PARTY COMMUNICATIONS: MY CONCERNS ON OYEGUN'S DIRECTIVES
On the 25th September, 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) released a stern warning to all its members, particularly National Executive members and State Publicity Secretaries against the indecorous meddlesomeness of unauthorised individuals on issues beyond their beats and offices in the party.
To underscore the importance of the warning, the release was personally signed by the party's National Chairman and elder statesman, Chief John Oyegun. For those in the know, Chief Oyegun hardly releases statement under his hand. This may not be unconnected to his deference to the sanctity of the office of the National Publicity Secretary of our great party and his Deputy, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Comrade Timi Frank, respectively.
That Chief Oyegun went out of his way to append his signature on such press release is instructive of the worry he and his compatriots in the NWC of our party feel in respect of a festering scourge that seems to be taking a life of his own in our party. I commend the leadership of the APC on this timely intervention, although it remains to be seen how the party hopes to balance the dictate of its own constitution which creates the Office of the National Deputy Publicity Secretary and assigned it its roles and the seemingly attrition that exist within its rank.
That Mr. Timi Frank was not mentioned alongside Chief Oyegun and Alhaji Lai Mohammed as a party official that also enjoys the statutory responsibility of releasing statements and other public representations on behalf of the party is a huge source of worry for me, and rightly so for other party members who have expressed similar sentiments.
Personally, as a Publicity Secretary of the APC at the state level myself, I must confess that I received the warning with mixed feelings. First, I am elated that my several calls for the control of the activities of some state APC spokespersons have not gone unnoticed. That what seemed like a lone voice in the wilderness then is now a subject of a high-level warning from the national leadership of our party is re-assuring and heart-warming.
However, I am concerned that as strict as the warning, some loose cannons will still take advantage of their closeness to the seat of media organisations to defile this timely order or hide under the anonymity of opinion columns and the social media to flout the directive.
This is my worry, and I have not only been around for so long to know that this worry is plausible but also closely affected by the phenomenon of meddlesome interlopers to affirm that we may yet see the end of the menace. In fact, I was recently constrained, in my capacity of the party's Publicity Secretary in Kwara state, to call a brother and friend, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the Publicity Secretary of our party in Lagos State, an impostor because of what is considered as his unguarded vituperations against senior members of the party including Alhaji Musa Kwankwoso, Mr. Dino Melaye and Dr. Bukola Saraki, etc. I have had to chide Mr. Igbokwe because of this indiscretion and many more.
But among the aforementioned, no other personality has suffered the indignity of such vuvuzelas as much the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki. Senator Saraki has been severally maligned by people who should be his own party members! Not even in the PDP, where indiscipline is the order of the day is any respected senior party member so derided by their own as the Senate President has been so treated by those who hide under their privileged portfolios to settle personal scores. For others, it is just about being noticed or registering a mention in the papers!
Unfortunately, all of these categories of people have found the Senate President as an easy scapegoat because of the penchant of a section of the media to make anything 'Saraki' their punching pad. Quite strangely, people whose hands should ordinarily be full because of the enormous rot in their states only always find their voices when it is to bash the Senate President. You will then begin to wonder what exactly the beat of this bunch is beyond the Saraki bashing fiesta!
Come to think of it, is it not unconscionable and indecorous for an unauthorised party man, no matter how highly placed and connected, to make representation on behalf of the party? It is even worse when such representation is made to spite or ridicule one party member for another for any reason whatsoever. Where then is the place of discipline in our party?
Where is the sanctity of our constitution and code of conduct which clearly stipulate offices and officers? How can we pride ourselves as a people of organisation and decorum when otherwise respectable party chiefs willfully breach party rules in a bid to be noticed? This is the golden rule that I believe our respected party chair seeks to achieve – discipline! And I believe that all party men and women of good conscience will rally round this noble cause in order to restore the glory of our party which an insignificant but lousy few now seek to disparage.
As for us in the Kwara State chapter of the APC, we reiterate our commitment to party discipline and supremacy at all times. We not only stand by the Chief Oyegun-led NWC on this directive but also pledge our loyalty to it in its bid to redirect the party on the path of sanity and discipline. As a concrete demonstration of this commitment, the Chairman of the party in Kwara State, Hon. Ishola Balogun-Fulani has communicated the party's directive on communications to all party chieftains, including even the party's public secretaries at the local government and ward levels. Anyone found contravening this will be made to face the full wrath of such recalcitrance. It is therefore our hope that other State Chairmen across the 35 states and the FCT will take a cue from this and also do the needful.
***Alhaji Sulyman Buhari is Kwara State APC Publicity Secretary.