The APC acronym war

It is not difficult to dismiss the claim by ACN that Attahiru Jega’s INEC has merged with PDP as an over exaggeration. Jega’s last Saturday’s outing and pronouncements while speaking on a live audience participation Radio Nigeria Hausa programme, Hanu Dayawa, on the then raging APC acronym war however seemed to give further credence to Muhammadu Buharis’s often repeated claim that there is only a thin line separating INEC and PDP. Curiously, Jega’s tone, choice of words and body language, seemed to be in tandem with both PDP and the phantom APC. As expected, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, also called attention to INEC seeming support for what it describes as ignoble and subversive role of PDP in an attempt to register a proxy “African People’s Congress “to forestall the registration of the authentic APC.

Before Monday’s INEC announcement of the rejection of African People’s Congress’ application for breaching Section 222(a) of the 1999 Constitution (As amended), the only thing the proposed party, PDP and INEC seemed to have in abundance for the opposition was contempt. For instance, while Kingsley Nnadi, of the phantom APC spoke of “just one APC (African People’s Congress)”, insisting, “the other APC only did mere negotiation”, PDP claimed “the APC and its component parties—the ACN, CPC, ANPP and others—only advertised their boastful and deceitful…” which is not markedly different from Jega’s “only one group came… saying they want to form a political party with a particular name and while this was going on, some people started making noise saying that they wanted to merge with so, so name”.

Neither can we find something more parallel than Nnadi’s “the unveiling of our party today has finally put to rest the contention over APC, which one is authentic or not” and the INEC chairman’s “Somebody first came with the name and …if you want your application to be considered, go and change your name because it is not possible to register three groups with the same name”.

PDP’s description of the opposition as engaging “in leaping jamboree and propaganda , the hallmark of political naivety, painlessness” is not dissimilar to Jega’s “We only read in the newspapers that they have the intention of merging …If anybody wants to register a political party, you are expected to tell INEC of your intention”.

But while Jega played the ostrich, Nigerians knew all along that Ugochinyere Ikenga, the secret promoter of the now rejected phantom APC, apart from being a card carrying member of the PDP, was known to have been involved in such hatchet jobs within the ruling party. It was reported he once tried to stop the emergence of a former national chairman of the party, Okwesiliezi Nwodo from assuming office, and in another instance, precisely on March 10, 2012, went to court in an attempt to stop Bamanga Tukur from vying for the position of PDP national chairman.

And in spite of Jega’s body language, what was not lost on Nigerians, was the parallel between PDP/ presidency’s alleged sponsored proxy APC whose public face was Ikenga and Babangida’s secretly sponsored Arthur Nzeribe’s Association for Better Nigeria (ABN) that was used to truncate the Third Republic by desperate military politicians who ironically bred most of the current thieving members of the ruling class.

But reading in between the lines, what should be of concern to Nigerians was Jega’s apparent indifference to, or acquiescence with PDP or any other group that may wish to employ immoral approach to secure special advantage in the 2015 election.

This has been the bane of our politics dating back to the First Republic when ruling parties and electoral officers technically disqualified opposition candidates by not making application forms available until too late. We have since graduated from there to the fourth republic when elections which Obasanjo defined as a “do or die affair” are brazenly rigged while opposition candidates are told to go to court.

Elections may have become a zero sum struggle for power here and elsewhere in Africa, but it is the responsibility of privileged individuals like Jega who swore to an oath of allegiance to Nigeria to prevent those determined to acquire power through immoral means. Our experience has shown one immoral step begets another or more immoral reactions.

Babangida’s annulment of the most credible election in our nation’s history produced Sonekan’s short lived immoral interim government which in turn produced an equally immoral Abacha regime, the most brutal in the nation’s history

We hailed Obasanjo who lost election in his ward in 1999 for his political brinkmanship when he outmaneuvered the Afenifere Yoruba elders in 2003. Obasanjo’s immoral acts of 2003, led to routine removal and replacement of governors, visitation of unprecedented level of violence and political assassinations in the whole of South-west including his Ogun State where the governor chased the state’s elected lawmakers out of town. Other Obasanjo’s immoral acts include forcing government contractors to make contributions towards the building of a private library and an attempt to manipulate constitutional amendment exercise to secure a third term in office, an exercise Ken Nnamani, the then Senate President claimed cost the nation over N10b.

Today we reap the effect of our collective perfidy of supporting President Jonathan’s immoral upturning of his party’s zoning policy which first brought him into the limelight. We all, including men of God, hailed him as the scourge of the Hausa/Fulani hegemonic feudal lords. It was not too long when we started reaping what we sowed as he slapped the people with an increase in pump price of oil from N65 to N140. He has continued to keep those accused of corruption in his cabinet without giving a damn and only last week granted an amnesty to a convicted former Bayelsa State governor who is still facing charges in Britain.

As the battle for 2015 unfolds, the power of the governor’s forum is undermined while the level of corruption has assumed new proportions as funds are needed for the battle ahead. And for this ‘do or die ‘electoral battle, no promises are too sacred to break. Early this week, Edwin Clark, President Jonathan’s godfather asserted that even if there was an agreement between the president and northern state governors to serve only one term, the president is not obliged to keep it. His justification: Niger state delegates voted for Abubakar Atiku in the 2011 PDP primary. And in any case, Clark who has nothing to teach the youths wondered if it is not on record that Niger State “voted overwhelmingly for Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) of the CPC who scored a total vote of 652,574 against President Jonathan’s 321,429 in the last Presidential election”.

The executive cannot be trusted as they do not respect even their own laws and personal undertakings; the law makers are lawless as they struggle to usurp the functions of the executive, and our judiciary that shields the powerful and their children has become the sanctuary for the depraved. Less than 20% of our people have confidence in the fourth estate of the realm that has chosen to celebrate criminals and others whose activities they are to monitor instead of protecting the people.

Our frustrated jobless youths ask us daily the way forward. The only answer we have for them is election of credible people who are ready to put the interest of the people before their own. The only group capable of rekindling hope in our youths is Jega and his privileged crew, beckoned upon by circumstances to perform an historic role at this point in our nation’s history. They will need more than legal provisions and its inherent loop holes in this arduous task.

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