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Buhari: Testator of APC’s survival

Since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the 2019 time-table for elections, political activities are gradually gathering momentum, quietly though. There has been increased…

Since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the 2019 time-table for elections, political activities are gradually gathering momentum, quietly though. There has been increased communication among top political gladiators across the geo-political zones as well as the political parties. Nocturnal meetings are already returning. Reconciliation of sworn enemies in the political arena is on-going, too. Possible alignment and realignment of political interests and forces are being discussed. Apparently, the early announcement of the election time-table may be a strategy to divert attention of politics-inclined critics from the daily lampooning of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

It is open secret that all is not well with the rank and file of the ruling APC as political activities towards the 2019 general elections are gradually taking shape. The determinant factor that will shape the future or survival of the APC in 2019 and beyond is President Muhammadu Buhari. If Buhari ventures to run, then, the game is over for the party! I doubt if the party will retain up to 10 governorship seats at the end of the day. If you ask me, I think Buhari should not run, at least, in the interest of his party. Let me acknowledge here that Buhari is not a typical Nigerian politician. He is too straight to bend for anybody and for any reason; not even his alliance with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu that facilitated his victory was strong enough to make him shift ground. Like he would always say, “there could be contact without contamination”, and that is how he had smartly played the game with Asiwaju. The rest, as they say, is history.

One of the three major reasons I think will work against Buhari is age. He will, God willing, be 77 years old in 2019. If he should present himself for presidential contest again, he will not be doing himself, family, and party in particular any good. Baba should not dare the move. The second reason is his health condition. Mr. President does not need his doctors’ counsel to know that he should not run. Forty-nine days out of power is not a joke in the life of a country. Thank God for an able Vice-President who managed the situation well. The third reason is his lack-luster performance in office so far. Between now and 2019, I don’t know the magic that this administration would perform to placate and convince Nigerians that it could do better if granted another four years of opportunity in power.

This administration would readily come to mind as the first in history to spare just three slots for the entire Southern part of the country in the top security positions while the North comfortably cornered 14 out of 17. Like no other before it, lopsided political appointments were brazenly done! Even those who invested their resources into electioneering campaigns that brought this party to power are now in penury; many of them were hoping that board appointments would be a compensation for their loyalty but almost two years after, like the masked singer, Lagbaja, would sing, “Nothing for you”. Blurred economic vision for the country has earned the people hunger. The Naira’s steadily decline, until the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent intervention, was appalling. These, to mention but a few among the several shortcomings of this administration, will not help the APC should Buhari run again.

Listening to sycophants and ‘yes sir’ people and remaining rigid in his approach to party affairs won’t help both Buhari and APC at all. Can Buhari be so sure that Tinubu, Atiku, Saraki and even other minority stakeholders in the APC project would support his second-term reelection in 2019? Those who contributed the blocks with which the APC structure was molded are almost on their way out with their respective blocks. By the time these people quit the party, in addition to those that would still leave; I wonder how a feeble APC can withstand electoral contest with reinvented, revitalized and fortified political parties that would soon emerge on the horizon. It will be inglorious for the APC to lose power to the PDP in 2019.

I believe the APC should still garner necessary legitimate strength to retain power at the centre. The President should screen a good hand that he can put forward to succeed him. He could be a businessman, a media executive or better still, an astute politician with great potentials for leadership, probity and service. If PMB, as he’s fondly called by his aides, fails to maximize this unique opportunity, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida or even Goodluck Jonathan will outsmart him and present a successor. Buhari should begin a true reconciliatory process by placating aggrieved chieftains of the APC. He should begin to gradually correct his one-sided appointments by giving more slots to the South in the outstanding appointments. For instance, in case he eventually drops Ibrahim Magu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as Chairman nominee, he should look southward for a replacement.

Mr. President should trust Nigerians. If Nigerians in their millions could believe him enough to entrust their collective destinies to his care, he, too, should learn to accommodate and trust others; acknowledging that the task of nation-building is collective. He should discard his military mentality of ‘rule by fiat’ and put on the toga of a ‘born again democrat’ he professed to be before the 2015 general election by obeying court orders. This is because democratic governance is all about the rule of law. 

West wrote this piece from Lagos

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