Nigeria Stands Still For The APC, PDP Biggest PrimariesFeatured, Latest News Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – Whether it is an accidental or a deliberate arrangement, the prevailing fact the Nigerians and the entire world have been inundated with is that the country’s two biggest, dominating and influential political parties – the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are simultaneously holding their National Conventions in which the peak event is the voting, emergence and declaration of their Presidential candidates for the 2015 general elections contest.
When it is articulated persistently that activities of these two parties affect the socio, economic and political states and directions of the country, I am more comfortable to re-establish and emphasize this point here; especially when consider the build up to the convergence and fresh developments.
The APC on its own has not ceased precisely since Sunday this week, on intimating its members and the general public about the national meeting; in public sensitization about profile of its Presidential aspirants; repeated assurances about adequate security arrangements and other logistics planning which have bearing on the convention delegates from the 37 States of the Federation. In addition, the mass media have however been seriously and more engaged with the news and announcements of the two conventions some days before today.
While the choice of venue of the PDP is the popular Eagles Square in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, APC finally settled for the Teslim Balogun Stadium, in Surulere Lagos, after a dragged debate on staging the convention either in Abuja or Lagos. Still on their spread and impacts, the conventions by the two parties are to last for two working days – today, (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday). No other parties in the country could flaunt all these ‘credentials’.
Here come the most touching and sensitive angles of the conventions. Coincidentally, the APC and PDP announced the temporary closures of some roads and suspension of activities in certain areas in the two cities – Abuja and Lagos. The country’s Head of Service (HOS) in a letter signed by his Permanent Secretary, Dr Babatope Ajakaiye announced in Abuja, Tuesday the closure of public offices at Federal Secretariat Phases 1, II, III as well as Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all to give way for the ruling party convention.
In the former Nigeria’s capital, the opposition party through the State’s commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, announced in anticipation of terrible traffic challenges, partial closure of some axis such as Funsho Williams/Western Avenue Road from Olumegbon to National Stadium; Funsho Williams/Western Avenue Road from Alaka to National Stadium; Alhaji Masha Road from Shitta Roundabout to Alaka and Shitta Flyover. Opeifa however disclosed some alternative routes for the road users plying the specially earmarked ones.
Without any political undertone, shutting down government establishments due to the ruling party National Convention is not really a well thought decision. The development first does not portray Nigeria, as country with values for high productivity and availing high premium to the business and personal interest of others. Please think of an international or a local traveler who had already scheduled and committed many resources for a business trip to last for the exact two days in Abuja with the affected government establishments; this is not a make believe, it is very possible. The implication of this is that every resource already put in, becomes a waste, hence the affected takes pains to sketch out a reschedule. This is very unpleasant!
The situation becomes worsen, given the sudden disclosure and very short interval between the time of the events and the announcement. This is where the opposition also errs, despite provision of alternatives on its own. Well, the Lagos residents might still manage to savour little degree of relieve as no market, public building or office was shut owing to the ongoing Convention.
Again, the Abuja unique and partial shutdown today and Thursday gives impression that the ruling party prioritizes only what suits its purpose(s), not necessarily the public, which the same government is ordinarily accountable to.
Therefore, for the two political parties, these are issues for special consideration and caution in the future decision making process.
Regarding the two biggest primaries, at best, the PDP version (Convention) could be passed for a mere jamboree and public endorsement of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, as it is very clear and certain he owns the party’s Presidential ticket. The homework has since been done and the politicking was rested; making he (Mr. President) to be positioned as an aspirant to beat. Therefore, President Jonathan might as well begin to jubilate and celebrate his party primary endorsement.
On the other way, there is no doubt; the APC Presidential primary is expected to be keenly competitive and more interesting. The facts of the lively contest include the recent pre-convention campaigns by the aspirants across the country and the clouts of the five contestants. Beside the equally influential Publisher of the Leadership Newspaper, Sam Ndah – Issiah, who might not really go far in springing much surprise, others including the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former Head of State, General (rtd) Muhammadu Buhari are the two front runners in the two day decisive presidential race.
The other two strong contenders are: the outgoing Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Imo State’s counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Interestingly, the Imo State’s APC governorship primary has been delayed for the convention outcome, for the powerful Eastern politician to determine the next directions of his political career.
Most importantly, as the APC and PDP National conventions are being kick started in the two strategic cities of Nigeria, the security of lives (of the common man) on the streets who are fending for their daily survival and properties are mostly essential. This must be given priority as the primaries last till Thursday. The organizers and the leaders of the two parties should put in mind that their (partiers) affairs take direct and strong bearings on the peaceful co –existence of the country.
Finally, as the two conventions are currently underway, a warmest wishes to the party delegates, the aspirants and the political parties at large. For Nigerians, as they come to you to solicit your votes, make it known to these aspirants that your vote is your power, so vote wisely in the general election.
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