Plans by dissidents in the two major political parties to cobble a mega platform to displace the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, continued to engage the political class through the year, 2016
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Speaking to journalists in Benin last Tuesday, the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun disavowed insinuations that his party was threatened by the formation of the much touted mega party.
“We don’t feel threatened at all. No mega party will survive the APC. I don’t know where the name, Mega Party suddenly came from in the lexicon of politics in this country,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
His self-confidence nonetheless, suggestions regarding the incorporation of a mega-party underline the admission of discontents within the APC which was originally floated as the mega party to challenge the hegemony of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the political space. Having successfully achieved its raison d’etre, could the APC be threatened by the incorporation of another alliance directed against it? Odigie-Oyegun’s assertion to the contrary is, however, seriously doubted.
The APC chairman was, however, correct in his claim that the introduction of the phrase mega party into the lexicon of politics was a mystery. It came in the first half of the year as politicians from across the country started whispering about meetings aimed towards the formation of a mega party with people from different political tendencies in the country.
The word especially gained ground as dissensions within the APC increased. The ruling party’s failure to form cohesion was betrayed by the rancour in its parliamentary caucuses at the federal level and even at the national party level. Reflective of the crack in the APC is the fact that the party has failed to hold institutional meetings including regular meetings of the National Executive Committee, NEC and even failed to constitute a Board of Trustees, BoT.
A national convention that should have taken place at the latest in November 2016 is not even on the cards of the party. It is no secret that the groupings which coalesced to form the APC have in several cases reverted to their original blocs splitting party unity.
Parallel to the internal schisms in the APC was also the progressive meltdown of the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Two attempts by the opposition party to hold a national convention in May and August were derailed by litigations and other internal party wrangling.
The crisis in the party is underlined by the factionalisiation of its national leadership between the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Working Committee and the faction headed by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
The crisis in the party resulted in the party entering the recent governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States as a divided House. Not surprisingly the party lost out in the two elections.
Given the sentiments of some APC stakeholders about the alleged non-inclusiveness of those who direct policies and programmes of the ruling APC government, it didn’t take long for mutterings to rise that a few or the cabal as it is called had hijacked the government.
The mutterings of non-inclusiveness were also compounded by assertions of non-performance by the government.
The two factors inevitably helped to fan the dissent that stoked the search for the alternative party platform.
Besides the dissidents in the APC and the PDP, the crave for an alternative political platform has also been drummed by those who feel that the country under its present leadership is in the wrong hands.
Feelers that President Muhammadu Buhari will contest the 2019 presidential election has also further emboldened those behind the new party.
It was, however, not until the last month of the outgoing year that a name was affixed to the supposed mega party – the Action Democratic Party, ADP.
Confirmation of the PDP’s association with the mega party was given by the national chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Senator Makarfi during a press conference in Abuja.
Asked about the progress of the alliance talks, he said: “I will not like to give details of what is being recommended, but the PDP is desirous of attracting all lovers of democracy across the country as we move forward.
“There are details I cannot divulge at the moment because the committee’s recommendations will be passed on to the party leadership. It will not be wise to disclose the details before we submit the report.
“On the issue of mega party, we are not yet aware of PDP involvement, but all we can say is that the party wants to relate with lovers of democracy in all the parties.
“We have a syndicate committee working on this chaired by former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu.
“They are to give us the guidelines for any re-alignment plan and the number of parties that are willing to join us.”
The first formal meeting of the political group was penultimate Monday at an Abuja hotel with its national convener, Engr. Alhaji Yabagi Y. Sani saying on that occasion that the ADP is the mega party that they have so much looked forward to. “This is the Mega Party, if you hear of the Mega Party, this is the Mega party,” he said on that occasion.
At that meeting, Sani revealed that the political association had received the nod of the Independent and National Electoral Commission, INEC to commence the process of registration as a political party.
However, as many politicians are wont to, many of those at that meeting sought to disguise themselves or shield their identities from the public. Among those who were present was a former Senate Majority Leader, some former members of the National Assembly and a former national woman leader of the PDP.
Those present at the meeting are believed to be the foot soldiers of the political generals who would, in turn, enlighten the political space whenever they decide to move from either the APC or the PDP.
Until they do so, if they ever do, the mega party will remain a mega-hope in the political arena.