South-South & South-East APC: Beyond The Rhetoric
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." - Robert A. Heinlein
It is easy for one to understand that the performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 General elections in the South-South and South-East of Nigeria was due to multiple draconian factors which diabolically suppressed the will of the masses. We all know the 'orubebeic' attitude of those who rode on the wings of the PDP-led Federal Government. To them, it was fight to kill.
Firstly, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan along with his extraordinarily vocal first lady, hail from the region in question. This particular factor attributed to the enormity of religious and tribal sentiments that were thrown into the presidential campaigns a la "our brother must return as President", "we don't care whether he performed or not", "all we want is the presidency", "must the North remain in power?" et al. These were the types of archaic sentiments that filled the air; just give us Jonathan and take everything else!
Secondly, the PDP was the type of ruling party that had no iota of constraint when it came to unleashing Nigeria's security apparatus on the opposition. Scores of innocent APC members were hounded down and incarcerated at the instance of powers from above. In those days, it was almost an anathema to voice out one's support for Muhammadu Buhari, the northern Hausa-Fulani Muslim against Jonathan, our own Southern Igbo/Ijaw Christian brother. Indeed, those dark days are never to be forgotten.
Thirdly, there was a criminal alliance in this region to keep the erstwhile government in power at all cost. Not a few cabals of men and women who made illicit wealth from the government took up a suicidal stance against Buhari's victory. They were afraid of the emergence of an incorruptible veteran like Buhari; his Presidency was a nightmare that became reality. They gathered brutal forces against anything APC in this region. Assassination, kidnapping, and all manner of evil descended heavily on the stock of APC. From Rivers State to Yanagoa, you dare not say that you are an APC member. Even in Delta, Calabar, and Abia, any APC man or woman was tagged a terrorist and sentenced to death. It was worse in those days.
Be that as it may, those dark days are gone for good. It is no longer an acceptable excuse for the seemingly non-active posture of the APC in the South-South and South-East of Nigeria. The popular saying that "all politics is local", is not playing out well in this region. There seems to be a big disconnect between the government at the centre and the citizenry, the locals, or even the rank and file of APC. Without prejudice to committed APC die-hards, the message of change is not being preached on our streets and creeks this very moment. Something is wrong somewhere.
In politics like in other facets of human endeavour, communication is key. The APC in the South-South and South-East of Nigeria are unfortunately on the defence end of the communication ring. They have allowed the PDP to systematically cease the entire media reach in the region. There is a false message being propagated by the PDP about how the APC government is making things worse for the masses. At a time, Nigerians from this region were chanting "bring back corruption". Incredible, isn't it?
The National leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) must rise up to the task at hand and rejig the party in the South-South and South-East. The way it is at the moment, it appears as though the responsibility of shepherding has become the burden of a few party leaders from this region. This shouldn't be the case at all, because APC as a national party must spread its tentacles throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria if it wants to succeed beyond 2019. There should be a strategy that is specifically designed with a high outreach potency in mind. It's time to localise APC.