Charity they say begins at home. For a party like the APC that claims they are all about bringing change and ending the agony of the beleaguered masses, problem is; there is nothing in their programme/ideology, antecedents in the states they control and character of the individuals who make-up the party to suggest such change. Nigeria has clearly identifiable existential problems of corruption, tribalism and mediocrity being the triple fundamentals which are responsible for the nation’s decadence and ultimate failure. Resolving these endemic issues would take a clear and audacious programme of action under a dedicated and forthright leadership.
All around us, the consequence of corruption, tribalism and mediocrity is all too evident. Corruption has inhibited development, tribalism has prevented nation building, widened ethnic divisions, entrenched hatred and enabled marginalisation/injustice, while mediocrity has given us visionless and undignified leaders of questionable character, lacking in principles and incapable of seeing beyond their nose. Under these circumstances, a party that claims to represent change would be expected at a minimum to populate their party with honest, credible and patriotic individuals. They would also be expected to develop and communicate a practical programme of action that provides workable benchmarked solutions to the nation’s hydra headed problems, particularly corruption and tribalism. Lastly, they should be showing examples of how they intend to change the larger society, ridding it of corruption, poverty et all from the states they currently govern.
There is hardly any Nigerian who is not aghast at the nation’s rapacious leadership and misrule, this should ordinarily make it easier for a platform that genuinely represents change to galvanise the masses against the ruling party and score an electoral victory. But alas, for all the noise about change the APC has done just the opposite of what is expected from a real agent of change. Beyond criticising President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling party, the APC has never managed to produce a practical, comprehensive and inspiring manifesto that proffers solutions that breaks radically from the status quo. The states under their control have yet to demonstrate any collective ideology, curb corruption nor show any exceptionalism in good governance as a prototype for the larger society. Indeed some APC states have furthered tribalism and targeted the poor through the deportation of poor non-natives from Lagos state and the public rebuke of a wretched widow who was asked to “go and die” by Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo state just because her poverty consigned her to trading on the streets.
In the national assembly, APC members have never proposed any progressive laws to combat corruption, poverty, unemployment and others as a strategy to distinguish themselves. The party itself is increasingly populated by questionable characters. No effort has been made to recruit credible, talented and patriotic Nigerians from the Diaspora and within into their fold. Much of those who make-up the party are the same crooks, bigots and self serving opportunists who are invested in ruining the nation. Ironically, much of the principle characters in APC crossed over from PDP, the same party the APC has repeatedly derided and blamed for the nation’s woes. Just recently five governors from the PDP decamped to APC. Whatever credibility the APC had left was finally destroyed by the presence of opportunistic PDP governors and some of the arrowheads of Nigeria’s fault lines of corruption and tribalism who after having failed in imposing their ethnocentric agenda on their party bolted to the APC. The fact that the APC which pretends to stand for change is willing to recruit predominantly from the same group of misrulers that have held the nation hostage tells much of their true intent.
The APC’s lack of support for the proposed sovereign national conference which should be a necessary opportunity for peaceful dialogue amongst Nigeria’s ethnic groups in nation that has been haunted since her birthing by ethno-religious conflicts and a civil war portends grave danger for the nation. It indicates crass insensitivity to the existential issues plaguing the nation and a determination to maintain a status quo that has brought the nation so much ill. For a party that pretends to stand for change, this is the ultimate paradox, and for the likes of Bola Tinubu who built his political career on the premise of campaigning for a sovereign national conference, his volte face on the issue, since his romance with APC has only further unmasked his rabid opportunism. Change is always a product of sacrifice which can never be given by those who put their self interest above the common good. The APC has proven so far to be driven by the personal ambitions of those who seek power for self serving purposes.
The closer you scrutinise APC, the more you see a pantheon of crooks, bigots and self serving opportunists. The gravest mistake the APC has yet made is allowing seasoned bigots like Femi Fani-Kayode, infamous for abuse and bigotry, Rabiu Kwankwanso, an unrepentant bigoted zealot and other such despicable characters into their fold. No party or forum worth its salt and genuinely desiring change would let such characters who represent the very fault lines the nation is seeking to escape into their midst. Ultimately, the greatest undoing of APC will be the company they choose to keep. Whilst the Nigerian masses genuinely seek change, I doubt if they will choose such change from an opportunistic crowd that offers nothing but a continuation of the status quo. Replacing a thief with a thief is just not an option. The nation needs a genuine vehicle of change with nation builders and selfless leaders; the APC is not that vehicle!
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu