APC: The Calm Before the Storm By Abubakar Abba Sanusi
The final nod given to the All Progressives Congress by the independent National electoral commission came at the right time within the political circles of Nigeria. While the members of the APC family received the news with relief and joy, the members of the PDP family received it with apprehension especially because the new party is coming at a time when the PDP is facing so many challenges like the faceoff between the president and Gov. Amaechi, Tukur and Nyako etc.
Since the return to civilian rule in 1999, the opposition have never lived up to their name. They are often seen as appendages of the ruling party with their leaders often seen within the corridors of power soliciting for favours.
The few parties that gave PDP a good fight are usually regional parties that never got around defeating the PDP nationally. ACN had a good outing especially in the 2011 elections by defeating the ruling party in the South-West but they couldn’t replicate it especially in the North where the ANPP and the CPC struggled to win 3 and 1 states respectively while the PDP won the remaining states. APGA also got 2 states in the South-East.
The three main opposition parties ANPP, ACN, and CPC rightly figured out that for them to remain relevant and increase their outreach, they have to merge and form a formidable platform to free Nigeria from the iron grip of PDP that has so far proved to be disappointing. They have succeeded in giving birth to the party but the question is, will the APC survive the initial hiccups often associated with such mergers? Only time will tell if the unity will be sustained.
The APC is calm for now, basking in the euphoria of the celebrations. When such parties with regional dominance come together, each component party will try to muscle its way to get what it wants usually by blackmailing the other parties.
The choice of its presidential candidate will be the ultimate test of the party’s unity. Will they rally around the candidate that wins the primaries or are we going to witness a new crisis in a new party?
The APC is now a single united party but elements of the component parties will always form a clique within the party and strive to dominate everything. The aftermath of such power play will determine the lifespan of the union.
The leaders of the new party have a great task ahead of them. They need to position the party for leadership. No great political feat can be achieved without laying a solid foundation of discipline and commitment within the party first.
Nigerians sincerely need a strong opposition party that will shake the PDP to its foundations so that even if they don’t win the elections, they will keep them on their toes.
Abubakar Abba Sanusi writes from Abuja,Nigeria
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