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National Convention : Why APC must get it right on Sunday

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By Ali Abare

January 08, 2022

National convention: Why APC must get it right on Sunday

The recent admonition by President Muhammadu Buhari, for stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to hasten to put their house in order and to hold the party’s national convention, is a confirmation of the growing apprehension of members and supporters of the party that all may not be too well with the APC.

The warning by the President during his recent chat with journalists, beamed on the National Television Authority (NTA), portends dangerous signals for the ruling party, especially as the country approaches another election year comes 2023.

Even before the call for causion by President Buhari, there are signs suggesting that critical stakeholders of the party may likely be at crossroads, with various interest groups at daggers drawn, as each group jostle for control of the party’s machinery.

Indeed, the President’s warning is timely and apt, since according to him, the constitution of the APC was categorical on the tenure of the executive committee members of the party and the party could ill afford to tamper with the stipulated timeframe leading to the election of the party’s substantive leadership, particularly at a time political parties are gearing up for another rounds of election.

Certainly, it’s not possible for the APC to resolve every contentious matter seeking for attention internally, especially with some aggrieved members resorting to the courts to press in their demands. The case of some chieftains of the ruling party who approached the courts to stop the party from holding its national convention, is a matter requiring urgent resolution.

Issues bordering on the conduct of the party’s congresses at the state level, among other issues, continue to haunt the party, which is further complicated by agitations ahead of the national convention of the APC.

If the party’s leadership fails to heed the President’s warning and allowed internal wranglings to grow and snowball into distractions capable of derailing the aspirations of the party, then certainly those in position to call the shots, are refusing to learn from history.

In its hay moments before the 2015 general elections, the then ruling PDP, turned the deaf ear to calls to abide by rules and regulations guiding the party, throwing all cautions to the wind, in the false believe that power will remain in their full grasp no matter what happens within the party.

Presently and like Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, observed, in a chat with journalists at the presidential villa, shortly after meeting with the President, there are indeed, fears here and there as the party prepares to hold the national convention.

These fears being entertained by various groups within the APC, which led the President to throw in a word of caution, is to be expected and it is only natural in the democratic process.

President Buhari only found it necessary to admonish stalwarts of the APC, in order not to allow the bickerings fester and to reach the point of hindering the party’s chances in the coming election. We are all witnesses to how internal wranglings within the PDP led to the subsequent failure of the party in the 2015 general election.

As concerned stakeholders, those who went to court, seeking for the judiciary to intervene and to prevail on the party not to go ahead and conduct the planned convention, must reconsider their actions, if only not to throw away the baby with the bath water.

Like the President pointed out, the APC has a timeframe and guidelines of activities, leading to the convention slated to hold next month, through which the ruling party is expected to produce a substantive leadership for the party.

If however, critical stakeholders of the party each dig in and fail to agree to be reconciled, especially with the ongoing reconciliation efforts by the national committee chaired by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, there is every chance that opposition parties, may be waiting on the wings to repeat what the APC did to the then ruling party back in 2015.

The Mai Mala Buni led caretaker committee should be commended for constituting the national reconciliation committee, tasked with the responsibility of bringing aggrieved members of the party together and ensuring unity of the party before the national convention in February.

Those aggrieved members especially in states like Zamfara and Anambra states, who have gone to the court seeking to put spanners in the work of the party’s Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), should be made to understand that time is not on their side and as such, should be amenable to internal arrangements to address their grouse.

As the President meets with governors under the platform of the APC on Sunday, it’s imperative that the party gets its house in order and to heed the admonition by the President. If the governors who call the shots within the party, refuse to come together and do the right thing in order for the APC to grow from strength to strength and to conduct a successful national convention, then like President Buhari pointed out, the opposition may be warming up to take over power.

Agreed, in a democracy, particularly party politics, there must be discordant tunes as a result of varying interests, but the beauty of the game, is for parties to disagree and only to come to agree. The minority will have a say, but the majority will always have its way. Certainly, those who felt aggrieved are in the minority. The majority should be willing to accommodate the complaints of the minority so that the party can forge ahead in unison. And the minority should be willing to accept the olive branch.

Nigerians look forward to the party’s national convention which will not only set the tune for the coming election but will equally usher in a new set of national executives for the APC. Considering the calibre of individuals that have indicated interest to run for the position of the national chairman of the party, there is every need to get things right and to deliver a successful convention that will serve to further unite the party.

Abare, is the Secretary, North Central Zone, Coalition of APC Support Groups. He writes from Lafia, Nasarawa State.