses.
APC has no need to cosset or be on its kneels to any individual defectors or nomadic politicians whatever their self-acclaimed personal popularity or followers. There are no bulk votes in the country. APC has already got formidable structure at each Ward, Constituency, Local Government, State Government and National secretariat in the country. These are what will be strengthened and deployed to reach out to individual voters in each electoral bloc. As the strong structures are there, APC now need to use the strength to galvanise the 70% Progressive in the country to wake up to what are at stake for the 2019 general election; the future of Nigeria, Good versus Evil and the evil the PDP and associates portend for the country.
In as much as APC may want to have as many members as possible but every voter in the country cannot nor expected to be a member of a political party. It is the strong structure therein at the National and State levels that should be deployed to energise the local secretariats to by campaign neutralise any purported self-acclaimed individual that purport to command bulk vote for any other party at the local area. Many of today’s electorate are better educated and politically enlightened. They can no longer just follow any self-acclaimed important or influential individual like zombie. But they need to be convinced in well organised, strategic, intensive, strong and effective campaign at their domains.
More importantly for APC today is the election of Adam Oshiomhole as its national chairman. He is expected to be the Adam Oshiomhole who was the President of Nigeria Labour Congress. Adam Oshiomhole must ensure a functioning and effective National Executive body. The absence of a strong and effective central organ for almost three years created the vacuum for today rebellion in the party. It did not happen overnight. Adam Oshiomhole’s office demands high standard. Therefore, he need to conform with a set of standards such as: Adam Oshiomhole;
· must observe his limitations and should not shoot above his remits.
· should know he is the chairman of the party and of the members in their capacity as members of the party, and
not as individuals.
· has to be neutral and must not take sides among members.
· should know that there are strong individuals in the party let alone in the country. He can only do business with these people, allow them to co-operate with him and unite APC more if he behave in civilised manners and execute within
the remit of his office.
· should know within the Progressive fold there are no errand boys hence the teamwork that engender the
cohesiveness of the Progressive.
To arrest the current discontent among some of the members of the party and those who have formed their factions within the party; Adam Oshiomhole should collect information about their grievances and ask them to sheathe their swords. He should issue directives to the effect that those that were elected as the executive body of a secretariat at a convention or a meeting that was properly conveyed and a quorum was formed become the bona fide executive body. Those that lost out and now dissatisfied should jointly send their complaint to the Complaint Body at the next hierarchy of secretariats either at the LG, State or National who shall look into the matter within a determinable fix period. A discontented group shall only take a matter to the Court of law as a matter of last resort if the highest Complaint Body (National Secretariat) failed to resolve the matter. That from a determinable date the formation of factional body is banned in the party. Those who indulge in faction automatically vacate the party on their own accord. APC must put its foot down on members’ inordinate dissent and rebellion.
It is not an exaggeration to state that among the current 68 political parties in the country there is none that matched or can match APC, with or without the nomadic politicians. The PDP, Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ)’s fringe third force, Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) or in their coalition as CUPP cannot electorally trouble APC at any general election, especially Presidential election. The current defection from APC has not the same electoral large-scale disadvantage to the party like what happened to PDP before and in 2015. PDP and its associates cannot change their wrong past for enough momentum for electoral advantage. The original Progressive, whom OBJ and his then PDP dreaded and continue to do so today, are now the core members of APC. With this core Progressive who know their political onions, the party cannot lose any general election, especially Presidential election. Such loss will only occur if the party by omission or commission nominates its 2019 Presidential candidate from the far North (North-West and North-East geo-political zones).
You do not need to tell anyone today that any Presidential candidate of any political party from the far North is not nationally electable at these times. The incumbency of Government or of a Presidency cannot defy this assertion for any political party and the far North.
APC has no automatic ticket policy for its incumbent President. This also means, the party hierarchy cannot manipulate or imply to say the President has right of first refusal on 2019 Presidential ticket and unilaterally give it to him. To avoid any protracted litigation and being disqualified from the Presidential election, APC must throw the nomination of its 2019 Presidential candidacy open to all its aspirants from different parts of the country. The nomination convention delegates will look at the aspirants and nominate the best whom they perceived majority of electorate in the country will vote for on the main issues which the country yearn, which only APC Government can deliver but with the right candidate from the right part of the country.
The PDP, even in any possible change of name, even as a leopard cannot change its spots, even in coalition wither other fringe political parties as CUPP, is not again electable in Nigeria. The electorate are not at all ready to absolve the PDP people, nor with whom they may form coalition, from their wrong past, elect their Presidential candidate or there is any election for the party to as usual rig to gain power illegitimately again in the country. APC must drum the message home to the people that the evils the PDP and its associates portend are the issues and problems which APC is rooting out and want to continue to root out in order to give Nigeria a future. The defectors and nomadic politicians are of no use to anybody anywhere they move. Their political nomadism is only for their personal gains. It is their choice either to renounce political party nomadism and stay in APC as full and undiluted Progressive or go and be in perpetual opposition political party elsewhere.
We all know the main issues on ground upon which majority of the electorate in the country are willing to vote. Some of these issues are about restructuring of the country generally in the following areas;
· balancing National Assembly membership between North 50% and South 50%;
· scrapping the wasteful thirty-six State Government areas, replace them by ten Regional Government areas with
five in the North and five in the South;
· adjusting Local Government areas in each Region;
· reduction of political parties to two with permission for independent candidates;
· re-instatement of the pre-eighty good and high standard of education;
· decentralisation of Police Force into several Independent Police Commands preferably making each Senatorial
District an Independent Police Command;
· banishment of Islamic religion from official laws, finance and affairs of the country;
· to ensure the optimal supply of electricity and landline telephone;
· to revisit PDP privatisations, the wasted and missing fund therein;
· to continue recovery of looted fund of the country;
· stop National Assembly members’ constituency project fund which they convert to their personal uses,
demand account of such fund they collected in the past twenty years and stop their padding of budgets for their
· devise a new form of federal revenue allocation for the three federating units;
· use of private firm of auditors to audit MDA, National and Regional Assemblies, Educational institutions and
· establishment of adequate system of control in every sector of society to maintain increase security and stop
further looting of public fund;
· restoration of the Naira as a convertible currency at the foreign exchanges. We do not know the huge amount of money we lose every day in foreign exchange/reserve in a non-convertible Naira. E.g. in the UK daily foreign exchange
trading is an average of about $2.6tr. Can you imagine the revenue from this and why they are not short of foreign exchange/reserve nor restrict its uses?
The far North of the country is averse to these and other forms of restructuring and moving the country forward. Therefore, none of its potential Presidential candidate is willing to go against the will of their people. The far North is too small a part of the country. It cannot, therefore, continue to hold the larger part of the country back from advancing. In this 2019 Presidential election in particular you do not need anyone to tell you that the larger part of the country is not going to vote for any candidate of any political party from the far North. It is, therefore, futile for any political party to nominate its Presidential candidate from the area.
Looking at where we are coming from and where we are heading, the far North is not ready to rule Nigeria again until 2043 – 2051. Whatever the desperation of their Presidential aspirants in the race for 2019 Presidency, the facts are; none of them is yet ready to govern the country at these times until when the country has been restructured and their scheduled turn in 2043 – 2051. By this time, they,
- would have learned to follow the rule of laws;
- are in tune with the tenet of democratic governance;
- eschewed the dilution of Government and official matters with Islamic Religion;
- are able to see Nigeria beyond their North especially when they are in power; etc.
The President that will salvage the country at these times and establish the desired restructuring and formidable foundation which nobody or section of the country will again be able to subvert or misuse shall come from the South-South or South-East geo-political zone; only under APC Federal Government.
Alfred Aisedionlen – London, UK.