by Tola Sarumi
A question played about in my mind last week. I had been so relieved by the registration of the APC, so much so that I forgot to ask; what does APC have to offer us?
From the offset, the APC’s goal has been suspect, after failing to dislodge the PDP in 2011, the motley crew of ‘would be, has been and can’t accept they won’t be’ leaders fashioned another behemoth, one mighty enough to challenge ‘The largest party in Africa’ (as if the size of the party is some meritorious thing). That is to say, the stated purpose of the APC is to wrest power from the PDP. That is all.
I have had the repeat pleasure of listening to APC ‘chiefs’ on TV and reading all the spilled ink on how the party’s legitimisation bodes well for Nigeria’s young democracy. This is a lie. I hate to sound dramatic but let’s be honest, in whose interest is this APC? I mean, I do agree that you have to challenge the PDP with a party similar in size, as the Yoruba saying goes, one has to send heat to fight fire; but, the party’s genesis was not out of some popular demand for better. Power for power’s sake is no different from the status quo.
It has been posited that the APC is a vehicle by which General Buhari can finally realise his stubborn ambition of being the democratically elected President. The merits of his ambitions not withstanding; One man’s personality cult cannot be what the APC relies on to kick out the hapless Jonathan! The party leaders, the same old parade of paper tigers, have been doing the usual chest thumping in the papers, none of them have of course bothered to explain their plans to really make this party less about it disgruntled ‘election losers’ and more about the Nigerian people.
The APC is not entirely to blame though, we have the peculiar problem of being a people brazen about engaging in a myriad of illegalities, be it minor or major, but we are completely timid when it comes to political participation. How else does one explain the fact that we acquiesced to the deliberate stifling of our collective voice through the constitutional banning of independent candidates? Make no mistake; the politicos were deliberate in this act. To be elected to a political post, you cannot ride a genuinely popular wave to power; you have to be a card carrying member of the existing talking shops.
Also, ask this, why is it that the existing parties have all but shunned grass root fundraising? How then are these parties funded? These are of course rhetorical questions; most Nigerians can answer them in one breath. There was never the intention of serving the people or improving their lives, this is a cynical conclusion to reach but all evidence points to it being true. When you add the constitutional divestment of the people with the all powerful executive(s) and the need for the centre to be involved in almost all spontaneous expressions of the Nigerian people’s political and social desires, one cannot help but conclude, from the onset, this lot, the same old recycled leaders, set out to be apart from the people.
Back to the APC, Mallam El-Rufai, Lai Mohammed and other usual suspects have asked us to dance to their piper’s musical notes, the same old patriarchal tune of ‘we’ll look after you because we know what you want’. Whilst shutting out the people from the party’s core.
What is there really to celebrate though? The APC is following the same divisive and parochial template set by the PDP, the loathsome zoning doctrine, has presumably dictated that its flag bearer must ‘be from the ‘North(West)’, in the interest of national equity’, the party’s spokespeople and its main actors are all male and most have been on the political scene for as long as a sizeable number of the Nigerian population can remember! If one is to be particularly generous, one could say, Fashola’s ‘bill ‘em and tax ‘em’ Lagos State government has managed to show some tangible signs of progress in its 8 years but Fashola himself will be precluded from being considered for higher office, so his performance is ultimately irrelevant in the APC’s context.
Furthermore The ACN never bothered to register ‘normal/ regular working/middle class’ Nigerians, nor did the CPC or the ANPP. All signs point to the APC doing the same and as a result, it may have a life cycle of one election, should it fail to deliver the expected results because its foundations are on the sandy shores of political expediency.
The ground work is there to be done to ensure long term viability and that is to invite ordinary Nigerians to be financial and active participatory stakeholders in the party, but our political leaders are used to being emperors and the democratisation of the party would stymie their caprices, so here we are. APC/PDP/ABC/123, all na same.
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