It is no longer news that the most anticipated national convention of the Congress of All Progressives, APC, has passed, leaving behind lamentations and unanswered questions.
However, the good news for progressives is that it remains the best convention in Nigerian history and the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has launched an airstrike for its disintegration.
Elitism theory posits that a small minority, made up of members of the economic elite and political planning networks, hold the most power – and that this power is independent of democratic elections.
The national convention of the APC and the opposition PDP are satisfying theories of those who are in power and want to stay in power. The concept of the Unity List has, of course, been the guiding principle of all recent conventions of political elite parties. Former PDP National Chairman Prince Uche Socondus was handpicked in place of Professor Adeniran, one of the founding fathers of the party.
Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State, a founding member and strong pillar of the ruling APC, revealed during an interview with Seun on Channels TV Politics today that President Muhammadu Buhari does not never had a favorite candidate for National President.
The 19 progressive governors had to force him to identify someone in the north-central after the area was set to produce the next national president. Thus, the emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu cannot but surprise people with short memories born after the 2018 PDP National Convention.
One thing that seems unique and is now mainstream discourse is that former PDP members dominate the names of the new ruling APC National Working Committee. Some analysts are of the opinion that those who worked and fought for the emergence of a government of change should have been given priority. Former ACN, ANPP and CPC members should have been privileged as Buhari’s trusted friends and loyalists, according to the narrators.
Most pronounced is Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Buhari’s sole CCP governor. Ironically, he defeated the late Akwe Doma in 2011 in Nasarawa State and formed a solid pillar of the merger as the sole governor of the PMB, a boy and a loyalist. Former Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Farouk Adamu Aliyu of Jigawa State and Adabayo Shitu, the former minister of communication and permanent ally of the PMB since 2000 against Omisore and many other conpersisms.
APC’s newest chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, was appointed by the president following the unanimous decision of progressive governors led by Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
If loyalty and hard work were a consideration, certainly Senator Al-Makura should have been anointed instead, but to the surprise of the world, a man who denied the president access to traditional rulers as governor of Nasarawa State is the chairman of a party political group, he fought head and nail.
The fact that I have been fortunate enough to work closely with Al-Makura during this campaign is not reason enough for me to underestimate what the President may have planned for his party ahead of the national elections to which he does not not participate.
The saying goes, “What an old man sees sitting…” President Buhari is an entirely different creature and in his 80s, certainly, he may have seen what millions of his supporters, analysts and political commentators and young people like us couldn’t see.
Al-Makura is, indeed, a great breed among his contemporaries. He started as a young leader of the NPN, a party of which Abdullahi Adamu was the secretary. Both Adamu and Al-Makura have the executive and legislative experience to lead the APC as national president; they were Governors of Nasarawa State and currently Federal Republic Senators. Why Adamu was chosen against the founding members of the current ruling party is unknown to us but very well known to Mr. President and progressive governors.
The Unity List ended the careers of many APC founding members who built their campaigns primarily on hard work for the party and loyalty to the seat of power. Former PDP members and now APC leaders had built their campaigns on relationships, and it is now up to us to continue to lament why they won. However, this tells us that APC does not discriminate against its founding members and its decamped.
Fortunately or unfortunately, some of us will be alive to witness the next installment of the APC national rally that will produce the party’s standard bearer. Taxation and impunity against the will of party loyalists and supporters ended the PDP’s planned 60-year plan to rule Nigeria at just 16 in 2015.
This is why many are of the view that Unity List will not work to produce the presidential candidate, especially now that the fate of the party hinges on Adamu to lead it to victory and has finally sent the PDP packing from State House. This means that they must enter such a confrontation united and as one entity.
Can we say that the ruling APC is now in the hands of the opposition PDP? For me, the answer is NO because contemporary politicians in Nigeria are defined by one slogan which is ‘permanent interest’.
Abdullahi Adamu and his counterparts, both members of the opposition PDP, are now determined to win the elections for their current party, the APC, which defines their primary interest. Unlike the masses who frequently exchange blows and insult their ancestors on social media about political parties, politicians see little beyond the platforms of protest and victory in elections.
Young people must understand that the young people they have abandoned are their strength and are the reasons for their success because the Unity List has thought of some of us a great lesson in elite unity in the diversity. United as they are, they can sacrifice the ambition of 1,000 young people to please a single member of the elite family. The bitter truth is that we are the architect of our own problems and sooner or later it will continue to plague our inability to unite against our common enemies.
As a young person who writes in national dailies and online news outlets advocating for the active participation and inclusion of young people in politics and governance, I commend our (youth) members who have made it to the List of unity in all political parties.
They must remember that they are ordained to change the narratives while serving as members of the national working committees of their respective parties. It will interest us to note that some of these young people are the problem because they behave and mistreat their peers as if they were larger than life.
As young people, politics and governance go beyond social media rantings, because building relationships is important to winning elections. it should be a lesson for those who thought that the power of the elite was enough to empower them. As a young man, I still consider myself an incurable optimist who always sees opportunities even in the midst of a pandemic rather than obstacles. Frankly, some young people in government today are more arrogant than the current generation of leaders we blame on social media.
As tiny as they are, they can bite off your entire fingers in the blink of an eye. With the kind of young generation of leaders among us, we can hardly outgrow the capacity of social media influencers to these powerless politicians. If you think the PDP and the APC are ideologically different, you have a long way to go to understand the context of the elite politics being practiced in Nigeria today.
Danaudi, National Chairperson of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi via [email protected].