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TIME TO MAKE ACN A TRULY NATIONAL PARTY

By NBF News
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As most Nigerians accurately predicted, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) made a clean sweep of all the positions contested in the just concluded 2011 general elections in the South West, thereby taking the zone back to where it has always belonged.  The South West is traditionally the bastion of the progressive hue of politics, a tradition left behind by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

With the overwhelming preference for the ACN as expressed by the people of the zone, the South West has left on the marble, an emphatic statement about its self-conviction on the choice of political philosophy most suitable for the realization of the interest of the people of the zone. Such a manifest self-determination, abundantly testifies to the consciousness of the zone to the critical ingredients of growth and survival for any nation. Lack of sound and in-depth philosophical base, many have argued, has been the bane of Nigeria's socio-political development.

It is not out of place to argue in this instance that the greatest dividend that Nigeria needs at the moment must be considered beyond physical infrastructures. Verily, Nigeria is in dire need of deep philosophical base, rooted in patriotic consciousness; sort of which is the only powerful tool to challenge and deflate divisive fault-lines that have continued to mock and retard every development effort. Our dear nation needs a consciousness that guarantees a rigorous intellectual locus, such that while reflecting through the leaders, radiates greatness, energize the entire populace for optimum service. I am referring to a philosophy which in the words of Chinua Achebe which will relegate the ' well-worn notion of unity of Nigeria or faith in Nigeria often touted by our corrupt leaders' and elevate that which is 'based on the awareness of the responsibility of leaders to the led.'

In the short history of the ACN, the party has so far proven that it has all it takes to galvanize and take Nigeria to where it rightly belongs.  The story of Lagos state in this dispensation is quite revealing and so is the upbeat strides in Edo State both controlled by the party. These tates, most especially Lagos has completely proved wrong, the assertions of Charles De Gaulle that politicians never believe what they say and are therefore surprised when others believe them. With the entire South-West now under the kitty of the ACN, the revolution is sure taking its full course.

With the inchoate, deprecate and tottering  development paradigm with which the PDP government at the centre and in most of the states have left the polity bleeding, time and opportunity now beckon on the Action Congress of Nigeria to export its tested and effective alternative to the rest of the nation. Though the party has made significant inroad in some parts of the country, especially in the South East and North Central, the ACN is still viewed in most quarters as a Yoruba party. It therefore needs to shed this toga so as to take its rightful place as the best political platform for the realization of the Nigerian dream.

To achieve this is easy as well as difficult. It will be difficult in the sense that pruning provincial tendencies and feelings in the party so as to give way for broader accommodation of larger interests will engage more than mere slogans. It will be easy however because the leadership of ACN has over the years shown uncanny skill in party building. The bottom line will involve the re-engineering of its formal and informal chain of command without necessarily tempering with its laudable philosophy. But it must be done in such a way to stave off the invasion and corruptive influence of  the rotten elements who have lost space in the PDP.

However, the most critical and that which most Nigerians watch out is the way and manner the ACN as the largest opposition political party associates with the larger Nigerian polity and the necessary acts of balancing it will engage in allotting which ever gains that accrue to it. That will prove its pan Nigerian agenda.

In Anambra State for instance, Dr. Chris Ngige has single handedly built the ACN as the most formidable and popular political party in the state. He has convincingly made the party as the free choice for all those who love the interest of the state. I make bold to assert that besides Dr. Ngige and the bruised Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, General  Buhari, there are very few politicians in the country today who don't need to rent a crowd to have massive turnout at political rallies.

Those who witnessed the April election in Anambra and saw the massive array of resources and the state apparatus of intimidation which the APGA led state government unleashed on Ngige, will come to an inevitable conclusion that it is only the man whom his God and the people fight for could have defeated Governor Peter Obi in his native Anambra Central Senatorial zone. The truth is that Dr. Akunyili was merely an APGA candidate and the face on the ballot but the battle was a rematch of February 6th 2010 governorship election and Ngige convincingly won.

The leadership of the Action Congress therefore needs to reward the faithful people of Anambra state who were roundly flogged and taunted by Governor Peter Obi for accepting according to him, 'a Yoruba party.' It is time to force Obi to swallow his words in shame with a lesson that the ACN is not only a strategic growing party with a unimpeachable, tested agenda for national development but one that can also advance the peculiar interest of Ndi-Igbo.

In this vein, it is the opinion of many who defied and crushed the intimidation of the APGA led Anambra state government that conceding the position of the minority leader of the Senate to Dr. Ngige will be a proper first step in paying back the dogged fidelity of our people to the ACN, being the only Senator elected on the platform of that party in the entire old eastern region, now comprising four states in the South-South and the rest in the South -East.

• Obidiwe sent this piece from  Awka, Anambra State.