The seemingly endless troubles of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will be over as soon as the right quality leadership is enthroned!
Remember that APC was on a roller coaster after its massive victory in the 2015 general election against the run of play. Against all expectations, the APC kicked out the boastful and corrupt Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after 16 years of inept leadership that pauperized Nigerians. It was with open arms that Nigerians embraced and welcomed the broom-wielding APC that swept away the PDP.
While still savoring its victory the APC leaders did the unthinkable. They decided to change a winning team. The team that won it the most coveted trophy in the land. They said they wanted its winning captain, Chief John Oyegun out. They had their way. Since his exit, things has fallen apart in APC and the centre can no longer hold.
As said, since Oyegun left, the APC has been going from one leadership disaster to another. It had gotten to the level where the party is finding it difficult to organize its national convention. We are now hearing of all manners of legal landmines put on the way of the forthcoming national convention. Not few members of the party are worried. The leader of the party and the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly assured that the March 26 national convention date is sacrosanct. Therefore, all things being equal the ruling All Progressives Congress will hold its long awaited national convention on March 26, 2022.
At the convention, one of the biggest decisions of the APC stakeholders will be the election of the national chairman of the party. The person who wins in this race will have his work cut out for him because he is coming to lead a badly fractured party that don’t seem to agree on anything. It is symptomatic of the enormity of job that the new national chairman has to handle.
The national chairmanship aspirants include; former deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha, former governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and senator representing Niger East senatorial district, Mohammed Sani-Musa. Others are former governors of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, Borno State, Kashim Shettima, Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, minister of special duties and inter-governmental affairs, George Akume, Sunny Moniedafe and Mohammed Saidu-Etsu.
I have been following some of the aspirants to know what they have to offer the APC and Nigeria. This is because as the ruling party, whatever affects APC affects Nigeria, and whoever emerges APC national chairman wields influence beyond the confines of the APC national secretariat. Such a person joins the small list of Nigerians who determine who gets what in the country.
In my view, one of the top contenders for this job is the former governor of Benue State, former senator and now minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs, George Akume. He has said that he would bring his experiences and competences to bear to the job by acting outside the box in tackling and solving of APC’s myriad problems. Akume has a democratic mien which is what is solely needed at APC’s Buhari House HQ!
Senator Akume has pledged that he would effectively engage and collaborate with all shades of stakeholders in order to achieve a sustainable reconciliation across the various levels of the party. He has promised to create space for youths and encourage them to participate meaningfully in the political arena both in elective offices as well as appointive offices at the federal, state and local government levels. He has also said he would vigorously encourage women to strive to occupy significant offices in political and governance spaces.
Another former governor in the race is the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. He said that he is on a mission to take the ruling APC beyond President Buhari’s two-term era. Al-Makura, one of the founding members of the APC, said he is poised to give the much-needed leadership that will further entrench the party in the hearts of Nigerians as the country’s preferred political party. He has left no one in doubt of his resolve to lead, refocus, and reinvigorate the party. Al-Makura said his ambition to lead the over 40 million-member strong party stems from his desire to serve and give the ruling party a sense of direction that will reshape and address the various lapses witnessed in the last six and a half years that conflicts with the vision of its founding fathers.
Also from Nasarawa State and a former governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has indicated interest to become the next national chairman of APC. The chairman of APC Reconciliation Committee had seen firsthand the enormous challenges facing the party in the course of going round the country to reconcile aggrieved party members. He has assured that he has the capacity and political experience to lead the APC, as its national chairman if given the mandate to do so. He said that he has all what it takes to give the party the desired leadership that would address its challenges and enhance its winning streak.
Senator Mohammed Sani Musa representing Niger East in his declaration for the position promised to reposition and re-engineer the ruling party if given the opportunity to lead after the APC National Convention. He promised to build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015. The senator further argued that those achievements were possible because of the President’s religious implementation of the manifesto and agenda of the party. He wants to lead the APC, to achieve the electoral and political outcomes necessary to ensure that the party consolidates and accelerates the country’s socio-economic transformation.
Former deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mallam Saliu Mustapha, has also declared intention to run for the party’s chairmanship position. Mustapha, who was also a former governorship candidate in Kwara State, said his leadership would provide the impetus the party will need to serve as a vehicle for mass development of the country. The chairmanship hopeful said he plans to bring his wealth of experience in party administration to bear by driving a disciplined, focused and inclusive party when elected.
Last but not the least is 36 years old aspirant from Niger State, Mohammed Saidu Etsu. The aide to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State promised to first rebrand the APC to instill party supremacy above individual members and as well build strong internal democracy with a reward system for distinguished party members.
As you may have observed, I narrowed my examination of the aspirants to the North Central zone where the party has zoned its chairmanship position. However, the choice of the next national chairman of APC is in the hands of the stakeholders which they would make on March 26. May the man with the most democratic disposition win!
That is exactly what the APC needs, a man who is strong enough in democratic ethos to begin and conclude the healing of the deep wounds of the APC!
Having enumerated the qualities and intentions of the various aspirants, this column casts its lot with Senator George Akume. Senator Akume in my view, will bring the healing, the reinvigorating and renewal that APC hugely needs at this time.