By Temple Uwalaka
|Governors of the All Progressives Congress
In 1868, Charles Francis Adams Jr., astonished by the power of the transcontinental railways remarked, “Here is an enormous incalculable force, let loose suddenly upon mankind, exercising all sorts of influences, social, moral, and political; precipitating upon us novel problems, which demand immediate solution, banishing the old before the new is half matured to replace it. We rarely regard this new power otherwise than as a money getting and time-saving machine; not many of those who fondly believe they can control it ever stop to think of it as the most tremendous and far reaching engine of social change which has blessed or cursed mankind”.
The quotation above could plausibly be applied to the coming of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Nigeria. The point is that the coming of APC is like a disrupting technology or what some people call killer Applications (killer Apps) in the world of politics in Nigeria. It is changing the mood and tone of politics in Nigeria. The question is, can APC transform Nigeria to her desired abode?
Is APC really a radical new party with vision? Or just a merely novel party that will go the way of others? Going by local newspaper reports, so many Nigerians feel that this party will transform. Some say that it “will bring succour to Nigerians” while others opined that “APC will fix Nigeria”.
The presence of APC if successful will be a big lift for democracy in Nigeria as there will be viable opposition against the current sham in the name of opposition.
It will also ginger the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) not only to be democratic in itself but also to deliver on its election promises. In this regard, we share in the optimism of APC spin-doctors and their victims that Nigeria will be better with the party. But wait, there is a problem.
Irrespective of the great media attention, the fete and paean that accompanied the news of the amalgamation of the opposition parties in Nigeria, we feel that Nigerians should not be carried away by the party’s newness but look into the genuineness of the founders in respect to shared burden, intent, purpose and vision.
Nigerians can do this by looking at the main actors as the dramatis personae are rolled-out. The leaders of this group must not be PDP members that ran away on account of PDP’s inability to give them political positions. Their intent must be pure as their service should be honorary in nature.
Many a time, politicians swap parties or form new ones to meet their personal needs. They act not to correct a flaw in the system but because they failed to gain from the flaws.
Most Nigerian politicians behave like a reverend father who scolded a sister for committing fornication, not because he is unhappy that she broke one of the biblical Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy chapter 20, but because the said sister did not commit the fornication with him.
Here, the scold is not godly but personal. This is how our politicians behave. They chastise the incumbent not because he is doing badly, but because they are not given a share of the squandered money. This is one area that APC will try to disprove if it is truly radical and transformative in nature.
Furthermore, a transformational APC must come up with an ideology that will shape their vision and mission. The ideology can either be left or right. A peep into the list of the party’s key actors shows a combination of conservatives like Buhari and plain democrats like Fashola and Rochas Okorocha.
This pushes one to ask what differentiates People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from All Progressive Congress (APC)? Are they just different parties in name and not in ideology? In business terms, what is the distinctive competence of the new party over the dominant PDP? It is not enough for parties to come together and form a new one.
Did they think about the vision and mission cum ideologies of all the parties before they went into the amalgam? Just like in mergers and acquisition, such fit analysis is carried out before merging. This is very salient because it will tell Nigerians how prepared the new party is.
Should the party negate this fit analysis, we will not be surprised to see breakaway groups from the party soon. The break-up may come after the leadership selection, where those who longed to lead but were not selected will chart another course. They can destroy the party from the inside (betrayal) or move to PDP or even form another party that they will lead.
To put it succinctly, the journey being undertaken by Nigerians who join the new party bandwagon is not going to be entirely hitch-free. Not only from the actions of the new parties biggest opposition intent on maintaining the status quo, but also from within the party’s internal structure, and the Nigerian political atmosphere.
The party will face the problem of not only selecting its candidates for subsequent elections among a long list of favorites, but also tackle problems of party finance, party loyalties, and all related complications that will enable them formulate political and policy agendas, select candidates, conduct election campaigns, and monitoring the work of their elected representatives.
The opposition party that Nigerians need now must be different from PDP in both composition and vision. The party must have an incredible internal democracy, party loyalists who will remain in the party at all times to espouse the policies and ideals of the party. The party must have a political leaning (right or left, democrat or conservative etc); and the party, in a form of manifesto must reject graft and criminality. These will ennoble the party and put it in good stead to serve Nigerians and merit the appellate ‘opposition party’.
Thus far, APC has nothing that makes it a radically new party. Its vision cum ideology has not shown anything different. It is a duplication of PDP in their inability to create an identifiable vision.
So, will APC transform the Nigerian politics? With the evidence on ground, the party cannot transform politics in Nigeria. To have large membership should not be correlated to transforming the polity.
What APC has achieved is only to increase the number of the party. But a truly transformative party will provide the country with alternatives in regards to party vision, platform and ideology.
APC is a novel party but it will need to work harder to be transformational.
Uwalaka is with the Solbridge International School of Business, Woosong University, Daejeon, South Korea.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.