Failure is an orphan but success has cousins and brothers. This age long saying has found fulfilment in the All Progressives Party, APC, which won the last presidential election and still went ahead to record a landslide in the gubernatorial election across the country’s. Consequently, many politicians who would never have reckoned with APC or its members in the event of failure have swiftly identified with the party. This is a chronology of incidences that shaped APC from its formation stage to the present success it has achieved.
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Their victory resonates. Their joy, now, knows no bounds. Their swag has even changed and their members are increasingly ubiquitous. Yes, from obscurity they have emerged into limelight.
Indeed, the road was far, tough and thorny. But they persevered and remained optimistic such that they pursued their target with so much gusto and vigour. Luckily, the heavens heard them and the people queued behind them. Today, they are the toast of all and sundry.
At the conceptualization of the idea early in 2013, dusts were raised. There were conspiracies to clog their wheel of progress. Political subterfuges were a common feature. All kinds of darts were understandably shot at them such that it threw up a parallel body in its name. Legal fireworks later ensued. Claims and counter-claims of logo and colour brand became an issue. Those were the days. The dark days.
But like the troops in Bama or Baga, they soldiered on, leaving nothing to chance. And on July 31, 2013, history was made. The All Progressives Congress, APC, was born. The political party had first been formed by a conglomerate of political parties now known as legacy parties on February 6, 2013 but it was formally registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in July. Then, the mantra of change began and soured high within days for the party formed out of an alliance with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) – and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Today, change, as party members would loudly chorus in their meetings, has come to Nigeria. They are victorious and in about two weeks time, they will form the next government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.APC secretariat, a Mecca of some sort
But for the members of the APC and the staff of the national secretariat in Abuja, the imposing edifice that houses the party’s headquarters in highbrow Wuse 2 of Abuja metropolis would have always been lonely. And with the victory of its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, at the March 28 general elections, the secretariat became a mecca of some sort, playing host to all kinds of persons and politicians.
Interestingly, majority of the visitors are or were members of the exiting Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The visitors include Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, a former National Chairman of the PDP and the man who vowed that PDP would rule for 60 years, and Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State.
Others are former Governors Jim Nwobodo (Anambra), Fidelis Tapgun (Plateau), Ahmed Markafi (Kaduna), Balarabe Musa (Kaduna) Buka Ibrahim (Yobe) ,Okwesilieze Nwodo (Enugu), Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Anambra) and Niyi Adebayo(Ekiti).
While Ogbulafor visited alone, Kalu was accompanied by the former governors.
The National Chairman, United Progressives Party, UPP, Dr. Chekwas Okorie, also visited the secretariat. Remarkably, these were visits attracted by the defeat of the PDP by the APC.
More visits to Buhari at the Defence House, Aso Drive, BSO
The number of congratulatory visits to the APC secretariat cannot in anyway compare to the ones at the mini State House which is what the Defense House, the temporary office of Buhari as the president-elect in Maitama, has become since his return from his Daura village, Katsina State immediately after the governorship election on April 11.
Apart from over 30 ambassadors of different countries that have visited him, presidents of Ghana and Benin Republic as well as a former British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, also came to felicitate with Buhari on his victory.
Coming back home, the number of the visitors is legion. From the Senate president, David Mark, to his deputy, Ike Ekwerenmadu, down to the Senate Leader, Ndoma Egba, Buhari’s door was opened. Instructively, these are all PDP heavyweights who perhaps never believed that power would leave the party this soon.
To Mark, such visits should be private as he didn’t involve the press. Besides, he chose a more isolated place, the Buhari Support Group, BSO, office in Wuse 2 instead of the Campaign Office or the Defence House where journalists would always be. But after, he did not escape the camera lens of a paparazzi.
For reasons best to him, Ekwerenmadu avoided the press. Emerging from a closed door meeting with Buhari at the Defence House, he beamed smiles, focused on his waiting convoy and zoomed off without saying a world to journalists who followed him to his car.
Ndoma Egba was bold the day he visited. He led a couple of his people from Cross River State to see Buhari. But he later came under heavy attack by his kinsmen, mostly APC members from his state who called him a gold digger. Ndoma Egba was forced to put out further explanation in a rebuttal. “Any who is unhappy with my visit should arrange his or hers. It is my constitutional right to associate with whomsoever I choose”, he said.
For Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State and of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, nothing was more timely than a visit to Buhari at his private residence in Aso Drive, Abuja.
For a number of others, the APC presidential campaign office at the Central Business District of Abuja was ideal. Of course, the reason for the visits was that the table has turned and APC is the party in control.
Jonathan’s senator, Rep, others defect to APC
Though, there had been a gale of defections since APC’s victory at the polls, last week featured the loudest. In one fell swoop, President Jonathan’s kinsmen at the state and National Assemblies left the PDP for the APC.
The lawmakers, who announced their defection alongside their supporters at the APC national secretariat on Wednesday, include Senator Clever Marcus Ikisikpo ( Bayelsa-East), Mr. Nadu Karibo ( Ogbia federal constituency), and member, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr Azibola Omekwe (Ogbia constituency).
Many other defectors
To be frank, the PDP has lost many a personality to APC since the year began. Consider people like two former national chairmen, Chiefs Audu Ogbe and Barnabas Gemade; Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, now governor-elect, Sokoto State; a former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, now in SDP; a former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Chibudom Nwuche; his colleague, Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada, now senator-elect; a former Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Masari, now governor-elect, Katsina State; his colleague, Patricia Etteh; and her deputy, Babangida Nguroje, among others. For a party that has lost so many of its founding members, the danger of total collapse of the PDP looms.
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