by Ifeoluwapo Adeniyi
There is no better time in Nigerian’s history to have a political party that will be a strong contender against the ruling party than now.
Over the years, the structure of the ruling party had in national elections, overwhelmed the efforts of other parties in having their candidates emerge as winners no matter the degree of effort exerted or the pedigree of candidates.
With the emergence of APC from Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progress Change (CPC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), all is now set to re-jig the political system in Nigeria. This merger of parties that had hitherto been geographical in their strength, will be of the best advantage to Nigeria.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic state that is wrestling to realize a nation-state with perennial challenges such as power problems, mismanagement of resources and ill administration. The succeeding democratic governments have not done enough to contend with these problems headlong. For a strategic country amidst other developing nations, it has been most unfortunate and disappointing that with our innumerable mineral deposits and oil wealth, we have not recorded commensurate development. There are manifold reasons for this.
For the PDP, it means, there is a newly created popular party. Popularity is a key point in elections. It is more than just having the name. It extends to the psyche of the electorate in knowing that the party is strong and it may be of utmost irrelevance to vote for the candidate of a weaker party.
This new party has also opened up competition and for Nigerians, there is that chance to have candidates that have nationalistic might from two different parties. With this competition, it behoves on the political parties to produce candidates that will stand the test of choice.
With an educated electorate as we saw in the last gubernatorial elections in Ondo State, voters are wise enough to check the precedents of candidates before voting. Therefore, the scramble for the people’s choice becomes of utmost importance to the parties right from the primaries and as it unfolds, the quality of candidates presented for elections will become a major thing in the survival of political parties.
Nigerians should therefore not rejoice yet, that a political party is here to chase away the PDP. If that is the notion, then we have got it all wrong. If that is what drives the new party too, it will be a shame. It should be paramount that this new party sets out political principles that will guide all members as well as have democratic principles that will spell a new turn in the way politics is practised in Nigeria.
The new party must be driven by ideologies that will determine what is wanted out of the Nigerian nation when power is secured, as the years run by us. These ideologies will determine the direction in which the country is going, and will set to motion programmes that are futuristic.
The new APC as it stands is like a new bride. Everyone is always enchanted by her freshness and expectant on what she’s willing to showcase. It must be guided with caution so that it will not hit the rocks with as much anticipation as with its emergence.
The greatest challenge the party will face is the selection process for who will eventually emerge as the presidential candidate. With prominent politicians joining the party by the day, Presidential-ambitious ones like Mohammed Buhari and Ibrahim Shekarau will want to be relevant under this same platform. The only reason these people did not win in the 2011 elections was because the platform was not as strong as that of the PDP.
Will personal ambition give way for party principles and ideology? In the coming months, the answer to this question will show what kind of a bride the APC is.
With an electoral umpire that seeks to deliver elections through the ballot and not the bullet, and wants to ensure that the electorate’s choice determines the leadership of the Nigerian ship, the political parties must beware. The ruling PDP must re-strategize and the new APC must embrace all that will make it desirable. And Nigerians? We become luckier as we are left with the final decision of who controls all that nature has bequeathed to us.