APC Ignored this Advice from An Insider, Now The Party is Paying Dearly for It [READ]
Abusidiqu came across a purported letter written by a serving in the Nigeria Senate from Ekiti State, Senator Babafemi Ojudu to the core leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), advising the party on what it must do not only to save the Nigerian nation, but to give the party a strong footing to be the much desired change the country deserves.
The letter, believed to have been written in January, in the wake of the crisis that rocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was an internal communication between the Senator and the APC leaders.
Findings however revealed that while the Senator wrote the letter with the intent of getting the party to not only take advantage of the crisis in the PDP, but its failure to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people 15 years after to position itself as the party of the masses which it will turn around the fortunes of the country, the party didn’t take much of his advise.
Little wonder, the PDP after the crisis which saw 5 of its governor decamping to the APC has gradually bounced back from the crisis and has found its footing once again, whereas, the APC which many believed is need in the country is battling to make in roads into the minds of the electorates.
Abusidiqu reproduced Senator Babafemi Ojudu’s letter to the APC leaders for your reading pleasure.
APC – The Way To Go By Senator Babafemi Ojudu
I decided to write this owing to the strong perceptions and thoughts that I have been having in recent times, first concerning our country Nigeria, and second concerning the role of our party, the APC, in the historic moment that we may soon be passing through. The possibility of Nigeria’s imminent collapse seems to loom larger and larger. And then I see the prospect growing stronger and clearer that, if Nigeria is to survive, the APC will have to be the force to save, revive and rebuild Nigeria.
I believe that a historic opportunity is approaching our party. And I believe that our party is being called upon to do all that will be needed to prepare to step into the fray creditably and effectively, in order to save the country, protect democracy and remake Nigeria as the pride of all black people of the world.
While I was considering writing this piece, two incidents on the Nigerian stage emphasized the significance and urgency of it – both of them letters written to President Goodluck Jonathan and revealed in the media.
The first was by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, where he raised the mind-boggling allegation that the country’s biggest public revenue-earning institution, the NNPC, has been stealing the country’s patrimony.
According to the CBN Governor, the NNPC has failed to remit almost $50 billion representing 76% of the value of crude oil lifting between 2012 and 2013.
Since the CBN Governor’s letter reached the President and since it was revealed in the media, there have been denials here and there and even the CBN Governor has attempted a recant. But how many Nigerians believe his recantation?Oil is Nigeria’s lifeline. That even matters relating to the country’s lifeline have been handled in this manner by the NNPC and the CBN is yet another indication of the hole into which the country has sunk.
The second was the more controversial letter sent to the President by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo raised a number of apocalyptic issues that could have been dismissed as improbable but for the fact that we are all living witnesses to some of the already evident consequences of these issues. Those we are yet to experience are evidently in the womb of time.
Doubtless, President Obasanjo is the least credible person to raise the issues he raised in his controversial letter to President Jonathan, because he, for the most account, is “the author and finisher” of the fate that has befallen the country since he became president in 1999 and since he violated every rule in the book to install his two successors.
Yet, if President Obasanjo and those like him who have ensured that Nigeria would reach this precipice due to their unflinching opposition to good governance, justice, equity, true federalism and human development, could be alarmed by what we are witnessing and may soon be witnessing, then, all men and women of goodwill must realize that the Nigerian polity has been heated up to the point that a conflagration is imminent.
These two significant letters are coming against the backdrop of a collapse in governance at the centre, the loss of Nigeria’s sovereignty to the Boko Haram insurgents and terrorism in the north-east corner of the country, the reports of escalating oil thefts in the Niger Delta, the corrosive consequences of a bleeding economy, and a ruling party that is at war with itself.
In short, virtually all the most important pillars of strength on which Nigeria rests are wobbling or even crumbling.
Only our gradually emerging party, APC, seems now to hold any promise of strength for Nigeria for the future. And so the party must rouse itself, and rise up to the historic duty to lead the ramparts of the urgently needed national redemption. We must (re)organise our party and position it as a viable, virile and strong alternative to the rotten ruling party and the danger that it constitutes to the security, and even to the bare existence, of Nigeria.
THE STATE OF THE NATION
There is no doubt – as reflected in the two letters above and the admission of even leading members of the ruling party, and also leading democratic voices in the land – that Nigeria is on the brink. What will matter, however, is that we, as patriotic and progressive opposition politicians, should see the rot and the looming disaster as opportunities to reengineer politics in the country and remake Nigeria.
We cannot afford to ignore the warning signs or to see the dangers that lie ahead. We would have so failed if we do nothing concrete and fast.
We cannot, for instance, as a party and as citizens, delude ourselves that Nigerians of different ethnic groups are not thinking of alternatives to Nigeria. As things are today people are meeting all over the country preparing for what to do in case the country collapses. It is therefore incumbent on those of us, in particular, leaders of the opposition, as leaders who believe in a united and indivisible Nigeria, to do something urgently to save the nation from disappearing into the garbage dump of history.
In the womb of every decaying or perishing order is the possibility of a new birth.
The PDP is that decaying order and the APC must constitute the new birth. However, the APC cannot be so until we the leaders, have resolved to make the necessary sacrifices to build a party that is not only willing, but also ready, to provide hope for the people and keep the faith that Nigerians are waiting to invest in us.
I do not think there is any doubt left that the PDP has ceased being a significant factor. It is worse than a house divided unto itself, thus it cannot stand. Its heritage of crookedness and poor governance from the federal centre has at last caught up with it; Nigerians are increasingly rejecting and denouncing it; and the international community has at last seen it for what it has always been – the agency that has been distorting and ruining Nigeria. In all essence, the PDP has lost all semblance of power.
I repeat, power has being lost by the PDP, but it is yet to be found by anyone else. Indeed, the time is up for the PDP to be superseded by a strong alternative. That strong alternative is only waiting to find the power lost by the ruling party. However, that strong alternative must not only be willing, it must be ready to find the power on behalf of the people.
That strong alternative, let me warn, can be anybody or any group. It will be a tragedy for Nigeria if either PDP – or factions within it – is allowed to regain the power it has lost or if anti-democratic forces are allowed to fill the vacuum. Consequently, a lot relies on the APC.
The APC must win the confidence of Nigerians, find that power, and salvage Nigeria. History is calling on the APC to help secure the future of Nigeria as a united, successful and prosperous country.
If the APC fails to deliver on this burden that the people, history, and posterity have placed on it, it will be goodbye to a federal, united and prosperous Nigeria.Should we allow this to happen?
WHAT IS TO BE DONE
Our party has all the critical potentials needed to help save Nigeria – to find power so as to use it in rebuilding and remaking Nigeria.
We can leverage on the quality of governance in the APC states in Southwestern Nigeria and a few other states controlled by the new members of our party. We can use these states as the base to advance the cause of good governance, social and economic development, justice and equity in Nigeria – with the credible promise that we are set to establish these same qualities of governance in the federal centre.
In short, we should set out to use the states that we now control to brand the type of new government and new order that we are offering to Nigerians.
Very important also, we need to embark on a major programme of massively selling our party. Without question, our on-going political manoeuvring and high-profile contacts are valuable in the elite-driven politics of Nigeria. But we need now to start out very powerfully to sell our party to the common people of Nigeria. That will involve selling our party’s core messages to the people of Nigeria – in ways similar to the UPN’s selling of its core messages in the late -1970s.
If we were to conduct a survey across Nigeria today, we would discover that Nigerians cannot yet recognise the core messages of our new party. They may see some of our leaders as different from the present crop of PDP leaders, but most would find it difficult to identify our core messages – what our party stands for.
Therefore, I am suggesting an urgent task of branding for our party, which will involve the identification of core messages that we will sell to Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country. This core messages will constitute the foundation upon which we will mobilise our people, re-sensitise them to the cancer that the PDP constitutes to the Nigerian body-politic, and propel them towards supporting our party and gaining power for the benefit of the majority of Nigerians.
There are several critical constituencies in Nigeria that the APC is yet to speak to in the language of their fundamental concerns and interests, so that they can support us in building a mass party. These include women, the youth, workers, students, the unemployed, etc. We must have core messages that speak to the yearnings, aspirations and frustrations of these and other groups.
It is by doing this that we will lift Nigerian politics from the gutter and present our party to the world as not only a party of concerned people, but also a party of people of ideas who also have the capacity for action. As things stand now, we have only been talking about what is wrong with the PDP, we are yet to present a programmatic agenda about what we seek to do about Nigeria. Yet, we have enough experienced leaders, intellectuals, visionaries and men and women, young and old, with ideas on how to propel our party to power through mass mobilization based around an agenda for national rebirth.
There also are very many Nigerians who do not now belong to our party – intellectuals, labour unionists, business people, professionals, leaders of various societal groups at home and in the diaspora – who are seriously concerned about Nigeria and who, if we were to strive to involve them in the task of Nigeria’s rebirth, would warmly join the struggle.
In fact, enrolling such elements in our party’s struggle will have the effect of giving our party the image of a party that deserves to be trusted to chart a new path for Nigeria. Nigeria is facing a desperate emergency. Our party must not only demonstrate that we recognise this, it must also take the kinds of steps that can convince our people and the international community that we are capable of rallying Nigerians in new ways for new goals – for the making of a new Nigeria.
In the few months of the existence of the APC, by acts of omission or commission, we have presented the picture of a party that wants power for the sake of power, despite the glaring incompetence of the ruling party and its office-holders. As the PDP at the centre fumbles from one scandal to the other, we have failed to seize the day to present our party as not only the viable, but the sole, alternative to the PDP, not merely as a group, but also clearly as a radically different body of ideas and ethos of society, leadership obligations, human rights, etc. We need to strike out to create a solid identity for our party as the party of the people that will give power back to the people.
We MUST start today to do so.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from coming out with our core messages, we must also fashion out a way to fire the imagination of the most important constituencies among the people and the electorate. We must create an inspiring agenda to give hope to millions of our youths, including school age young people, and employed, under-employed or unemployed youths who have become cynical about politics and government.
We need to identify not only the critical issues to address about them and to them, but to also choose the right messengers to deliver this messages. We must have the leading voice and be the leading voice for youth issues.
There are youth leaders who are wholly trusted by youths. We must find a way to sell the people-centred ideology of our party to such youth leaders and convince them of the need to be on the good side of history. These youth leaders will be the ones speaking to the youths on our behalf in the language that the youths understand. This is the only way to galvanize youths and get them convincingly on board the APC train.
There was a time China and South Korea were sending their youths to study in the US and Europe, with an elicited promise to come back and build their countries. These youths, now adults, are in charge of every sector of these Nation’s economies today. We can include it in our education programme that the best youths will have the opportunity to learn the best of technology, statesmanship, economic and human management in Europe or the US and return to take charge of the country’s economy. Unless we make the youths feel as though Nigeria belongs to them, we would not be able to convince them as to the genuiness of our party as there is already the mistrust and belief that the older generation does not believe in their abilities and potentials and is not ready to relinquish power to them.
We must develop a youth committee that will use all the new information and communication technologies to raise millions of members and potential supporters among the youth for our party. This can be the basis for engineering a new form of membership recruitment and commitment based on new technologies.
But we cannot do this without first coming out with what we seek to do about a society that hurts so many of our youths. And these relate to our agenda on education, youth employment, skills acquisition and training, health and social welfare. Information & Communication Technology and agriculture are major employers of labour and they are not necessarily long term. We can key into this.
Regarding women, who constitute more than half of the population of Nigeria, the party also needs to promote genuine leaders among women within the party and attract many more brilliant, energetic, patriotic and committed women to the party. We must choose women leaders who would not be leaders just for the sake of personal aggrandizement and acquisitions, but those who are committed to the cause of our women folk.
For this, we have many potential women leaders in the civil society that need to be invited to join our party and lead the recruitment of women members and potential voters across the country. But also, first we need to have an agenda for women in our party programme, upon which the activities of our women leaders will be based – beyond arranging a bazaar of ostentatious display of fashion and beauty.
This must include issues affecting women and children, including health (maternal and infant mortality are important questions to address in our agenda), education (including of the girl-child), sexual discrimination and abuse, gender equality, employment, social welfare, etc. Once this is done, we can give a mandate to our new women leaders to start an unparalleled process of recruitment of women membership, one that would be unrivalled by any other party in Nigeria’s history.
As regards labour, even though there is a Labour Party in name in Nigeria, one of our most important focusses of attention is the labour force. The present unemployment rate in Nigeria is almost 24%. This is an unjust and unacceptable number. When those who are under-employed or not gainfully employed are added to the statistics, the percentage can be as high as 40% or more.
Youth and women unemployment represent the worst aspects of this plague. The reality is that between a quarter to almost half of our potential labour force in Nigeria under the PDP government are either unemployed or underemployed. This is a disaster that we can use in campaigning against the ruling party and also in mobilising support and building a grassroots party.
We have a former leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) as a governor in our party. We can use his experience and network to create a critical wing of the party that will mobilise the labour force (both the employed and unemployed) to spread the gospel of our party. However, as stated earlier, first we need to have a labour policy and an agenda for massive job creation within the first two years of our coming to power at the centre.
We have the resources to mine data and create a viable agenda that we can present to Nigerians and upon which we can campaign for the support of our people.
In all these cases, we need to replicate the leadership of these roles at every level, zonal, state, local government and ward. And there must be intense networking and synergy at all these levels.
Related to the above is the challenge of how to ensure that we have a free and fair election in Nigeria during the next major elections. Delta and Anambra States in recent times have demonstrated to us that the PDP, with its local allies in the states, is growing bolder by the day in electoral robbery. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has become an accomplice to the regular crime of electoral theft. There are many measures that our party needs to take to forestall rigging of elections.
One of such measures, I like to suggest is to recruit and train a large cadre of youths across the country who have enough understanding and commitment to monitor elections and resist election rigging.
The PDP must realise that it cannot and will not get away with stealing the people’s mandate again in 2015. This has to be demonstrated to the party well ahead of the 2015 elections. We have the backing of the international community in this area and we must seek their support and reaffirm their commitment.
The Nigerian Diaspora is another critical area which the APC leadership is yet to pay adequate attention to. Nigeria now has one of the most sophisticated, the most educated and the most engaged Diaspora in the world. In the United States, Nigerians constitute one of the most educationally-advanced Diaspora groups.
The APC needs the help of the Diaspora. They have unbelievable skills, capacities and networks that can be useful in winning elections and running a good government. And most of the people in the Diaspora are united about their dissatisfaction with what the PDP has made of Nigeria since 1999.
Many of them are dual citizens who have influence in their countries of domicile, which have also become their home countries. They are willing to help; we must embrace this. We need to have a high-level Diaspora-Affairs Committee in the APC which will organize conferences of Diaspora units for cross fertilization of ideas and conscious recruitment of talented individuals into the party leadership structure.
The intellectual resources in Nigeria too must not be ignored. The APC needs to consciously recruit intellectuals, scholars, professionals, brilliant and resourceful young men and women that can form a leadership recruitment cell for the party going into the future.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo used this to a great advantage in achieving all that we today acknowledged he achieved. They can serve as useful resource base for the party’s agenda, policies and processes. These are the resources that our leaders will also depend on in responding to critical issues and the challenges that the party will face from now on.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org