As our highly-anticipated David enters...
Should I not forgo whatever I had wanted to talk about today to allow me heartily exult with the All Progressive Congress(APC) for attaining the status of a registered political party in Nigeria? Of course I should, just like every lover of democracy would. If those who only by word of mouth profess love for democracy could, why then should I, who is a votary of democracy, not applaud their registration.
Since the news of its registration broke, the nation's media have been awash with congratulatory messages from divergent individuals and interest groups including rival political parties going the street of APC. These compliments highlight just a sentence: APC has achieved a feat.
And a bigger feat it will be when you consider that this is the first time our major opposition parties will successfully collapse their interests and structures into a big marriage. They had, in the past, tried to marry themselves, but they just couldn't. Insincerity of purpose, internal squabbles, sabotage, fifth columnists and unwillingness to make sacrifices did them in.
Prior to the 2011 general elections, the idea of forming a major coalition was bandied but before you could say hey, the above factors reared its ugly head and solo, they went into that election. Thus, if for nothing else, let's celebrate APC for overcoming these factors.
Taking it further, APC's registration is a bigger feat owing to the determination of its promoters that allowed them weather the pessimisms of nay sayers as well as meet all conditions contained in Section 84 of the Electoral Act which any alliance must scale before being officially recognised. Announcing APC's successful registration, INEC in a statement signed by its secretary- Alhaji Abdullahi Kaugama said, "on considering the application, the commission found that the applicant-parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger and has accordingly granted their request."
If all these still fail to make you enthusiastic about the official birth of APC, perhaps this paragraph from a statement released by Tinubu's media office in reaction to the registration of APC would, "selfish interest and ego were shelved. Personal sacrifices were made particularly by those who hitherto occupied higher positions in the merging parties in the interest of moving Nigeria forward." Warts and all, it was a no mean feat that demands approbation.
Let no one deny those behind the highly anticipated marriage that.
From all quarters that rained congratulations on the newly registered party, not a few were surprised to hear PDP compliment her new rival. However, I don't think even the most gullible will believe that PDP is truly happy for APC. For, if the party was happy to have APC, who then was behind all those landmine that APC had to torpedo.
PDP couldn't even remove it's disdain for the newly registered party in the supposed congratulatory message signed by its National Publicity Secretary- Tony Ceaser Okeke. In that message, PDP maligned, "It does not remove their dictatorial tendencies and penchant for deceit and propaganda for which Nigerians have rejected them irrespective of party name."
PDP should have held back its 'congratulatory message' since it was only looking for an avenue to take a dig at its new nightmare.
But, what PDP has to say about the new party should be the least of APC's worries at the moment, for its congratulations have nothing meaningful to add to the life or relevance of APC. The message was aparently intended to achieve the dual purpose of shoring up PDP's public image and hitting at APC. The party used the statement to depict itself as a believer in democracy, but Nigerians know better.
Be that as it may, APC should know that it's successful registration does yet spell uhuru. In as much as the party can shout eureka, let it reserve some energy to be used in trumpeting the ideals of the party and soliciting support from Nigerians ahead of the Anambra election that's afoot and other elections across the country.
Aside this, the party should at the interim live up to the responsibilities of an opposition party which it is pending when it becomes the ruling party. It should not fail to raise the bar of political discourse in the country by taking stands that reflect its ideological bent on national issues. It won't be out of place for APC to form a shadow cabinet that would keep the ruling party on its toes and impress on Nigerians what a better alternative it is.
The party is lucky to come at a time when Nigerians are so disillusioned with the ruling party that all they needed was to see a serious-minded alternative for them to cue behind. APC is also propitious by coming at a time when many believe the PDP is on a self-destruction course, with an implosion brewing in its fold. It would then become unthinkable for APC to have these going for it and still blew the opportunities.
One can only imagine the impunity that would characterise the polity should APC failed to dislodge PDP from power come 2015. Then would they extend their projected years of ruining Nigeria to a century and then carry about with that understanding. They will misrule us through corruption, indifference and other maladministration daring us to do our worst. Then will they become to us an albatross like Goliath was to the Isrealites of old.
This explains why many Nigerians look up to APC as the David that will bring down this Goliath of PDP. In fact, just as Goliath taunted and made jest of David before the fight, so have PDP derided APC and gone ahead to brag that the new party is not in any way a threat to its continued misrule of Nigeria. But, we are consoled by the fact that David ultimately triumphed over Goliath. A replay is basically underway so let the one that is loud-mouthed keep at what it's good at. It should just be mindful of the saying that pride goes before a fall.
It is not even as if APC is as diminutive to PDP as David was to Goliath. No, the difference between them isn't that pronounced. At the moment PDP has 23 states in their kitty while APC has 11. David used five stones in going against Goliath but APC has 11. This, no doubt, tips the balance in APC's favour.
One of the reasons David was able to decapitate the mighty warrior was because natural justice favoured his quest. Indeed, Goliath was a burden to the Isrealites just as many believe PDP is to Nigerians today, hence APC riding on the crest of same natural justice stands a great chance of culminating their misrule of Nigeria.
A caveat though, it's not as if APC is filled with saints who will not undo us. We are not that naïve! There is the possibility that the new party can turn out like the Socialist Party(PS) formed by Abdoulaye Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party(PDS) and other opposition forces who fought vigorously against one-party system in Senegal only for Wade to perpetuate same when he got to power. APC can even grow to become worse than PDP.
While these likelihood can't be ruled out, still we should celebrate the manifestation of APC. For it's a testament to the progress of our democracy. It stands to awaken PDP from the slumber of non-performance. The coming of APC promises to cast us in the mould of advanced democracies that have two dominant political parties known for specific ideologies. Ditto for us as we have a conservative PDP and a progressive APC.
Indeed we are getting somewhere.
Many of us have continued to be nostalgic of the June 1993 presidential election that was contested by just two political parties. Perhaps that good old election year is here again only that this time other parties are allowed in the mix. If only these parties will join forces with APC to see to it that this behemoth of PDP is uprooted.
Some may wonder why I'm advocating this since I call myself a lover of democracy. Such people will always argue that having more parties will make for wider political participation, which democracy is all about. While that is true, let's in reality ask ourselves the possibilities of the mushroom(apologies for the demeaning word) parties playing in the national league.
Considering how urgent and important a task it is to deracinate PDP, perhaps it would do our country a world of good if we learnt from the opposition parties in Senegal who through their "out with the incumbent" slogan collectively displaced 86-year old Abdoulaye Wade, who wanted a third term as president, from power in 2012. They couldn't get this done in the first round of the election because they were solitary about it, but when in the next round they teamed up, Wade was gone for good.
Other parties yet to join the coalition should learn from this.
However, it is gratifying that it is the major opposition parties in our country that have merged to form the APC. As such, even if the rest declined to sign in for the merger, those already in can pull our yearning through. Equally heartening is the fact that APC has at least one state in all the geo-political zones- this already makes it national in outlook. It should therefore leverage on its structures and goodwill to deliver Nigerians from this Goliath of a party.