Democracy, which is government of the people, by the people for the people, thrives best when the people have choices from which to pick who should lead them in any election.
In those climes where democracy is allowed to produce quality and true leaders, many political parties are registered, and with time, a few of them become the parties to reckon with.
In America there are 32 registered Federal parties, and another 30 registered Regional parties, with independent candidacy allowed by their constitution. Out of all these, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have, over time, become the two main Federal parties.
In the United Kingdom, there are about 17 registered political parties existing along with many minor parties. Since the 1920s the Conservative Party and Labour Party have dominated British politics, and have alternated in government ever since.
However, the UK’s is not quite a two-party system since a third party (recently, the Liberal Democrats) can prevent 50 per cent of the votes/seats from going to a single party. Following electoral co-operation as part of the SDP-Liberal Alliance, the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 becoming the Liberal Democrats, which is now the third largest party that produced the current Prime Minister.
In Nigeria, since the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential result, it became difficult to produce a two-party system that will offer the people the opportunity to make a reasonable choice.
We had only the PDP as the truly Federal party and expectedly they have continued to take the people for granted to the extent that one of their leading members boasted in 2007 that they would rule Nigeria for 50 years.
Politics and the process of selection of a president for Nigeria, has become boring, and full of the known antiques of the PDP. Thus, the snatching of most of the South Western states by the ACN was a welcome development to offer the people the desirable opportunity to make quality decisions in their choice of leaders, and to give the PDP a good run for their mouth!
The result is the healthy and robust contest among the gubernatorial candidates in the recent elections which saw Dr.Olusegun Mimiko and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole returned to the government houses in Ondo and Edo states, respectively.
It is against the background that many lovers of the people’s right to choose who should lead them, welcomed the idea of an alternative party which will expand the choices of Nigerians in selecting who will occupy Aso Rock in the nearest future. No matter how good the PDP may have been in the delivery of electoral promises, after 14 years, it is just about time for Nigerians to experience a change of party in Aso Rock.
Nigerians just want a change not for the sake of change, but to gain the dividends which those non-PDP states are getting, because the ruling parties in those states know that the opposition PDP is watching and waiting. We desire same consciousness at the centre.
This is why the registration of APC as a merger between ACN, CPC, ANPP, and a faction of APGA led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha was most welcomed by all, if indeed they can push the PDP out of Aso Rock, and give Nigerians the change they so much thirst for.
But the birth of APC seems to be fraught with some issues of concern which need urgent resolution. While the issues remain unresolved, the effect is that the APC may be led into more worrisome issues, and as time goes on their position may become complicated such that their first major outing may end with a jaundiced leg.
The first issue from birth was in the nature of the founders of the APC, in the persons of General Muhammadu Buhari Rtd, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We know that Gen.Buhari wants to challenge GEJ at the elections and push the PDP out of Aso Rock. But,General Buhari will be a very hard candidate to sell to Nigerians, especially Christians and most South Easterners because of his initial utterances and stance on the killings by Boko Haram. The second issue is that of the ACN Emperor, Asiwaju Tinubu.
While he remains a bold and wise politician, people fear he will bring undue influence to bear in the party in one form or the other. There is, therefore, a need for a balancing of personalities to provide the needed assurance that APC is an all-inclusive party.
While these two birth issues remained unresolved, the APC chose her interim officers for purposes of registration with INEC, and almost every key post was virtually turned over to the South West and Muslims, compounding the dilemma of those who wished to see a better arrangement.
The combined effect of non-resolution of these issues has created the newest problem the APC will face. This week, the APC was reported as demanding that Governor Peter Obi should apologise to Nigerians for querying why 70 Igbo indigenes were dumped by Gov. Babatunde Fashola on Anambra State without any regard or courtesy to the people and government of Anambra State, or Igbo people for that matter. Their reason is that Governor Obi was crying wolf and trying to give their party a bad name in order to hang it.
The APC, by this, has shown that it is insensitive to any issue that does not affect the main base of their party. They cannot see anything wrong in the very bad action of Lagos State in the unconscionable and unconstitutional deportation of Nigerians; it is politics or more because Igbo people are the victims. The question then is, whether the Igbo man can trust the APC, or better still, is the APC the party we expect?
This brings me to worrying participation of a faction of APGA in APC. It will be wise for those involved to sit down and reassess their positions.
It is better to consolidate their foothold on Imo State than to spread too thin with this worrisome APC gamble. They should strengthen APGA first.
Mr. CLEMENT UDEGBE, a lawyer, wrote from Lagos.