APC act before the bell tolls
Things are not shaping up for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, since its ward, local government and state congresses. The combustion in the party was already steaming when there were suggestions in some quarters for tenure elongation for the National Working Committee, NWC.
It was only a matter of time before the internal wrangling and struggle for the soul of the APC was going to come to fore and the fault lines exposed in an amalgamation of strange ideological bedfellows.
The APC may have thought ahead of the likely danger the party might encounter in conducting congresses and the challenges of addressing the aftermath, considering the limited time between now and the 2019 general election.
Sensing the danger that was bound to happen, proponents for tenure elongation for the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC said it was to save the party the avoidable headache of resolving anticipated disputes after the congresses to change the national leadership.
Though the plan was shot down by an opposition led by the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the fear of those for tenure extension have been proved right.
From Lagos to Rivers, Kaduna to Imo, Kwara to Enugu and so many other states, the APC is faced with the unpalatable scenario of parallel congresses and two executives so much so that a member of the party, Senator Dino Melaye, was compelled to congratulate the 72 party executives, mockingly though.
The danger of a divided APC is not just in the danger it poses to itself but to the democratic space and the nation as a whole.
For one, it will engender violence as have been witnessed in places like Rivers state where the hallowed premises of the High Court became a ground for brigands and hooligans of the party to wage war.
Also, in Lagos, people were brutalized and two deaths reported. Ditto for Ekiti, Enugu, Ondo and Kaduna states.
If a party that is in control of federal power cannot guaranteed the sanctity of one man, one vote in its fold, what prospects exist for it to guarantee free, fair and credible poll when arrayed against the opposition?
It has become imperative and urgent for the APC to get its act together and demonstrate that it is unlike the PDP which it claims to have superior political moral authority.
If the APC truly believes in its maxim of Change, it is about time that it begins to reassure Nigerians that what happened with its congresses were just one-off happenings that will not repeat themselves.
But as the situation stands, there is little cheer that the zonal congresses billed for next Saturday will not be rancorous as the drumbeats gets febrile. Already, some people like the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have gone to court to challenge the outcome of the party congresses in Bauchi. This should be the norm and not the exception.
The APC better realizes that failure to address the myriads of complaints from the congresses could spell doom for it if it heads into the national convention with parallel delegates. The lessons of the PDP which failed to tackle the angst of some of its members in 2014 should serve as a reminder that after all, the bell tolls for the soul of the APC.