By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
The APC needs an overhaul. The vehicle was hurriedly assembled, cobbled. It was expected to fall apart even before the race began. It defied its disjointedness and many soothsayers, and creaked to victory in 2015.
Since 2015 it has moved gingerly, refused to let its poorly strapped disparate parts come apart, or fuse. Since it chose caution, inactivity, to protect its fragility, it has lived up to no usefulness. It has failed to serve the government and the nation.
With a president who prides himself in being above the pettiness of party politics, and a chairman who has the temperament of a civil servant, the APC dithered, hesitated and cowered. It never spoke with authority. It never stood its ground, any ground. It never took umbrage even when it had fingers of mischief poked into its eyes. It surrendered the defect control of the National Assembly to the opposition. And the National Assembly has been the emblem of its wretchedness.
Without the fatherly direction of a political astute president; without a chairman with the instincts of a protective mother; the APC has roamed the uncharted streets of Nigerian politics bullied and dispossessed like a luckless orphan by political reptiles. Its authority has been swallowed by timidity, its roles have been usurped by shadowy figures lurking the corridors of power.
The chairman loitered and vacillated and became a string puppet rather than a political choreographer. Many of the politically insensitive decisions the government took told eloquently of the vegetative state of the party and its leadership. A living party keeps one eye perpetually on public opinion and election politics. The APC, prodigally, frittered away goodwill.
The opposition took to politics of bitterness and sensationalism to new heights. But the ruling party didn’t go for hearts and minds. The government continued with unpardonable errors of political insensitivity. No one drew the ears of the government to remind it that it was not a military regime. The chairman of the party chose to roil nothing by touching nothing. Whenever he showed up he came to regurgitate whatever platitudes the government had churned out.
The bare knuckle politics of the opposition has exposed the flabbiness of engine of the APC. It is weaker than its disintegrating, crumbling body.
APC had momentum and helpful winds in 2015. The party has to go uphill now. It has to drive against treacherous storms of widespread political acrimony and spreading poverty. The APC has to drive up against a mountain of negative reviews by former Nigerian leaders.
The APC has to confront a new coalition that has acquired legitimacy because Nigeria has become a literal killing field. The APC needs to confront a dejected citizenry whose hopes for change have fallen from the sky to the ground in 3 years.
The APC needs an overhaul.
An oil frothing, white plume emitting, APC needs a new crankshaft to generate political torque. The cosmetic repairs can start afterwords.
The APC doesn’t need a stagnant pacifist. It doesn’t need another malleable civil servant. The party needs a chairman whom parties to any internal conflict can go to believing he has a mind he controls. The party needs a chairman who stakes his moral positions in public and not his bedroom. The party needs a chairman who will match the opposition in fiery rhetoric and nudge the government out of inertia. It needs chairman whose legitimacy would be grounded not in his agbada and certificates but, in his forthrightness, political adroitness, lucidity of mind buttressed perhaps by a personal ability to deliver his greater constituency.
The APC needs a chairman with charm, grit and foresight.
The party needs a chairman that has the stature and steel of a heavy weight boxing umpire. The duels and feuds between an overbearing executive and a petulant legislature have to be reined in by the party.
It needs a man that can squeeze water of peace out of hard rocks, and yet can cause war when war would save lives. Anti-democratic elements hovering in the shadows like vultures must feel the prospect of a mass resistance against all reckless democracy-dismantling adventures.
The party doesn’t need a man who has no dreams left to dream. It needs a man who would see the position not as a retirement bench. It needs a man who still has a lot left to prove.
The party needs a man or woman whose opinions the president would always weigh carefully. The party has no use for a chairman whom governors approach with levity and treat with contempt. The party needs a towering figure even if he is short. The party needs a chairman with a large heart even if his body is small. The party needs a chairman with an energetic spirit.
The APC needs a chairman who chairs. Not a pliant follower, not an errand boy, no matter how elderly. The party needs a man, or a woman, whom the cabal or such retrogressive forces cannot summon or scare. A chairman who will remind all, including the president and his ministers, about the party’s proprietary rights over the government. A chairman who will disinfect the government of pests and clannishness. A chairman who can whip party’s rascally parliamentarians into line.
APC’s chairman must possess a pedigree that inspires hope. Let it be that his character hasn’t quite measured up to his bloated reputation. It would be enough that many find him better than the rest.
Adams Oshiomhole, looks promising.