Tuesday, October 8, 2013
HOW APC WILL CLINCH POWER AT THE CENTRE IN 2015 (If Socialist Concerns aren't addressed)
"With so many unions on strike in Nigeria as at today and with many more to join, every concerned Nigerian is truly worried about the near future" Dr. Omoruyi
"Could the socio-political convulsions witnessed in Nigeria today be the birth pangs that would usher in a new government that would collaborate more with labour, be more welfarist in its approach and perhaps adopts more socialist-populist policies rather than elitist ones? Could the political centre of gravity be shifting to the left? The next 2 years will tell" irokotheneosocialist
If the history of alliances and mergers in Nigeria are anything to go by, then the only thing standing between APC and Aso Rock in 2015 is APC itself with the major challenge being the selection process of their flag bearer for the next general elections. With the internal wrangling in PDP and the centrifugal forces threatening to pull the party apart it is highly doubtful that they will pose any threat to the APC. No party in history has ever gone into an election polarized and trumped its opponents.
That APCs chances at the next elections are so bright as to worry the most optimistic PDP stalwart is an already established fact. All an opponent really needs to do is to exploit his co-contestants weakness which in the case of PDP is its ever increasing fractionalization. If APCs candidate uses his challengers perceived strength as a weapon in the contest, he will undoubtedly trounce his opposition, as PDP carries a baggage too much to bear. There is no gainsaying the fact that the much touted positive of PDP being the largest party in Africa remains debatable at best and is sheer propaganda at its worst. The African National Congress (ANC) remains the most remarkable party in Africa and an emblem of African Democracy. Worthy of note also is that the APC is fast moving towards becoming Nigeria’s version of the ANC. As every worthy opponent is wont to do in any contest therefore, the ANC would only have to exploit PDPs wide spread by turning a seeming positive into a negative.
The inherent problem in all larger than life structures is that of control. This writer had predicted that a time will come when it would become increasingly difficult for any National Chairman to control such a metastasizing behemoth as PDP. Most especially as the party is known to build individuals more than it builds institutions. As these things play out before our eyes and in a frantic bid to control the party, the party chairman will of necessity have to centralize all decisions of the party an irksome act in itself that will certainly draw opprobrium from the strong individuals the party has built over the years. The national leadership will increasingly become high handed, autocratic and unilateral in decision making. These are natural course of events that lead to the demise of any great organization. I posited years ago that I do not envy whoever shall be in the saddle of leadership when the mystery that is PDP begins to unravel. The current leadership of the party may well be seen as its finest ever. This has to be so because the finest surgeons emerge in times of emergency and the best leaders are known in times of crisis. This is obviously a crisis period and of course APCs finest hour. That the leadership of the PDP has responded with grave concern taking sometimes extreme measures out of fear for the dwindling fortunes of the party is to be expected. This writer is obviously sympathetic with the onerous responsibilities borne by the Party’s national chair. On the other hand that these extreme and necessary steps drew the ire of the strong individuals in the party was a matter of natural consequence.
One structure the PDP as a party must put in place as a matter of expediency is a National Youth League, to borrow what the ANC did in the years when they were threatened with ossification. A vibrant youth league led by actual youths will put the gerontocracy in the party today at abeyance simply by lighting progressive fires under their seats. There has never been motion without heat and the more rapid the progress the more fervent the heat. The best gambit the PDP has in the present precarious circumstance is to stop its media assistants and public relations advisers from returning vitriol for vitriol in public statements regarding the APC. By being so pedestrian and juvenile they are only falling into booby traps, proving to be the current administrations worst enemy in words and in deeds. The second best gambit is for the PDP, having given Nigeria her first president from a minority tribal group, is to promise that it will give Nigeria her first ever female president.
A failure to take the above analysis into cognizance will no doubt cement the APCs claim on the youth in Nigeria, on the emerging middle class, on the professionals and technocrats and more strategically on the trade unions in the nation. It is my candid opinion that the APC is making bold incursions into these segments of society much to the consternation of the PDP. A viable ally of the APC is obviously the Civil Society Organizations. If the strategic thinkers in PDP think otherwise it’s a pity that they’re so deluded. Maybe a lesson or two from history will rouse them from their slumber.
The African National Congress in 1943 had a National President who carried himself with such superciliousness that the party was never seen in those days as a mass movement. At certain crossroads in a nations history such as we are at now, a mass organization stands a better chance at the polls. The ANC of those years was made up of mostly gentlemen, there were no radical elements. They did things according to the English mans pattern forgetting that Africans can never be whites and whites can never be Africans. The leadership of the ANC then had forged alliances with the establishment and would never go against the grain. They curried favor from the presidency of South Africa and would never speak against it. The National Chairman of the ANC then Dr. Xuma had immense investments in the health care industry and didn’t want to jeopardize them by having a populist agenda. His agenda quite predictably were elitist - The exact opposite of what South Africa needed, and the exact prostrate situation of the PDP today. It took the genius of Nelson Mandela then just around 25 years of age but under the mentorship of political heavy weights like Anton Lembede and Peter Mda to together, demand for the formation of a Youth League. Nelson would later become leader of the Youth League at age 30 years. The primary purpose of the Youth League was to give direction to the ANC.
In the decades immediately after the civil war, the situation in the United States was a replica of the Nigerian situation today. It was an age of the ‘robber barons’ men like Mellon, Carnegie, Pierpont Morgan and JD Rockefeller. Rockefeller for one was so rich that three quarters of all state legislators were his cronies. The 1876 presidential election was massively rigged in favor of the Republican party, the ultra conservative elitist party of the American establishment. Politicians were just puppets of big business and great political machinery who dominated America’s cities in three words patronage, corruption and political jobbery. This corrupt America produced the presidency of Chester Arthur, ‘a kindergarten president’, if ever there was such a word, chosen precisely because he wouldn’t give the established protocol any heat. The Southerners were pauperized while the Northerners were enriched. Religious extremism and white supremacy was rife and the Ku Klux Clan held sway in the south spawning a terrorism based one white domination. Some even wondered if the civil war had ended the right way with the defeat of the Confederate states and their assimilation into the United States.
America got out of this mess precisely thus; In the midst of the corruption a new middle class arose as is currently happening the world over. These small town teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, activists and writers who hated the plutocracy and gerontocracy of the big city fat cats and their political machinery, who wanted to see fair elections, who wanted America’s core values restored, who wanted a general clean up of the whole system arose. Men like Robert La Follette gave impetus and ideological drive to this group. They were called THE PROGRESSIVES. La Follete became the Progressive Governor of Winsconsin and Theodore Roosevelt, the progressive governor of New York. Theodore Roosevelt had earlier formed the party after falling out with the leadership of the Republican Party based on his ideology of Nationalism as against British Imperialism, Populism as against elitism and Progressive Financialism as against cronyism.
Indeed, Roosevelt boasted after surviving an assassination attempt that ‘it takes more than a bullet to kill a Bull’. His first victory was vanquishing the strong man of New York society, Tammany Hall. His second task was the Urban Renewal of New York City. That city as you know it today owes a lot to Roosevelt who was labeled a socialist, as most Democrats are labeled till date and at worse times they’re labeled communists. Not to worry for Nelson Mandela was imprisoned under the Suppression of Communism act. Back to Roosevelt, when it was obvious that La Follette was too visible, Teddy Roosevelt was a natural choice for the Progressive Presidential ticket. He went on to form alliances with other like minded politicians – his greatest strength, he asserted the power of the constitution over big money and impunity, he became the most popular president since after Abraham Lincoln, he brought the plutocrats and gerontocrats to heel, which was exactly what they feared. He taxed big business relentlessly, prosecuted tax evaders viciously and his example was followed by his successors whether Republican or Democrat for the sheer success of it. Woodrow Wilson memorably walked in his shoes. By !920 American Trabsformation was complete- a transformation made possiblr by thr progressives. Of course there were still pockets of corruption for corruption never totally disappears but nothing could ever be the same again. To further prove the success of the Progressives experiment, Americans sure didn’t mind voting Roosevelts nephew, Franklin Delano Roosevelt into power in 1932 at which time America was already the Super Power of the world, retaining much of his uncles Progressive impulse.
The All Progressives Congress of Nigeria therefore being acutely aware of history have modeled their ideology after this Progressive Party of America majority of whom found their way to the Democratic Party. The APC has also taken several cues from the ANC in South Africa with their natural allure to the youths of Nigeria. The Progressives have brought these issues to the front row of national discuss:
The amorality and unethical processes of Leadership Selection in Nigeria.
The executive recklessness that has fanned the embers of dissent
The increasing polarization of the country based on religious, ethnic and geographical sentiments
The seeming lack of a sense of nationhood sacrificed on the altar of tribal nationalism
The sheer fraud inherent in the Constitution of the Federal Republic
The Indigene Settler divide that has caused internal displacement of persons
Tax evasion by big businesses and their cronies in government with huge investment in sprawling real estate and no value to the national coffers.
The onshore offshore dichotomy, the subsidy scam and an oil sector generally riddled with plutocracy
The oil spillage oil producing communities and Governments negligence
The land use act that favors only the elite
The urban centers and Big Cities that are nothing more than country sides
A political class that continues to build strong individuals while sabotaging institutions
The middle class which is emerging in other nations but shrinking in Nigeria
The APCs chances by geographical region are best analyzed as follows:
Oil spillage remains a sore thumb in this region and the Nigerian government cannot claim to have done anything what so ever in that regard.
Oil bunkering is a national calamity with as much as 400 000 barrells of crude lost a day. Paying ex militants to secure these facilities hasn’t reduced the theft and the Nigerian Government isn’t quick to find alternative solutions.
Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in past President Obasanjo’s words remains a clever politician and a proud son of the Ikwerre community. And his present travails if his interview with the BBC hard talk host is anything to go by isn’t unconnected with the PDPs struggle for survival.
APC stands a high chance of sweeping Rivers State clean
Meanwhile in Edo State, Gov. Adams Oshiomolhe has done in 5 years what all past governments of the state since inception have failed to do. He has upgraded infrastructure in the state at frenetic pace, fired up industrial activity in the previously moribund Factories of the state. He has enforced extant tax laws with messianic zeal. Edo state is fully APC
Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers State can swing either way but are more likely to go APCs way.
Delta state remains to close to call.
South West States
Strong proponents of regional integration and the bastion of APC, PDP will need to pull some fast ones on the electorate to get majority votes in any of the wards in that region. Every state in the region will go APCs way
South East States
It is common knowledge that Gov. Rochas Okorocha is immensely influential both as a national figure and amongst his tribesmen. Having swept PDP out of power, denying their candidate a second term in office, it remains to be seen if his romance with the APC will be his albatross or his gambit. But if his popularity, clout and sheer propaganda is anything to go by, he will deliver Imo to APC.
Anambra state is still dangling between a wobbling APGA and a factionalized PDP. APC will most likely snatch a narrow victory there given the capacity of men like Senator Ngige.
Ebonyi state has been saddled with gerontocracy for years. And they will most likely tilt in favor of APC if for nothing out of a desire to unshackle themselves from PDP.
Enugu and Abia states remain too close to call. I dare say they are firmly PDP.
Borno and Yobe States are firmly APC states if sentiments of residents on ground are anything to go by. It is highly unlikely that PDP will make any impact in those states. They haven’t been great fans of the PDP since the
Adamawa state is currently embroiled in a battle of wits between the National Chairman of PDP and the state Governor. Every permutation says the state isn’t firmly in PDPs grasp. A certain Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is easily the most prominent of all Gen Shehu Musa Yar’aduas protégé’s. A one time Vice President in the President Obasanjo administration he remains one of the strongest men in the North contrary to what PDP may think. It is in PDPs best interest to keep him in their fold. If for any reason Alhaji Atiku Abubakar joins APC, the entire North may just swing against PDP. They will treat this advice with levity only to their own peril. He is the swing man in 2015.
Bauchi State is too close to call.
Taraba state Governor has been away for months. It will take a miracle for PDP to regain that state. APC is sure to make bold incursions there.
The states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano Katsina and Jigawa may just be safe havens for PDP. However Gov. Sule Lamido of Jigawa state has been exhibiting strong socialist tendencies of late with a definite progressivism launched by his administration. He is the strongest proponent of the Talakawa movement. As a beautiful bride he is being wooed by all at the moment. PDP knows better than to lose him to APC. The fate of APC in the region may just depend on whether they can land him in their fold. He is another swing man in 2015.
In recent weeks a new wave of identity politics has swept the region comprising Niger, Nassarawa, Kwara, Plateau, Kogi and Benue. The deciding factor is which party will give them the separate identity they seek. They wish to be known as the Middle Belt and not North Central.
In the days of Action Group under Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Middle Belt was a centre of progressive politics and the United Middle Belt Front remained a strong ally of the AG. If history is to repeat itself, Senator Gabriel Suswam of Benue state may help swell the ranks of APC in the region. However Benue state remains strongly PDP.
Gov. Babangida Aliyu is another influential Northern figure who though he is strongly PDP may cede a large chunk of Niger state to the Progressives.
The other states are reliably PDP.
APC must forthwith insist that their party isn’t a muslim party. They must not allow that label stick.
Furthermore, they must continue to admit into their ranks break aways from other parties. That is a strength in itself.
Ogbonnaya Onu, Gov. Rochas Okorocha and Senator Chris Ngige must convinve South-Easterners that the APC will best serve their interest whatever those interests may be.
The security agencies in this country must abide by the principle of neutrality. They must not take sides with PDP. They must refute the current accusations that APC is behind the incessant bombings in the North.
Dr. Obasi Ndubisi
A Public Affairs Analyst Resides in Abuja