Shekarau and the outcome of ANPP Convention
At last, the intrigues and political power play about the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) national convention, which had lingered for months, eventually took place on 18 th and 19 th September 2010 with the election of new executive members of the party under the consensus leadership of a one time governor of Abia State , Dr. Onu Ogbonnoya as the party national chairman. Going by the outcome of the party convention, it indicates that members of this largest opposition party are now ready to sheath sword and confront the monster called PDP that has been enslaving our country for the past 11 years with impunity.
Hitherto, there had been some internal bickering in ANPP that warranted several postponement of its national convention. The crisis was mainly due to the disagreement between the former executive council under the then chairmanship of Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke and those allegedly believed are the loyalists of the party presidential aspirant, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau , Sardaunan Kano. As a matter of fact, concerned members of the party were not comfortable with the way and manner the former Chairman and his executives had run the affairs of the party, which they considered as a disaster. Ume Ezeoke used his four years sojourn as ANPP chairman to flirt with the ruling national party whose son is a Special Adviser to President Jonathan. It was believed that if the way and manner Ezeoke was mesmerizing with PDP was not checked, he was willing to repackage the party and sell it to PDP as he had done in the past when he handed over ANPP to PDP under the guise of Government of National Unity , which paved way for the appointment of his son as Special Adviser to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Dissatisfied by Ezeoke's misconduct and the unsatisfactory manner of his tenure, the concerned members of the party allegedly loyal to Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau found it expedient to put a check on Ezeoke's excesses. This became glaring when the plan to conduct the party national convention were postponed consistently. Later, some people allegedly loyal to the former Chairman and under the influence of PDP lucked up the venue of the ANPP national convention. This gave the impression that Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke was not willing to relinquish power peacefully since his tenure had almost ended because it was all glaring that he was ready to do PDP's bidding. Irked by this manipulative instinct, some large number of ANPP members allegedly for Shekarau had meeting and passed vote of no confidence of Chief Ume Ezeoke led National Executive Council. They were instantly sacked and a care taker committee constituted to oversee the party affairs. On 2 nd September 2010, the former Chairman and its fellow travelers also went ahead to conduct another separate meeting where they also set aside the care taker committee and its earlier decision.
But one thing was very unique in the decision taken by the two factions of the party. They both fixed 17 th and 18 th September 2010 for the party national convention. Technically, it showed that the two factions were working for a common cause. While this internal political hullabaloo was taking place, the enemy of the party was hoping that the crises would lead to disintegration of the party to enable them take undue advantage. As a matter of fact, the big brothers in PDP were busy swallowing heavy saliva that a final blow was taking toll on its major opposition party in the country and thus, it would be in position to have an easy pass in the forthcoming general elections. This, however, is not so.
On 17 th September 2010, ANPP delegates were in Abuja for their long time expected convention. They took stock of the party's performance and came out with unanimous decision to forget their differences and work together as a team if the party should make any difference in the big task ahead. It is in the spirit of peace and unity of the party that many personalities who had indicated their interest for some executive position in NEC thought twice and retraced their steps. At the end of the day, it was also unanimously agreed that consensus should be adopted on the new party chairman and other members of the NEC. This was how the former governor of Abia State, Dr. Onu Ogbonnaya was arrived at as a man who can unite and bring progress to the party. One fundamental thing happened. It was clear that even before the acceptance of Dr. Onu as the party consensus candidate for party Chairman; he had to request the endorsement of such consensus by the party presidential aspirants, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, which the latter graciously approved and all but one stepped down for Dr. Onu
In spite of the above development, there is this chairmanship aspirant who believes that the party constitution has no room for consensus and therefore would not step down for any body. This, according to him was particularly so since they have come to do election, it should be done to determine the winner. This man is one time Chairman of the party BOT, Mr. Harry Akande. Of course, in democracy, every one will always have his wish but majority will have their way. Election was conducted and Akande lost to Onu. This is what democracy entails. Thereafter, Dr. Onu Ogbonnaya pledged to unite all and take the party out of the doldrums. This was how Onu emerged the chairman of the All Nigeria People's Party during the recent convention of the party held in Abuja.
But the fifth columnists and their agents of disunity would not simply give up in their treacherous instinct and avowed desire to see to the continuous disunity of ANPP. Having failed to realize their hatched plan against the party unity, they want us to believe that Harry Akande was Shekarau's 'candidate' and since he failed, Shekarau's camp failed. These agents of doom would not want to understand what consensus means. They do not want to understand the fact that with consensus, the notion of someone sponsoring another was no longer tenable as every one was on his own. So, it did not surprise any right thinking people to read the misleading report injected by some oppositions and their paid partisan reporters said that Shekarau's 'candidate' did not win at the party convention. Whatever this insinuation was meant to achieve, we must learn to be fair, even to our enemies.
In the first instance, this type of people are yet to convince us beyond reasonable doubt other than hearsay who told them that Harry Akande was Shekarau's candidate. The same thing happened in 2006 when Buhari's lawyer, Chief Ahamba could not win the ANPP chairmanship. The gossips alluded that it was Shekarau who caused his failure. If Akande had won at the convention, the story would have been that Shekarau used money to rig for Akande. Whatever way the pendulum swings, the opposition must have some thing to say. So, why should we bother by what they say and write knowing full well that such is being done just to luck horns. In spite of all this brouhaha, we are happy that ANPP resolved their differences and made the convention a reality. The harmonious relationship is urgently required by the party to be able to tackle the monsters heads on.
As a result of greed, avarice, desperation, unhealthy competition, capitalistic despot, injustice, corruption and insincerity of purpose, which have permeated the air of insecurity in the country, the Nigerian people have been put in miasma of hopelessness under the corrupt, indolent and wicked party called PDP. Ordinarily, the PDP that should have addressed all these negative traits is not serious about them. Nigerians have lost confidence in it. ANPP is therefore the alternative for viable polity and economic progress. It is a party that believes in the saying that united we stand, divided we fall. One is however not unaware about the black stomachs in the midst of ANPP and even outside its enclaves. It is normal of a good thing to come. After all, no political party in the world can achieve total loyalty from its members.
No matter the injuries, pains and frustration, we must not forget in hurry that even our tongues and teeth do crush one another in the course of eating and chewing to swallow. This is why ANPP led by Dr. Ogbonnaya must set aside parochial and narrow minded interest among his party men and women to be able to achieve the desired objective. Any body that destroys his house, hoping to repair another man's house is a joker and will sooner or later regret. Here, I wish to congratulate all the ANPP members for not being part of the 'kill and goes' during the just concluded convention especially in spite of all odds. They should continue to exhibit such patriotic gesture because it is the only way in which the party can realize their goals. As the 2011 elections get close, I urge all ANPP members to redouble their efforts towards sheathing their differences and ensuring that they win most of the elections including Presidential poll . As the largest opposition party in the country, it is in the best position to throw away the PDP ruling party out of the ring. May God answer this prayer and many more of others, amen.
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano