Barring any last minute eventualities, about 4000 delegates from across the country will gather at the Eagles Square in the nation’s capital, Abuja for the much anticipated National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC national convention has been long expected and in the works for about two years, but bogged down by intrigues only the leadership of the party can explain. The convention, meant to elect new National officials for the party, suffered several postponements, making many believe the party’s Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, may have reasons for the postponements other than what party members and Nigerians know.
It took the interplay of certain forces, threats of rebellion and the last minute intervention by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Saturday (tomorrow) March 26, 2022 date to finally stand.
With the date settled, the issue of consensus candidates have taken the front burner, with President Buharii and governors elected on the platform of the party doing round the clock meetings and negotiations to arrive at what they call ‘unity list’, another way to describe ‘consensus candidates’, which to all men of good reasoning capacity, is simply IMPOSITION!
Consensus, in a lay man’s understanding, is for individuals involved in a contest to willingly step down for one of them as the agreed person to carry the day without subjecting themselves into an impending contest. The stepping down however must be willingly done, without any form of manipulation, coercion or arms twisting! It must also not be influenced by any extraneous external factors.
If the above is correct, then what is currently transpiring and may happen at the Eagles Square on Saturday, may not be consensus but imposition.
To start with, President Buhari has made it known that his preferred candidate for the position of National Chairman is a former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, who majority of the state governors are said to be working for because of the President’s preference. This, no doubt smacks of imposition.
Confirming Buhari’s position on Adamu, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, who is a member of the APC caretaker committee, said in an interview with Arise Television on Thursday that the President had asked the 23 APC governors to ensure that Adamu emerges the chairman at Saturday’s convention.
“At the moment, we are looking at Senator Abdullahi Adamu based on the suggestion by the President for whatever reasons. But I believe that this is a democratic system. If the other contestants do not key in or buy this idea, it is their legitimate right to contest, but we hope that this matter will be resolved within hours or the next few days,” Bello stated.
It is also on record that aspirants for the office of national chairman were asked to meet and agree to consensus amongst themselves, a belated move, only meant to rubber stamp the President’s choice.
As expected, this situation is not going down well with some of the aspirants and major stakeholders in the party, with many insisting on trying their luck on Saturday by going ahead to contest.
For a deputy national chairmanship aspirant, Sunny Moniedafe, he would not be stepping down, adding that everything would be settled on the field of contest.
Moniedafe said: “I have spent over N300m over the last 20 months. I visited Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Borno states several times. It is not just about buying form. How can the APC stand before the world and canvass votes from Christians when all top positions for the North are being given to Muslims? Muslim chairman, Muslim deputy national chairman (North), Muslim organising secretary and I hear the vice-chairman, North-East zone, will go to a Muslim too.
“I’m not playing religious politics, but Nigeria is a diverse country. Let us take all these into consideration. I don’t agree with what they are doing and I hope they have a rethink. I am an Urhobo man but from the North.”
Speaking on the consensus chairmanship candidate, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had a different view, insisting that he was not aware of Buhari’s endorsement of any candidate.
According to Fayemi, Buhari had the right to anoint a candidate, but added that there was no guarantee that his candidate would win.
He said: “As to your question on whether the President has anointed anyone, I have no knowledge of that, but the President is well within his rights to have a preferred candidate. But in our party, let him come and campaign for that candidate at the Eagle’s Square on Saturday.
“If his candidate wins, fine; if his candidate loses, well, he is going to have to live with that.”
One of the questions begging for answer is, if the leadership of the APC, as presently constituted know that there will be something like consensus, why throw the contest open in the first place? Why collect a whooping N20 million from people you know would be asked to step-down or people you know will not be given a chance for fair contest?
Without sounding harsh, the current situation is more fraudulent than any other thing, and offcourse heartless, as aspirants for different offices did not just pay for the form but have for months been spending money for mobilisation amongst other things.
Again, one is tempted to ask, what’s really progressive about APC? Where is the party’s claim to progressive politics and where are its democratic credentials if election into party offices are this marred with controversies and undemocratic actions?
The truth must be told, if political parties in the country fail to adopt internal democracy, especially the party in power, there is no much hope for the survival of democracy in the country!