Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Speaking at the APC Caretakers Committee Executive meeting last Friday at the State House which has since its first inauguration on June 25, 2020 become APC new secretariat, President Buhari reminded Nigerians of “the crisis that engulfed the APC, leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division,’’ adding “We want to leave behind a legacy of transparency and fairness, which the party needs to survive.’’
Predictably, the president whose style is “delegation by abdication” refused to take responsibility for what to most perceptive minds, was more of the “hand of Esau Voice of David” to reposition his cronies in APC. He also expressed no remorse for sacrificing Oshiomhole who was booed and stoned in Abeokuta, hated and despised in other places where he had stepped on toes in pursuit of Buhari’s 2019 victory, just the same way he pretended those on whose back he rode to power in 2015 did not exist after his victory.
The caretaker committee, inaugurated in Aso Rock after the illegal dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC), had had its tenure extended twice for six months each and now indefinitely. Ironically, Buhari as a ‘hard sell” presidential candidate took little interest in APC in the run up to 2015 election or even after his victory. He had to reach out to the rejected corner stone for the 2019 election with giant-killer Oshiomhoile helping him to chase Saraki out of APC, tamed empire and fiefdom builders in Abeokuta and Imo State and put an end to PDP’s 60 years illusion of uninterrupted reign.
However, in a smart move to reposition his cronies in APC, the president who has always distanced himself from politicians, took over the party whose secretariat he relocated to Aso Rock Villa where he had presided over two extensions and now with an indefinite extension, his cronies have time to consolidate their hold on APC. And if anyone doubts APC is now Buhari’s APC, it is perhaps such a person missed Mai Mala Buni’s opening speech where he said he hopes the committee report would meet the expectation of President Buhari.
The following article titled “APC as threat to Nigeria’s democracy” published on December 10, 2020 is as relevant today as it was then. Happy reading.
Political parties as modernisisng agencies are expected to perform miracles by turning dreams to realities. The miracles of Japan’s industrial power, China’s poverty to prosperity and USA’s landing of man on the moon started with big dreams. Here at home, the Northern People’s Congress, later Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC) was responsible for the biggest business conglomerate in Africa between 1957 and 1962 while in the Western Region, the Action Group (AG) successfully implemented the most ambitious free education programme in Africa and went on to build and commission in three months, the first television station in Africa ahead of some European nations.
PDP, a party described by John Campbell, former US envoy as ‘a political party that came together … as essentially a club of elites for sharing of oil rents and political spoils’, did not pretend in 2013 that it had any dream beyond uninterrupted ruling for 60 years. Audu Ogbeh, one-time PDP chairman was to later validate Campbell’s thesis by submitting: “When I was chairman of PDP, my son never got involved in oil but two PDP national chairmen after me, their sons pocketed over N400 billion without supplying a tea cup of oil”. Ahmadu Alli as chairman of PDP and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, according to a House probe, presided over the theft of about N2 trillion by some of the over 140 independent oil marketers they appointed. We can add the allegation by former World Bank vice president for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili, that the PDP administration of Jonathan squandered $67billion reserves left by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
For miracle-seeking Nigerians therefore, the inauguration of APC on February 6, 2013 was something of a relief. Its eight-point cardinal programme: electricity generation, war against corruption, food security, integrated transport network; free education; devolution of power, accelerated economic growth and affordable health are routine responsibilities of government that did not require the intervention of angels or men with special talents. But PDP’s baleful legacy forced Nigerian miracle-seekers to see APC and Buhari as messiahs. They gave APC a clear mandate with a popular vote of 15.4m to PDP’s 12.8million, a clear majority of 65 to 43 in the senate, 190 to 151 in the lower house and 21 of the 36 state governors.
Betrayed Nigerians came to the sad conclusion after six years that the difference between PDP and APC, neither of which has any philosophical foundation nor ideological orientation, is that of six and half and a dozen. And speaking of the two parties, Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC boss, spoke about the futility of trying to look for saints among current Nigerian politicians.
Six years of APC government of change, very little has changed. Our lawmakers remain the highest paid lawmakers in the world. Just as it was during PDP years of the locust, ministers, heads of parastatals including Customs, Immigration, Army, Police, EFCC, vice chancellors of universities cruise around in in imported bullet-proof land cruisers at taxpayers’ expense. None of our four refineries is working. We continue to import fuel for domestic consumption.
Most part of the nation is still in darkness. PDP after 14 years in government generated 3324 MW by 2015. APC’s minister of science and technology, Ogbonaya Onu said APC generated additional 1,950 MW in six years. Add that to the 3,324 MW PDP generated in 14 years, what we get is 5,274MW. Like Obasanjo and Jonathan did before him, Buhari’s APC has just signed an agreement with Siemens to implement the Nigerian Electricity Roadmap.
On road construction, APC’s Raji Fashola, the very resourceful Lagos State governor who once asked PDP to identify 100 kilometres of road it completed in 10 years has been demystified. Six years of APC government, Apapa Tin can Island Port Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway like many other federal roads across the country, remain motorists’ and commuters’ nightmare.
APC promised to tackle insecurity. But seems to have no answer to rising insecurity across the country. In November 2020 alone, at least 216 Nigerians were killed and 144 others kidnapped according to data gathered by the Civic Media Lab. APC has no answer to periodic mindless killings of subsistence farmers in their farms. Now helpless Nigerians are said to be killed daily in Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Adamawa, Niger, Benue, Jigawa, Kaduna, Taraba and other areas in the north. Last week, Professor Usman Yusuf in a widely circulated letter titled ‘Silence in the face of evil, is its self-evil” noted the APC federal government has let Nigerians down by allowing “bandits to unleash terror on the people, operates their own government by imposing heavy taxes on the people”, adding “there is no law enforcement agencies to protect the people, while the police often showed up after the carnage have been done”.
Death of a Nigerian doesn’t seem to have meanings to APC and its government. In other societies, the 43 rice farmers cruelly hacked to death by Boko Haram in their farms last week would have led to a declaration of a week of national mourning. The Sultan of Sokoto was reported to have lamented the mindless killing of 80 people in his domain. The Northern Elders Forum asked the president to resign and the APC controlled legislature only passed resolutions often ignired By Buhari.
APC with restructuring in its manifesto forgot what restructuring or power devolution meant and had to set up the El-Rufai committee on restructuring. Governor Fayemi asked Nigerians not to blame Buhari for not implementing restructuring agenda as promised in its manifesto but direct their anger at the National Assembly controlled by his party for not implementing the El Rufai report.
APC remains not just the scourge of the nation but a threat to democracy. With PDP, there might have been no honour among thieves, but their family war over sharing of our commonwealth is healthier for democracy than APC’s criminal conspiracy of silence over absence of governance and creeping dictatorship.