Last week, I opened my case for Nigerians to vote for the All Progressives Congress this year. I refer to Nigerians who are led by reason, not sentiment; by the facts, not conjecture; by logic, not hot air; by self-respect, not idol worship.
Such a Nigerian, wherever he may be, is a witness to the perfidy of the APC brand in the last eight years. This betrayal has been so comprehensive that were APC a product, such as a food item or a medication, it would have since been banned by National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control and its manufacturer prosecuted.
Remember: this was itself the nature of the Peoples Democratic Party between 1999 and 2014, and I labelled that party the Profoundly Decadent Party. In 2015, in the belief that APC would be superior, I joined the clamor to ensure that PDP was jettisoned from control. It was.
Among other summaries of the situation as he advertised his presidential candidature, APC’s Muhammadu Buhari swore that the party would end corruption in the country, provide Nigeria and manage the country efficiently.
“We will stop corruption and make the ordinary people, the weak and the vulnerable our top priority,” he declared.
It was false advertising, part of the ridiculous practice where the leader of the federal executive branch, lacking laudable projects of his own, is forever running to the states to celebrate minor achievements.
Two months ago, such false advertising was flagged by Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki, himself of APC (now of the PDP), when he warned that Nigerians are poor because of the bad policies and decisions of its leaders. Only last week, the Arewa Renewal Forum offered the same explanation for the high poverty rate in northern Nigeria.
Think about it: what is one to learn from the swearing by APC that it would prioritise the ordinary people, the weak and the vulnerable” only for Nigeria to become the poverty capital of the world in his hands and continue to run out of control?
Perhaps it is no surprise then, that APC has emerged as a peculiar animal. Remember 2016, when Governor Nasir E-Rufai of Kaduna State penned a famous memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) in which he warned that the president was losing both the mission and the momentum.
Curiously, last week, El-Rufai also publicly criticised the decision of the Buhari administration to redesign the Naira and mop it up in a very short period, saying the measures could ignite voter rejection of APC in the presidential election. APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu has himself said that those decisions were part of a plan to scuttle the election.
In the same interest, Governor el-Rufai faulted the Buhari administration for failing to remove the infamous petroleum subsidy and restructure the country, describing those policies as being inconsistent with the APC manifesto.
He blamed the developing fiasco on naysaying “elements” within the presidency. “The people in the villa—most of them are not (members of our party)…I believe there are elements within the villa that want us to lose the elections because they did not get their way. They have their candidate, but their candidate did not win the primaries.”
And yet this ramshackle chaos of a party, which has proved to be gargantuan in words but derelict in capacity and competence, wants to continue to rule Nigeria?
To what end? In June 2019, following his return from yet another London hospital visit at Nigeria’s expense, Buhari said he would commence a war by which APC would lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. Here was a man who had lost various wars (against corruption, against insecurity, against medical tourism, for instance) wielding verbal weapons as he cited China, India and Indonesia as nations that, despite their large populations, had successfully handled poverty.
But soldiers without a strategy fail in war. Little wonder that Nigerians have continued to plunge deeper into poverty in the past four years, just as every political and policy miscue has directed Nigeria since 2015.
At the heart of this problem is APC’s complete disrespect for principle, competence, or intellect. Although they said that the 2014 National Conference had motivated their formation and philosophy, there are no principles they have stood by. Buhari reneged on his Covenant With Nigerians, his First 100 Days Pledge, and his campaign promises. His government has ignored the constitution, court judgements, the Ahmed Joda Report which he commissioned, and every performance commitment.
Furthermore, under the APC, key government agencies, such as the Auditor-General and the EFCC have become either ineffective or complicit. Instead, hypocrisy and nepotism have become prominent instruments of state. After failing on the insecurity challenge for which it was voted in, the APC government tried to recruit the United States to take the job. Instead of fighting corruption at home, they advise the world on how to fight it.
Reflecting on that point two years ago, I denounced the Buhari government for duplicity and cynicism. I asserted that for the public good, every society needs a leader who can think beyond himself.
“It is his contradictions and arrogance that are responsible for the chaos and insecurity in Nigeria,” I said. “For Nigeria to slide back from disintegration, it must have a leader with a national vision and focus: a leader who is persuaded and led by the mammoth challenge of justice, poverty and accountability.”
Indeed, APC itself wrote in 2014, “The consequence of trusting power to a party that does not have the genuine interest of Nigeria and Nigerians are clearly manifest in our political and economic predicament today.”
That assessment is truer today. You cannot look at the monumental incompetence and collapse of the last eight years and conscientiously claim that its authors will also be the nation’s saviour. If we adopted a lie in 2015 that has collapsed on our heads, what wisdom is there eight years later to vote an even more bogus and insidious leadership?
This is why it is obvious in 2023 that for any reasonable Nigerian, the only destination to send APC—and its alter ego, PDP—is not more power, but powerlessness; not the future, but oblivion. Even Buhari, now a little more humble, is advising Nigerians to vote good leaders from whichever part.
Why? Because unless your prayer for your future is hopelessness, endless pain and desperation, you must reject APC like an affliction, which it has proved to be. Anyone who objects to this is either part of the affliction or needs treatment.
Why? Because you do not take a curse home with you: you banish it. Listen: I have not said that APC has not build a road here or commenced a footbridge there, each of them demanding years, layers of budgeting and a mountain of excuses to implement. It has. But the party’s mission was bigger: to cleanse, to re-order, to reset, to reconfigure, to transform, to change. Ask El-Rufai. Ask Obaseki.
Worse still, APC enriched itself and then poisoned the well. You do not praise : you denounce and punish him. That is what APC deserves. Unless you curse yourself, you must hold them accountable. Or hold yourself responsible.