As we are fast approaching the 2019 general election, it appears the cracks in the house of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are widening with each passing day. What is happening in APC is fast mimicking the title of Anezi Okoro’s novel, One Week, One Trouble. The situation is hardly surprising. It was expected. It only took some time before manifesting.
Keen observers of Nigerian party politics and the buildup to the 2015 presidential poll knew that things would eventually come to this sorry pass. Things are indeed falling apart in APC house. In the beginning, the APC was regarded as a gathering of strange bedfellows. Two years after gaining the central power levers, the story has not changed.
The party is highly divided. Without doubt, the fast regrouping and rebranding Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), now in opposition, is apparently giving the APC a dose of its own very medicine. Only time can reveal how far the PDP can go in reasserting itself in the power game it lost in 2015 due mainly to greed, impunity and lack of internal democracy. Is the APC fast degenerating into the same disease that killed the PDP in 2015? I do not know. Let the soothsayers provide us with urgent answer.
The recent report credited to the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan, that she would rather support Atiku Abubakar’s presidential bid come 2019 than the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, is another signal that all is not well in the APC political house. Remember the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, was the first person to speak along this line in her famous BBC interview some months ago, when she accused a cabal of taking over her husband’s government. She later regaled us with the tale that when the Lion King returns, the jackals, and hyenas would be thrown out. But since the Lion came back, the hyenas, jackals and wolves are having a field day.
We have had two powerful APC women voicing such disapproval in the open. There may be many others who voice their dissent in their private rooms or the other room. Apart from the dissenting women, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has accused the president of treating him unfairly, a case of use and dump.
Atiku is, by all means, not alone in this regard. There are many APC chieftains who felt sidelined like Atiku but they lick their self-inflicted wounds in the privacy of their homes. Like Chinua Achebe would say, since they are the ones that brought the ant-infested faggots to the house, they should not complain if visited by lizards.
Let’s go back to Hajia Jummai Alhassan, alias Mama Taraba, and her home truth to APC. She said: “In 2014/2015 he (Buhari) said he was going to run for only one term to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019.”
Mama Taraba also said: “If today Mr. President says he is running in 2019, I will go to him respectfully and thank him for giving me the opportunity to serve and then tell him that I have to resign because my political godfather may be running.”
Although the APC promised to take appropriate sanction against Alhassan, I doubt if such sanction will be given. And if given, it will not distract from the truth and urgency of her assertion and freedom to air her views as a Nigerian. I think that the party should critically examine the truth of her views and its implication for the APC ahead of 2019 rather than the shadowboxing of punishing her for expressing her opinion.
The two Aishas are telling the men that the women are coming. They are telling them that women can no longer be politically sidelined again by the men. Perhaps, the emergence of combative and vocal female politicians can sanitize the corrupt political situation in the country. Their counterparts from the South should speak up and complement them. The more we have such assertive female politicians, the merrier for our politics.
This is not the first time we are hearing of presidents who say they will do only a single term. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo drummed it to our ears prior to the 2015 presidential poll that ex-president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan promised to do only one term. He urged Jonathan to keep that promise or be voted out of office. In fact, Obasanjo said that Jonathan must leave on May 29, 2015 and it came to pass.
The rest is now history. So if Baba Buhari promised to do one term as Mama Taraba disclosed, he should honestly keep the promise as a man of integrity. As an incorruptible man, he should take a cue from Jonathan’s case and take a bow when the ovation is loudest. Besides, his age and ill-health may not withstand another term after 2019.
One thing that is very clear from Mama Taraba’s revelation is that the fight against 2019 has commenced in earnest and she is clear on whose side she is leaning. She has pitched tent with her godfather and benefactor, Atiku Abubakar. Before the 2019 campaign whistle is blown, more Atikus will emerge on the political scene. Who will rule Nigeria in 2015 will be solely determined by Nigerians and not necessarily an individual whether in APC or PDP. Nigeria has gone fast beyond the dictates of one man to determine who rules the country.
If this division in APC continues close to 2019, then the party is politically finished because it cannot fight the 2019 presidential war with a divided house. If Buhari is out of the contest, then APC should forget it. Moreover, a divided house can never win any cause. A kingdom torn against itself can never stand. That is the ugly situation the APC has found itself.
Therefore, the APC loss is going to be the PDP gain. If all PDP members that defect to APC prior to the 2015 poll decide to stage a comeback to PDP, nothing can stop the PDP from regaining the presidency come 2019 provided it capitalizes on the failures of the ruling party. Good enough such failures are legion. The APC has made the job of PDP very easy. Nigerians and the APC are not on the same page. The party has seemingly lost touch with realism of the Nigerian situation. That is why the party is dancing ajasco and atiliogwu over restructuring and other pressing issues facing the country.
It is sad that the party is running away from restructuring that all Nigerians are clamouring for. Moreover, the party is yet to fulfill its numerous campaign promises to Nigerians. There is doubt it is going to fulfill them in the remaining period of its tenure.
What Nigerians want is not what APC is willing to give them. Hopefully, the chickens will soon come home to roost and the ongoing deceit and propaganda will stop.