Thursday, 9 January 2014

APC, Festina Lente!

APC, Festina Lente!
The journey toward 2015 is becoming more interesting by the day: the intrigues in the PDP and poaching and scooping by the APC. One should want to see how things pan out. To more circumspect observers, however, it is a journey that fills many with trepidation owing to the landmines that lie buried along the way.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) has been hard at work to unseat the ruling PDP from power and she has seemed to throw away everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink, in its quest. But therein lays a major minefield that, if not well navigated, will end up marring and miring her in manners she may never have anticipated inspite of her very high spirits now. This same scenario has played out before during the 2011 elections with one of the party’s forebears, the CPC. We shall come back to that shortly.
In the first place, the APC has so far been so blinded with the quest to topple the PDP that she doesn’t seem to see anything else. She so far has not started to make clear the options she has on the offer for Nigeria and Nigerians save to get the PDP out. The problem is that the PDP’s hold on power has slipped out of the realm of substance to that of emotions; and as educated and exposed as one considers oneself, one has not yet seen any clear articulation of ideas emanating from the APC that can steer Nigerians to that realm of reason necessarily needed to help them make the right decision, whether or not, to maintain the status quo, depending on informed judgement. This is a critical factor in determining how peaceful and manageable the 2015 elections and their aftermaths might turn out to be. Sonala Olumhense’s piece on last week’s Sunday Trust captures quite aptly this cart-before-horse situation of the APC.
Back to the 2011 fate of the CPC that now seems to begin to loom over the APC. The stage had long been set for the danse macabre that was to happen with the PDP’s rotation formula for the office of president; therefore, when President Yar’adua took ill and was flown out in November, 2009, the show effectively began. The President, apparently, was in no condition to be able to constitutionally transmit his powers to his Vice when he was flown out. This provided a means for a certain few to hold the entire nation hostage; the Federal Executive Council did not – or was it “could not”?  – summon the courage to communicate to the Senate, as was within its constitutional purview to do, and transmit acting powers to the VP. It was clear for all and sundry to see the amount of humiliation that the VP underwent. The polity became overheated and the status quo could not be sustained, the National Assembly had to device a certain Doctrine of Necessity to resolve the quagmire which Nigerians jump at, despite its questionable constitutionality. All this while, the CPC was only in its very formative stages, Gen Buhari was still only an aspirant and not yet a candidate.
With VP Goodluck Ebele Jonathan made Acting President, the real bone of contention came to the fore: he would not be eligible to contest for president in 2011 as it was the turn of the north. He should therefore just serve out his principal’s term and give way. Nerves had been frayed with the treatment meted out on him which had deepened sectarian trenches. Therefore, even if Jonathan had wanted to give way in 2011, he would not have dared as his Niger-Delta folks would have burnt him on the stake. The in-fighting in the PDP deepened between northern politicians and the rest. The Nigerian streets became charged.
All the while, CPC was taking shape. But it failed to capitalise on the PDP’s crisis. Infact when the PDP primaries took place and it was clear that the northern politicians with presidential ambition had lost out, the angry core northern muslim streets trooped on to support the CPC. Buhari and his Party did not construe the situation for what it really was; they gleefully went on without interrogating the under-currents and finding ways to handle the potentially combustible trend. The elections came and left trails of blood behind, and many, for either the lack of the ability or the incentive to disambiguate, blamed the mayhem on Buhari and the CPC. Note that the CPC never touched the PDP with even a 24foot pole. Infact, when asked on the rotational presidency crisis, Gen Buhari clearly stated that it was a PDP problem and that he and his party were being guided by the nation’s constitution.
Right now, the PDP is in similar crisis; even worse. The government of the day by itself cannot be said not to be a bit jittery judging by its very own performance so far. Some PDP governors have rebelled and the APC has wooed and swooped in on them and five have somewhat jumped ship. The APC has gone about this poaching without heed to any principle it might profess to hold, thus giving the impression that it only wants to get to power, probably by all means possible. This is grievously fast eroding any confidence that many a Nigerian probably hitherto held that the new party would bring any meaningful change to the nation’s affairs should she be elected. What is more? The CPC, without touching the PDP in 2011, got badly scalded. What can be the lot of an APC that even went into the PDP’s own lair to advance her chances? Only time will tell. The streets are again shuffling and reshuffling, mostly for the wrong reasons.
He who pays heed to memory and is rightly guided will surely proceed into the future with confidence; informed confidence, that is. Therefore, one can only say to the APC, “Festina lente!” Make haste slowly!

(Published on BLUEPRINT Newspaper, Thursday Dec 12, 2013)

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