When Will APC Stop Politics and Resume Governance?, By Uche Igwe

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Those who voted APC into power are waiting almost endlessly for the dividends of democracy. We want clean water, affordable health care, affordable power supply, security of our neighbourhood, a competitive and predictable exchange rate regime, policy consistency and others. We need an enabling environment where small and medium scale industries thrive better in a diversified economy where the undue reliance on crude oil will reduce. We do not want excuses anymore. It is time to consider developing along our regional comparative advantages. APC must stop playing politics with everything and face up to the challenge of governing.

The tumultuous excitement that accompanied the victory of Nigeria’s ruling party the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) against the rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is gradually fading away. It is now more than six months after that landmark victory, and very little has happened in the arena of governance. Rather the ruling party is still engrossed in several forms of intra-party rancour and unending politics. Some say that they are preparing to give us their best. From the list of ministerial nominees, any observer will find it difficult to accept such excuses. Many of the faces on the list are people that we already know. Some of them are quite good, but they are certainly not Nigeria’s best at this time. Not with a person like Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was a minister more than thirty years ago.

One lesson from the list is that it does not justify the long waiting that the president subjected Nigerians to. You may as well call it a bi-partisan cabinet because there are some of the politicians on that list who were members of the opposition PDP until recently. If that is the case now, you wonder what all that drama on the Senate floor was all about. Must APC play politics with everything? When will they assert themselves as a party in power? As a ruling party, the APC should not be taken aback at some of the brouhaha that accompanied a ‘mere’ screening exercise. No one was astonished at the conduct of the opposition party. They simply played their role. What the ruling party is expected to do is to rein them in, one way or the other, through requisite trade-offs and compromises to remain in control. That is pragmatic politics.

Imagine that the crisis in the Senate still remains unresolved till date, as the Senate President continues to face prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. I will not comment on the alleged drama that might have forced the Appeal Court to postpone their ruling indefinitely. I will not be found making a comment that may be considered subjudice. Those who wish to tinker with the rule of law should go ahead, but they must be reminded that they are setting a precedence that will come with consequences. However, those of us who respect the rule of law, the sanctity of the Constitution, and impartiality of the war against corruption, we insist that the law should take its course on Saraki’s matter without interferences. However, when you now hear midway that the ruling party is offering conditions upon which the ongoing trial should be discontinued, you will only shudder in amazement and imagine momentarily if the whole anti-corruption effort is only but a ruse. For me that is a very dangerous sign that we must try to avoid as a nation.

A major part of the mileage that the federal government has gathered, especially internationally, is because it has committed openly to fighting corruption. If such commitment cannot be implemented transparently without selectivity and partiality, then we are finished. The world is watching us keenly. If you monitor the information coming out about Saraki’s trial, you cannot but get the impression that someone somewhere wants to raise the anti-corruption sledge hammer only when it is politically convenient. Such mixed signals poison any positive public perception about the party and government.

Even as we await the final confirmation of the ministerial nominees, the policy thrust of this government remains vague. We need at least a road map across all sectors. October is ending already. Let us say that the ministerial nominees are all cleared by the end of the month and assigned portfolios early in November. It means that it will take like a month for them to settle in. For a party that is new in government, one might not expect any tangible activity until next year. If this is the pace of development that we expect from this government, then there is every reason to get worried.

There is another development that has impacted negatively on the image of APC. It is the hangover of the just concluded APC gubernatorial primaries in Bayelsa State. The exchanges between gubernatorial flagbearer, the Chief Timipre Sylva, and the National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, leaves bad taste in the mouth of every discerning observer. After the initial attempt to conduct the primaries ended in crisis, there were allegations of bribery levelled publicly against the Chairman and the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by Mr. Sylva. There is a probability that the party might have resolved such issues internally but many supporters who heard about the allegation are not aware. For such heavy allegations, the party should have gone the extra mile to correct any possible wrong impression. One would have expected that the party should have constituted something like a fact-finding team to investigate such allegations. Anyone found guilty should have been made to face some form of punishment. If, on the contrary, the allegation is discovered to be false, the party should have also made Mr. Sylva to either issue a public apology or face some disciplinary action. That is how a party that values integrity should conduct her affairs especially when they will be facing many elections shortly.

Even as we await the final confirmation of the ministerial nominees, the policy thrust of this government remains vague. We need at least a road map across all sectors. October is ending already. Let us say that the ministerial nominees are all cleared by the end of the month and assigned portfolios early in November. It means that it will take like a month for them to settle in. For a party that is new in government, one might not expect any tangible activity until next year. If this is the pace of development that we expect from this government, then there is every reason to get worried.

Those who voted APC into power are waiting almost endlessly for the dividends of democracy. We want clean water, affordable health care, affordable power supply, security of our neighbourhood, a competitive and predictable exchange rate regime, policy consistency and others. We need an enabling environment where small and medium scale industries thrive better in a diversified economy where the undue reliance on crude oil will reduce. We do not want excuses anymore. It is time to consider developing along our regional comparative advantages. APC must stop playing politics with everything and face up to the challenge of governing. We do not need a federal government of unending nepotism nor do we need governors who will abandon their home states to spend most of their time in Abuja jostling for unnecessary relevance and thirsting for unconstitutional powers. APC must not allow their perfect become the enemy of their good.

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