2011 AND RISING PROFILE OF ACN
An interesting development is gradually unfolding in the nation's political scene, at least at party levels, to checkmate the excesses of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party well known for its culture of impunity and brazen lack of internal democracy. Some of its state congresses conducted recently lend much credence to this assertion.
The Action Congress (AC), which emerged from the ashes of moribund Alliance for Democracy (AD) has not pretended in its avowed mission to put in check the ferocious onslaught of PDP's rigging machinery. The AC was the brainchild of former Lagos State governor, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu. AC was a product of Tinubu's political ingenuity and sagacity.
Believe it or not, Tinubu is an emerging national political figure in Nigeria. He has maintained a progressive political clout in the nation's political party system. The former action governor has demonstrated more than any politician from the South-West that he drank fully from the late sage's, Chief Obafemi Awolowo's political spring and sophistry.
His Awo cap and eye glass are not mere mementoes. They are real and the man behind them is not acting. Tinubu's AC was a one-man riot squad that demolished the evil intention of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's PDP to capture Lagos State by all means in 2007 general elections. But the state proved a hard nut to crack. Not even the stoppage of Local Government federally allocated funds to stifle the state's economic equilibrium could do the magic for the ruling party.
In spite of such political aberration in a federal system of government, the Tinubu administration turned inward to tap on the potentials of beckoning Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that gave the state billions of naira every month. Because of that economic wizardry, Lagos ranks highest in IGR in the country now. Other states are yet to find the magic wand that made the state gather such hefty revenue base from IGR alone.
We know that Lagos State has lots of industries and business concerns for huge IGR; collecting such revenue every month requires a tamper proof mechanism. That is what Tinubu has done in the state when Obasanjo wanted to cripple his economic base by stopping its council funds. I shall return to this aspect and other things that make Tinubu tick later.
This article is not about Tinubu per se but there is no way one can effectively talk about the AC now known as Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) without talking about the man at the centre of it all. From one state party, ACN has transformed into a national party with large membership. The addition of Nigeria to its name has removed its ethnic toga and colouration. ACN now has three states in its kitty-Lagos, Edo and Ekiti. The party is fighting hard in court over Osun State. It has proved convincingly the fraudulent 2007 general polls conducted by Prof. Maurice Iwu. ACN has shown that PDP rigged itself to power in most of the states INEC awarded it victory.
I used to refer to AC as a South-West party but now I no longer do in view of its national outlook and the readiness of other highly placed Nigerians to embrace the party as the main credible opposition in the polity now. During the February 6, 2010 gubernatorial poll in Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige opted for the AC and came second. That is a clear statement that the party has made some inroad in the South-East.
Today, ACN is the alternative party to PDP impunity and recklessness in the five states of the South-East geo-political zone. It is no longer a secret that the opposition in Imo State has fully embraced the ACN in order to give PDP a running battle in the state come 2011. The same applies to Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia where the PDP is playing the ostrich. The Igbo states can no longer be taken for a ride by fraudulent, inconsequential and non-performing politicians, whose only achievements are only visible in the media. Such deceit must stop now that the South-East opposition is totally with ACN.
To show that the Wadata House umbrella is tearing apart, some PDP senators last week did the unthinkable by defecting to ACN and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) respectively. Reports have it that Senators Adiego Akekaraya from Delta State and Joel Danlami from Taraba State announced to the astonishment of their co-travellers in the PDP omnibus their defection to ACN citing instability in PDP as their reason. Similarly, Senator Umar Argungu from Kebbi State also defected to the CPC. There could be more defections from PDP to ACN and other parties as we draw near to 2011.
I doff my hat for these gentlemen who have jettisoned the biggest and largest party in the whole of Africa to embrace 'smaller' parties. These are men of vision and conscience. They want to say bye-bye to impunity and lawlessness, two ethos common in PDP family affair. Their defection is a lesson in reasoning and going for truth and principles. That is how defection should be. Leave a party that you feel is degenerating and go to the one you think is right on the track. Some politicians have the erroneous belief that it is only in PDP that one can win an election. That is mythical and utterly fallacious.
It is a pity that our politics has degenerated to gutter level where serving legislators (national and state) have become both rubber stamp and ink pad of the executive arms of government, forgetting that they were elected to make laws and act as checks to executive excesses. They have seriously compromised their constitutional roles. The success of legislative duties in Nigeria now is measured by how many cars, houses and other mundane things they acquire.
As I am writing now, some of these law-makers (sorry law-breakers) are rooting for automatic second, third and fourth term ticket in office as if it is their birth right to remain a legislator for life. Left to me, I would have advocated for the abrogation of the legislative arm in our governmental system. I am tired of their ceremonial and decorative duties.
I am yet to see what those who represent me at state and national assembly have done to my constituency in Imo State since the inception of our nascent democracy. Are all of them not self-seeking and self-serving politicians that think less of the welfare of those they represent? My constituency has the worst network of roads in the entire Imo State. The entire roads in Orsu LGA are right now in very bad shape. The only tarred road-Orlu/Ihiala highway- has most of its portions in Orsu area in great disrepair. Is Orsu LGA still part of Imo State? Why this total neglect?
Sorry for this apt digression. It is all in the interest of the write-up, the need for credible opposition, which the ACN is fulfilling now. As at now, ACN is poised to reclaim the entire South-West geo-political zone. There is no doubt that it will make appreciable inroad in the South-East, especially in Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia states due to the way PDP is running its family affair in the zone. It is also a party to watch in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and even Anambra states. Kogi, Kwara, Taraba and Adamawa are other possible states for ACN. The way the ACN is rising, the sky will be its limit in the nation's political firmament.
But why has ACN metamorphosed into national reckoning and consciousness within a short period of time? It all has to do with adhering to principles. It has to do with values. Probably, ACN is filled with people with conscience. The positive image of the party has been eloquently anchored by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
In defence of truth, Mohammed has practically voiced his views on any burning national issue. Such views are noted by Nigerians. Another plus for the party is that its only state, Lagos, before it won Edo and Ekiti states through legal fireworks, is working very well. Lagos under Tinubu and later Governor Raji Fashola has shown that governance can work in Nigeria.
To choose a worthy successor is in itself a great achievement. So many states are languishing terribly today for lack of credible successors. Many Nigerians would like the Lagos wonder replicated in their states. That is the winning streak of ACN. It has proved that through exemplary leadership, one party can indeed make a difference. That is the beauty of democracy and not how large a party is.