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OPINION: APC’s Disconcerting National Congress

…Appraisal Before Darkness Falls

By Francis Amadiegwu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As a grandfathered member/associate of APC, I am constrained to note, with alarm, the potentially crippling distress the party has wrought or about to wreak, upon itself, an unforced error that is far worse than just an “own goal” because a team can still overcome an own-goal.

The trouble started when the President single-handedly, coerced the National Working Committee of the party to rescind its near unanimous vote to extend the tenure of the NWC at Ward, LGA, State and National levels by one year, feigning democratic impulse. The irony is that, you cannot negate by fiat, a democratic (near unanimous) resolution by an unexplainable whim.

Nothing was illegal or even irregular with the original decision. Recall that, months before the 2015 election, the PDP postponed its congresses by one year, arguing correctly, that it would be destabilizing to dabble into congresses just ahead of general elections. It would be doubly destabilizing if the party operates like an organization with inbuilt self-destabilization, especially one whose people cohesion and management credentials are still in doubt. Right now, it dons Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours, holds a plethora of contradictory political dispositions, led by inharmonious political actors like in a wild montage of poorly produced movies. Unless these contradictions were spiritually ordained like in the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 11:1-19), in which case a divine hand would be in control.

The fact is that whereas the bible tells us that the Tower of Babel was an instrument God used to achieve a divine end, the ever worsening discordant tunes in APC could be an index to the party’s torment matrix. Hope it come to its senses and retraces its aggressive posturing.

But no! If political signs manifest along the present trajectory, there appears to be a collusion to foist Adams Oshiomole onto the party’s Chairmanship. When I noticed that the president frequently huddled in Aso Rock with APC governors (up till as recently as 48 hours ago), I smelt rat. The so-called governors are not the party. In fact, many of them contributed far less to the party’s success than other leaders who aren’t governors. I learnt that the President and the Jagaban are in the lead in this collusion, betraying any pretenses at popular will.

To accomplish this ill-advised coup, the incumbent Chairman, former governor, John Odigie Oyegun, a thoroughbred, and graduate of the University of Ibadan, was harassed and ultimately subjugated out of contention. You might ask, in lieu of who? Adams Oshiomole, who allegedly “attended” Ruskin College in the UK. I state attended in quotation marks and italics because his CV does not state that he graduated. Besides, there appear to be no identifiable classmates or schoolmates of his.

“None Ought To Govern Who Is Not Better Than The Governed.”

In obedience to the above maxim, in the words of the Latin Writer, Publilius Syrus (85-43 BC), Who is Oshiomole to run the APC? What was his record in Edo state? Shall the party bury its head in the sand like an ostrich, and ignore the various charges and complaints against him? Like most of us, I’ve over the years, read of numerous cases of malfeasance about him. Note the suit filed against him by our own West Idahosa, one not given to frivolities. Please note that the accused is yet to counter-sue for defamation. He knows that doing so would unleash his being subjected to a mother of legal discovery.

If APC’s leadership wanted to even pretend at a modicum of virtue, some of these charges should at least be addressed before venerating him with this crown. Oshiomole becoming the National Chairman is equivalent to High Chief, Chairman Dr. Raymond Dokpesi (sorry, insufficient space to list all his titles) aspiring to PDP’s chairmanship. A man who in addition to financial crime indictments, globe trotted, hosting lavish parties in the US and elsewhere while journalist in his employ go without salaries for six, nine, twelve months, or more.

If Oyegun should be replaced, common decency dictates that it should be at the discretion of the party’s membership, in a free and fair, aerated congress, especially for such a noble leader. The man has led the party honourably through its first term in rulership, a challenging phase for any political party.

 Former Governor Clement Ebri, Cross River State

There are other contestants like Clement Ebri, former governor of Cross River state (1992-93). He later served as Chairman, Presidential Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution between 2000 and 2001. He later became the National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Alliance, PPA, leading the party into the Government of National Unity (GNU) under former President Umaru Yar’Adua, while reserving the right to withdraw if problems arose, maintaining that the PPA had not compromised in joining the GNU, saying, “we felt we should as well help to stabilize the polity, and add value to governance.

Who’s Clement Ebri?

Mr. Ebri is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Before entering politics, he was editor of the Nigerian Chronicle. He later served as Director of the Mercantile Bank of Nigeria, and the Savannah Bank of Nigeria. He was later to be the Chief Executive of Brecon Associates, Inter-urban Contracting Services and Dimaron Nigeria Ltd.

A man of impeccable and traceable credentials, he may not be a household name because of his civilized demeanor. However, his value and intellect are quite suffusing once you behold him. All who know the gentleman adore him. It’s said that talent is distributed equally but opportunity is not; the latter is randomized. According to Napoleon Bonaparte, the statesman and military leader in the French Revolution, Ability is of little account without opportunity.

The former governor himself argues that, “I believe that an abrasive personality and intolerant attitude are not helpful if one presides over a heated system. This is because I have been schooled in the ancient African notion that birds do not build their nests in trees that are troubled by tempestuous winds for, otherwise, the nests can be easily displaced. Instead, they seek trees that are stable and ordinarily calm but which have deep taproots that enable them safeguard all the nests of interests that their branch carry.” His personal and public profile supports this.

By contrast, Adams Oshiomole is notorious for being irascible, cantankerous, avaricious and dictatorial, not to mention his abundant questionable social escapades. He left a legacy of a far more underdeveloped Edo state than he met the glorious state, of rich history. We must duff our hats to him. He seamlessly accomplished this feat while simultaneously amassing stupendous personal wealth. What a triumph! APC is free to celebrate him. After all, it’s a free country. Nevertheless, I will not raise my glass to toast him; first of all, I don’t even have a glass.

For APC’s national congress to achieve the aims of democracy, and am not assuming that that is the aim of its managers, it must build its leadership from grounds-up. In my state of Imo, I can attest that the party’s leadership was engineered from bottom-up. It wrested itself from the stranglehold of one over-bearing Lord. The national structure should be no different. Otherwise, it would quake and fall. The only uncertainty would be the velocity of such a fall.

Every democracy-loving, patriotic Nigerian should hope for the establishment of a strong multiparty system where each one is circularly capable of putting the other out of office. That’s my wish; may it be yours as well. But catapulting Oshiomole to the helm of APC will not achieve that. In my count, he’s not among the first thousand members of the party qualified to be its national chairman.

As APC takes this dare-devil plunge, I say, Good luck!

But Get Your Lamps Ready For The Darkness That Will Follow.



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