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APC convention: PDP is dead, long live PDP!

The ruling All Progressives Congress is often severally described as an annex of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and as PDP in diaspora. This…

The ruling All Progressives Congress is often severally described as an annex of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and as PDP in diaspora. This is not without some justification.

At its formation in 2014 in the run up to the 2015 general elections, a good many of its rank and file was made up of former members of the PDP, who found one reason or the other to ditch the party and pitch camp with the mint fresh APC, which looked politically appealing. And as the APC grew by leaps and bounds under the leadership of then-candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, many more PDP members flocked to the APC as the possibility of the latter defeating the former grew. And with the eventual defeat of the ruling PDP at the 2015 polls, a deluge of PDP top members made a beeline to the APC. With such a large membership of former PDP members in its ranks, it is unmistakable that APC cannot but be seen as a clone of the PDP.

Although the APC has strenuously tried to project itself as a different outfit in orientation and character from the PDP, most people are not impressed. Indeed, just as an apple cannot fall far from its tree, with the passage of time, the APC and PDP by the reckoning of most of Nigeria have become akin to two sides of the same dud coin.

This much was reinforced at last Saturday’s convention of the APC which took place in Abuja.

What caught the attention of most political observers is that about two thirds of the newly appointed Executives of the APC from the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to the National Secretary Iyiola Omisore and other top officials were former members of the PDP.

So, if it is now clear to most Nigerians that despite all statements to the contrary by President Buhari and some of the party’s grandees, the APC is indeed no different from the PDP it all too often likes to condemn, what then do Nigerians make of the situation?

For an answer to this, we need to direct our compass at the character of our political system and the actors that run it.

The commentary of the penultimate Daily Trust Sunday edition titled ‘’Democracy without Democracy’’ did a searching analysis of the political situation in the country with emphasis on the state of the two major political parties. Its findings present an abysmal picture of a stunted political system in which the tenets of democracy underpinned by free expression and choice of party members guided by a rigorous political ideology are near or totally absent.

“Nigerian political parties,’’ according to the commentary, “and the politicians who people them are the chief culprits stunting the growth of democracy in the country. In October last year, the main opposition PDP held a national convention to elect a new crop of party leaders after having done the same at state, local and ward levels. The ruling APC  finally held its own national convention following months of internal party convulsions and leadership crises that have not still been fully resolved. Both conventions have a veneer of democratic participation, but in reality, they were anything but.’’(sic)

The Daily Trust commentary went on to conclude that ‘’If party members cannot freely choose their leaders or candidates for elective offices, then many things are lost that erode the quality of democracy in the country……This leads to having whole political parties that are barely different from each other because none offers anything or anyone that remotely meets the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.’’

To look at what the APC has become today, which is more or less PDP by another name under the watch of President Buhari, beggar’s belief. It was the belief that President Buhari was going to turn the political system that years of PDP misrule had brought to Nigeria that made Nigerians to embrace the APC. From what candidate Buhari in 2014 presented to Nigerians of his intention and the zeal to rejig the entire political and socio-economic system to what we have today with President Buhari playing footsie with the same principal culprits of the current malaise in the Nigerian political firmament, which he promised to sort out, we have a political situation that can best be described as an anti-climax. Far from being totally defeated in 2015, PDP’s genes mutated in the new APC and have now risen from the ashes of its defeat like a phoenix to take over the party.

Rather than take us to the promised land of political and economic progress or even set us on our way to achieving that, the APC under President Buhari has actually taken us nowhere remarkably different from where he took it. This reminds one of the French wisdom that the more something changes the more it says the same.

In the run up to the 2023 elections, the two political parties will frequently trade blames as to who is better and they will both seek to call on Nigerians to trust them with power. The APC especially will tell us that as it was in 2015 it is the party that will deliver Nigerians from the misrule of the PDP years, which is still with us. But the reality is that in 2023, two factions of the PDP will be contesting against themselves; the one that chose to remain within the old city wall and the one that jumped over the wall to establish a new settlement. But in character and disposition, they are all one and the same.

Both factions of the PDP, which the APC and PDP in reality are, will think they have Nigerians fooled about their elaborate game of political deception. But the joke is on them because lacking in internal democracy and ideological direction coupled with failure to provide the expected pathway to the country’s socio-economic transformation; both parties are setting themselves on a sure and inevitable path to self destruction.

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