This piece was to be titled: “APC: 100 days of bickering” until the very last minute when it was changed to the one above. One has indeed been deeply troubled by the inability of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rise beyond the euphoria of snatching power from a ruling party; one is worried whether it is imbued with the mental strength to cut short the victory dance; whether it possesses the clarity of mind to determine that the electoral success was the easier part.
One worries silly about how to convince the new ruling party that the tough task ahead is to build this loose agglomeration (APC) into a formidable national structure that would not only outlive its illustrious founders, but achieve a reputable African persona like Mandela’s African National Congress, ANC.
Today, all attention is focused on President Muhammadu Buhari; everyone has done all manner of jiujitsu on the president’s activity and inactivity in the 100 days since his inauguration. We have busied ourselves deifying and vilifying one man in equal measure while neglecting the crux of the matter.
We have allowed the APC drift away and recede into nothingness. After installing a man in the Presidential Villa, the ruling party has lapsed into an enclave of bickerers remorselessly hankering after political spoils. The same energy and aplomb deployed in vanquishing the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been turned inwards.
This cannot be the change Nigerians voted for; APC as encapsulated today does not represent change and hope and a new beginning. Nothing indeed seems to have changed and no lessons seems to have been learnt from the pernicious past of the PDP. One would have expected the APC to have moved swiftly upon winning the general election, to commence the process of consolidation and building of a formidable party. One expected party structures to have been erected like fortresses to give support and fillip to the new government.
APC has so far been unable to focus on the big picture and the long term. Instead the party has been riveted by positions and spoils are pursued with a short-term determinism. It is as if the party is on a one-term spell. But very soon another election cycle will be with us. A party worth its name would begin its campaign from the first day in office with every of its action and activity.
Today, make no mistake about it, the state of the party is a reflection of its government. Since the party has remained unsettled, the governments both at the centre and states could hardly get off the ground 100 days after. Not only that the Federal Government could not form a government where one was needed urgently, the economy was forgotten entirely to the point that it began to slide into recession. Whither the party’s economic agenda or overriding political philosophy?
Apart from Kaduna State, most other APC states seemed transfixed in a certain inertia. Neither could they form government nor did the one-man rule in the states produce superior leadership. It has been 100 days of void and vacuity where urgent actions were required. None of the state governments seem to recognise that Nigeria’s economy is in dire straits and that we need new approaches urgently.
Not one governor has been challenged enough to pick up the gauntlet and work out a new, sustainable economic agenda for his state in the face of a shrinking federal allocation. While some of them cannot be bothered, many would simply not be able to think fresh alternatives. Now that they have clamoured for and got bailout funds, the next campaign would be to badger the Federal Government to relinquish more per centage of the national cake. With many states in crunch time and governors borrowing ravenously, one foresees a good number spending the next four years just bemoaning their fate and accomplishing nothing, while living out their old, wasteful habits.
It is in a time like this that a party that is deep wades in and offers direction and institutional leverages. If APC had mastered its environment and was well tracked, it would have for instance, organised series of economic summits on economic diversification and best approaches for each of its states.
But on the other hand, APC seems to have been completely consumed on a zero sum game of disbursing National Assembly and executive positions. The situation in the Senate, which has now zoomed off on a weird trajectory, is notable.
One had warned of this disingenuous outcome here earlier, but apparently we are a ‘solid state’ of sort. On had asked previously what the Senate president was worth? Is it worth the party? One thought that once a party has the presidency and thinks long term, every other position can be managed and expended within the short run.
Has anyone considered the long-term strategic outcome of the messy intra-party fight in the Senate? Now that a sitting Senate president has be docked and debased, what next? Either way, the party will bleed profusely; the bad blood may even linger till the next elections if we don’t achieve a more self-lacerating result before the next voting season. A party properly configured and in full flight would have worked around the chasm in the Senate.
It is amazing how many people are blind to the puerility hounding the Senate president and pursuing him to the dock, using a corrupted instrument of the old regime. Let him go answer the charges, seems to be the chorus; let us start from somewhere, some said! Great, but when one corrupt structure is placed on another corrupt one, what you get is a superstructure of corruption. The Code of Conduct Bureau as currently constituted cannot pretend to fight corruption.
Why are we harming ourselves? Why are we exhuming the old, sordid tricks perfected by PDP that we loathed for the past 16 years? We thought change meant to clear out the falling edifices and rebuild them with quality materials for constructing modern sustainable institutions? Why are we locking ourselves in this faustian charade? Why is APC engrossed in a bolekaja contest over a silly Senate seat when it has decades-wide canvass spread before it?
Alas, APC is still in the throes of its unimaginable electoral victory. It suffers the pangs of success, most regrettably.