by Osho Samuel
If the Blue Whale moves from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, its location change does not change its behavior. A mere change of location within the same habitat never puts an end to the manifestation of behaviors. The angry political stalwarts of Nigeria have decided to change their denizen from the Pacific Ocean (PDP) to the Atlantic Ocean (APC). This apparent move will not change the attitude of Nigerian politicians overnight.
The newest Nigerian political party, All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed on February 6, 2013 as a result of alliance by Nigeria’s four biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). APC got her formal approval from the nation’s electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on July 31, 2013 to become a political party. Hailed as the weapon of mass destruction that is set to pull down the 15 year-old stronghold of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the truth is that it will be a Herculean task to pull that off.
Since its approval, the new whale in the ocean of Nigerian politics has no doubt given its opposition tough time and serious trouble ranging from criticisms and vociferous reactions. Political observers have since then enjoyed the unending drama between the two sides as they both garner enough weapons for their arsenal ahead of the 2015 tussle for power.
In the fight for supremacy and power, UNITY is key. The unity amongst the members of the ruling PDP was tampered with and it led to the creation of the New PDP which subsequently led to the defection five governors to APC. As the Elders of PDP tries to amend the shattered remains of their umbrella, APC needs to know that its own unity has been dealt a huge blow. The influx of the new PDP governors will no doubt affect the unity of APC and hence defeat their main goal of conquering PDP. Can APC survive the political earthquakes and tremor? It is just a matter of time before they bring out their knives from the sheaths and turn on each other. This will first take effect starting from the gubernatorial elections where the new PDP governors will battle the original APC gubernatorial candidates for the top spot. The norm is for the new PDP governor to wield his power of incumbency to subvert the antics of other imposing figures in the party during the primaries. If this is not properly handled, it is capable of splitting the party at the state level as the crack becomes a conspicuous divide in the wall of unity.
In a country like Nigeria which has been plagued with notable series of conflicts, religion and ethnicity are very sensitive issues; flaming fires that can invoke the ire of the gods. The daunting task ahead of the All Progressives Congress requires balance and stability; a party balanced both in religion and ethnicity.
Taking a look at religion; about 80% of APC are Muslims and the controls are manned majorly by the Muslims which shows APC as a party bereft of religious stability. At the moment, APC prides to be in charge of 16 states out of the 36 states of Nigeria; a significant number of 13 are Muslims with just three Christians; Rochas Okorochas (Imo State), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers State) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State). The answer given by former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to the claim made by PDP that APC is an Islamic party is lame and dumb which lacks a convincing power. The answer could not change the minds of listeners to think otherwise as its dearth of facts and figures are all too obvious. This is power play and the right thing for an opponent to do is to aim for the weakness of his fighter in the boxing ring. The loophole might just be the Islamic dominance of APC which is pretty obvious when juxtaposed with PDP.
The All Progressives Congress is a merger of ANPP, ACN, ANPP and APGA but properly handled and controlled by the ACN chieftains. ACN is regarded as a natural successor to the progressive politics more closely associated with Action Group (AG) and UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the First and Second Republics respectively. The fact still remains that Awolowo despite his polemical attributes failed to topple his opponents. He might have tried but he failed and his self-acclaimed political heirs (Olu Falae and Nuhu Ribadu) have always towed in his direction. The APC presidential flagbearer might just end up losing his broomsticks in the ocean of Nigerian politics.
APC dominates the South West through her ‘ACN’ governors but what happens to the North. Northerners see APC as a hut built on the tenets of Awolowo and not on the principles of Buhari. The Easterners do not have a contrary view from the ones of the Northerners as they believe that APC was not established on the ideals of APGA founding father, Ojukwu. This was made evident in the manner in which APC gubernatorial candidate, Chris Ngige at the Anambra elections lost to Willie Obiano of APGA. The loss was a disgraceful one considering the fact that he was once governor of the state while he was still in PDP before decamping to ACN. ACN did well to get him the Anambra Central Senatorial position in 2011 but APC could not pull the stunts that PDP did for him back then in 2003. The Lagos State deportation saga initiated by an APC governor, Babatunde Fashola also affected the portion of blessings the APC should have gotten from the Easterners. The intimidating positions of former ACN stalwarts; Bisi Akande (National Chairman) and Bola Tinubu says it all.
A silent but sensitive department of Nigerian Politics is zoning. The debate about zoning in the country and PDP has been recently downplayed probably by the fake unity exuded by APC. The fact remains that the Northerners are hungry and thirsty for power. A Westerner, Olusegun Obasanjo ruled for eight years, and it was the turn of the Northerners through their faithful Katsina son, Umaru YarAdua. It was expected that YarAdua will rule for eight years, it was however unfortunate that he could only stay in office for three years before the painful hands of death took him from Aso Rock. It was now time for a Southerner/Easterner, Jonathan to do just five years and exit the stage for the Northerners who have been peeping surreptitiously at the microphone in his hands. Will Jonathan step down? The Easterners believe that only a bastard will do that. Will APC dominated by Westerners put up a Northerner and deny their faithful children from the West a taste of power? From clearly calculated permutations, the possible Presidential flag bearers for APC are; Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Musa Kwankaso, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. Will the ethno-sentimental Westerners and Easterners be willing to cast their votes for these Northerners ahead of Goodluck Jonathan? Will the race to pick a presidential candidate not result in the splitting of APC? Will the ACN chieftains fold their hands and watch the ticket go to the hand of a Northerner?
The success of the All Progressives Congress relies on its efforts to fight weaknesses and remain united despite walking on the tempestuous corridors of Nigerian politics. The year 2015 is fast approaching and will put to test all the works of APC but before then will APC not separate the mound of broomsticks into pieces.