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Enter the All Progressives Congress, APC

I LIKE the guts of the three and half parties that forged a union called APC.

The Action Congress, alias Tinubu’s baby; Congress for Progressive Change, Buhari’s  alter ego,  and the  All Nigerian Peoples Party, chaired by Dr. Ogbonnaya  Onu and the little half  of APGA under Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State.

The tortuous journey to arrive at this reality had shown that Nigeria ordinarily  ought to have two great and competing parties, which the military under IBB wanted to do for the country with SDP and NRC .

With its registration, in spite of the competing claim by African Peoples Congress for same acronym, it is becoming clear to Nigerians that  the imperatives of democracy which had compelled Nigerians to have over 30 registered parties had not helped matters.

Nigerians are basically tribe conscious people, a trait we inherited from pour first political fathers in Zik, Awo and Ahmadu Bello where the regions administered by them were tribally conceived and tailored to suit their people.

Inbetween the big tripod of Hausa Igbo and Yoruba, the bigger tribes succeeded in whipping into line the smaller tribes.

The Middle Belt comprising the Tivs, Idomas and the other minorities within the Plateau region was under the influence of  the Sardauna of Sokoto-controlled ruling party,  the  Northern peoples Congress, NPC.  The Mid West made up of Binis, Urhobos, Ishans, Izons, itsekiris  and Isokos, suffered same fate in the hand of the Yoruba-dominated Action Group led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo until it gained independence in 1963 as a Region.

In the Eastern region with Zik of Africa holding sway as the Premier, smaller groups like the Efiks, Ogoja, Ibibios were not allowed to flourish by the Igbo-dominated NCNC.

The registration of the APC has brought together hitherto diametrically opposed ethnic  groups: Igbos of the East, Hausa- Fulanis of the North and the ethnic Yorubas of the West to open a new chapter of co-existing with other Nigerians . The APC as registered today will have to contend with the PDP in 2015. With this, presidentially ambitious Northerners will have an alternative platform to actual their dreams  instead  of  every politician of note  wanting to drag down the PDP  for that purpose.

One is  not saying that the registration would automatically translate into power shift from PDP  to APC at the centre. It will definitely galvanize hitherto  divisive elements within the leading and ruling party to have a  rethink  and keep their house in order for the great expectations of 2015.

Will APC of two prominent leaders Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari in this new alliance  of West and the North  bring about real change in the politics of 2015?

Who carries the flag for the APC in the 2015 presidential election? Will it be  General Buhari whose ambition to become a civilian president has been aborted three times, twice under the ANPP and once under his own contraption, CPC? Will Tinubu be his running mate in 2015?

APC portends healthy competition amongst the various parties. Its registration seems to me to be a blessing in disguise to the PDP whose members  who could not manage their success as a party were being pushed to undo their own party.

Now that the battle  lines are drawn between the ruling PDP  and other parties , it is suddenly dawning on recalcitrant Governors who had planned to dump and bury their own party to make amends and ensure that the PDP still comes out on top.

If APC  means business, and I think they do, they must be less sentimental or ethnic when it comes to matters of presenting their flag bearer for 2015.

If the Buhari-Tinubu ticket cannot come to fruition because it could throw the party into avoidable  disarray, what else can it do to stay together.?  The cry to produce a President should  not be its main ambition, but how many states the APC can  muster in its first election.

If they must present a presidential candidate, they could try Buhari whose sharia- tainted credentials might bring in some votes. But viewed against his violence preachments in the wake of the 2011 presidential election, one might be tempting  God because if he fails for the fourth time , we might expect huge  balls of  hellfire this time around.

APC is welcome for what it is worth, an extension of the frontiers of democracy to the nation. Its registration should not spell doom for the polity but should advance the cause of deepening the democratic culture.

If the court had stopped the registration of the APC as we know it today, it would have been blamed on the PDP, but we must continually fight injustice through the courts and not by pandering to ethnic whims and caprices of the funders and promoters of the APC.

The lessons for the APC  managers  is that the party has left the realm of old and tired theatricals of Action Group or Alliance for Democracy or Action Congress. This is a brand new party and it does not have to exhibit the antagonistic and traditional opposition strands  of the past against the Federal   Government  it is planning to unseat through the polls in 2015?.

APC might sound symbolic to the armoured personnel carrier of the military but must purge itself of  dictatorial tendencies  for which both Tinubu and Buhari can be accused  of. Today is a new day and new politics must prevail. OBJ,   a Yoruba, had been President  of the country from 1999 to 2007 and there is a groundswell of deep resentment in our climes that another Yoruba should  not dream to want to be president again . Our collective background    would not permit it.

The best guarantee for the continued stability of the country in 2015 seems tilted towards allowing the PDP present its present President for second term. Anything outside that would likely spell doom for the  polity. Welcome to the fold APC, but members should prove themselves at the polls in 2015 and stop talking and engaging in sloganeering   and name-calling.

Let the votes count in your favour and be constructive in your criticisms . Upstaging a ruling party is not a joke in Africa and as we have seen and learnt from what has just happened in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe  secured a landslide victory at the polls with its ZANU-PF  party that had ruled the country for 35 years.

Will PDP, the largest party in Africa, allow itself to be humiliated in 2015, after it promised Nigerians  under the  charimanship of Prince Vincent Ogbulafor  that the PDP will rule the country for 60 years. Let us wait and see.

Mr.  WILLY BOZIMO, a veteran journalist, wrote from Asaba, Delta State.


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