BY JOHN UDUMEBRAYE
FOLLOWING the conclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention in Abuja last week, it is obvious to all now that the APC is no more than a parastatal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), because all of its actions had the imprint of the ruling party. For many of the insiders who have been crying themselves hoarse over the sins of the PDP, it was clear that they were all wrong or have been playing the ostrich all the while.
And, for many who did not know that the party belonged to the strongman of Lagos politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the proverbial wind has blown and we have seen the ugly rump of the chicken. Tinubu owns the APC, and Mohammadu Buhari is the tag along handbag of the former Governor. But how did Buhari get to this bus-stop in his life where he has to kowtow to a man like Tinubu? Tinubu sure knows how to play his politics, butwe should not be deceived that it is anywhere near progressive politics.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who has displayed the rarest form of desperation to achieve his ambition (someone says it is a marabou’s prediction) that he would one day rule Nigeria, has advised the like of former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and Chief Tom Ikimi to remain loyal to the party. Atiku, preaching loyalty? Wonders will never end.
Now, this is the same man who was disloyal to his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, and fought him to a standstill and ensured that he lost his bid to rule Nigeria for a third term in office; a man who worked assiduously in the media to give his former boss a bloody nose; a man who abandoned the PDP for the Action Congress (AC) later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); the same man who dumped the ACN to return to the PDP; who again dumped PDP to join the APC. Is this Atiku’s definition of loyalty? A political prostitute advising on the virtues of being a good housewife; something must be wrong with the definition of loyalty in the APC.
Many who thought the party was devoid of the tendencies that were the hallmark of the PDP must have been shocked to discover that the APC was even better than its opponent in the fine art of consensus candidacy and enthronement. Could it have been the influence of the sheer number of PDP horse-traders that flocked the APC? Maybe; and, maybe not, going by the manner the stooges of Tinubu took over in Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States. There is a story making the rounds that Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been belly-aching over the treatment he received at the convention, though one of his aides has denied that he ever authored the document that has gone viral on the internet.
There is also the growing controversy over the true age of the man chosen to head the Youth wing of the party. No one knows for sure what the man’s age is, but it is the PDP, if it can prove its claim, that did the bloodiest damage to the APC image in its statement preaching integrity to the Tinubu party. The party poked at APC accusing the new leadership of attempting to lie about the age of Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo. The APC claimed that Jalo is 43, but PDP says documents show the man is 53, a clear 13 years above the bar for a youth.
It appears that in its jockeying to satisfy loyalists, Tinubu’s party shot itself in the foot. According to the PDP, “It is public knowledge that Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo contested the Gombe/Kwame/Funakaye Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives in 2011 during which he declared his age to be 49 years. The records are there and they speak true. If Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo was 49 years old in 2011, it naturally follows that he is 53 presently. It is, therefore, clear that the statement by the APC declaring him to be 43 years old is false.
“Whilst we concede that the APC has the right to select a person of any age for any position within their fold, including a man of 52 as national youth leader, we are, however, shocked that they chose to lie over an issue as simple as the age of a national officer,” adding that APC has refused “to shed its unnecessary penchant for lies even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
Olisa Metuh said the APC’s action showed the party had “little regard for integrity and that its statements cannot be trusted.” It advised the party thus:“APC, now under a new leadership to imbibe the culture of integrity and honesty especially as Nigerians deserve to know the truth and the correct state of facts always.”
If there were talks of any cracks or plans to dump the party, especially by chieftain, Tom Ikimi, and former Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, who failed to install his former political foe turned ally, Kashim Imam, into a plum office; or his being sidelined for the Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees (BoT), party spokesman, Lai Muhammed, pooh poohed the speculations. Read him: “That is mere speculation. They are strong men of our party; that will not be enough reason for them to leave the party, I can assure you.But going by strong indications of the men’s anger alongside that of others, it appears the peace of the graveyard in the APC may soon be shattered when dry bones in the grave begin to rise again.It is only sad that the party which claims to be progressive is in retrogression politically.
Mr. Udumebraye, a political analyst, wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.