It’s normal that we do things most often triggered by reasons of individual idiosyncrasies. In fact, lending my voice to issues surrounding national politics is one thing I usually do with passion. It’s widely believed that in democracy, foremost decisions are always arrived at in reflection with the common and majority voices reinforced with impeccable evidence. But doing it the other way has always proven as the main cause of chaos and disagreement in any democratic setting, either at the level of internal party democracy or governance at the epicenter.
As usual, I was prompted to write this piece just as a rider to an exclusive story published by Daily Trust of February 27, 2021, captioned, “2023: 6 former governors eyeing APC chairmanship seat”. Also, while I was thinking on how to go about it and to satisfy my human curiosity, an irksome headline by Premium Times hit the cyberspace, attracting debate from political pundits, public affairs analysts, and social media influencers. It was an interview granted by the former governor of Borno state, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, where he expressed his intention to contest for the APC chairmanship if zoned to the North-east.
By means of a glimpse at history, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed in early 2013 with the merger of the legacy parties – the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), among others, – as an alternative platform to wrest power from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP had ruled the country for 16 consecutive years.
It’s no doubt that the APC enjoyed Buhari’s popularity and support from angry members of the PDP through the formation of the New-PDP. They include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former governors of Kano, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; Sokoto, Aliyu Wamakko; Rivers, Rotimi Amaechi; Kwara, Abdulfatah Ahmed; Adamawa, Murtala Nyako.
Similarly, another strong team that moved from the PDP to the APC prior to the 2015 general election comprised former governors of Kebbi, Adamu Aliero; Gombe, Danjuma Goje; Osun Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former acting National Chairman of PDP, Abubakar Baraje and former Speaker of the House of Representatives and present Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, among others.
As it is today, most of the aforementioned political bigwigs – Atiku Abubakar, Kwankwaso, Saraki, Tambuwal and many others – have returned to the PDP simply because the APC had failed to consolidate itself within the party firmament by collapsing the walls of the legacy parties after the 2015 general election. In fact, this requires a strong party leadership engrossed in passion and sincere commitment.
In some months to come, the APC is going to decide whether to maintain power beyond 2023 or cede it to the PDP, which seems to leverage on the ruling party’s abysmal mistakes and lack of strong and experienced party structure and leadership.
Consequently, most of the factors that favoured the party in 2015 and 2019 are no longer tenable in 2023 when President Buhari will be rounding off his tenure. The government is being blamed for the insecurity bedeviling the country as it was done to PDP in 2015; the APC is in disarray in many states. What the party needs the most is a versatile, strong, bold, experienced, committed national chairman, who knows the political chemistry of the nation and has a wide connection. Among those penciled by the media is a former minister, former two-term governor of Gombe state, and a third time senator, Danjuma Goje.
If really APC wants to go beyond 2023, the most qualified person to drive the party is Goje. Talking about his experience, he singlehandedly wrestled power from an incumbent governor, late Abubakar Habu Hashidu, in 2003, led the APC in 2019 to overwhelmingly and unprecedentedly win all the elective positions in Gombe state with the exception of only four of the 24 state assembly seats, defeating PDP that had ruled the state for 16 years.
Although, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff has indicated his interest; others are yet to say anything and Goje will hardly talk as it was during the contest for the senate president where Nigerians from across board urged him to throw his hat into the ring. Nonetheless, even without his indicating interest from the onset, it has become apparent that he was in the race not because of his personal interest, but for the best interest of the party and the nation at large.
Senator Goje, as a major stakeholder in the APC when the leadership of the party decided to support Senator Ahmed Lawan, willingly allowed Lawan to emerge as the current senate president. This is a glaring show of affection for the party and the progress of the nation. Therefore, should Senator Goje accept to contest for the national chairmanship position of the APC, the party should not hesitate to do the needful.
A stitch in time saves nine!
Mr Adubi, a journalist, writes from Kaduna.
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