As a writer who has questioned the heart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I am pleased to notice that it is clarifying its mission and character.
On December 1, 2013, I asked the question: “Is APC Less Dangerous Than The PDP?”
At that time, five governors elected on the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) had just joined the APC, thereby granting the latter a vast acreage in relevance and credibility.
It is a political currency called defection, and since then, the APC has made a mint of the word, which now seems to hold the exclusive meaning of someone joining the APC from the PDP. Somehow, a defection from the PDP is being made to sound as if it justifies itself while it demonizes the PDP.
I write this article to clarify one point: that to criticize the PDP is not to justify the APC. Every party, especially one which claims to stand for change, must earn its credibility.
It is not news that the APC hopes to become Nigeria’s dominant political force. There is nothing wrong with seeking to replace the PDP, produce the next President, run the National Assembly and produce a majority of the country’s governors.
All of that is legitimate; it is precisely what the PDP has done since 1999. But the PDP progressively became richer and more insensitive to the tears of our people.
It is in those tears that the APC wishes to swim on its way to political dominance. “Those compatriots who have lost faith in our dear country because of insufficient and corrupt leadership; count on us for we represent an Agent of change for committed, transparent and focused leadership,” it says in the preamble to its manifesto.
“As a change Agent, APC intend to cleanse our closet to halt the dangerous drift of Nigeria to a failed state; with a conscious plan for post-oil-economy in Nigeria.
“To achieve this laudable programme APC government shall restructure the country, devolve power to the units, with the best practices of federalism and eliminate unintended paralysis of the center.”
These claims market the APC pretty well. As I observed in previous comments, however, a new party can basically place anything in its shopping basket in a bid to acquire power. The PDP did, and for 15 years, it used every such craft and every trick to snatch power, knowing it could then do whatever it pleased.
That is how we found ourselves with the monster of impunity, corruption and bad governance to which the APC says it is an answer.
Can the APC do it? In terms of winning political power, the party is on the ascendancy, but as we have seen, winning power is not the same thing as using it for the public good. If Nigerians have learned anything from their recent history, it is that words are not the same as intent, or even of ability.
On this count, the APC seems to be saying to Nigerians, “Trust me.”
Only a fool would trust the APC, as currently established, to be any different, let alone better than, the PDP, which is currently collapsing on its head.
However, while the opponent’s own goal may be enough for you to win the semi-final, it is not proof that you are capable of winning the final.
Let us remember that some of the APC-ers who are currently gushing with a certain pseudo-patriotic spirit were well-known clean-up men in the PDP and other parties.
In other words, if the APC is an answer to the PDP, is the APC also an answer to the APC? Can the APC discipline itself to serve Nigeria and not the APC?
“Democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed,” APC says in its manifesto.
“This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion. In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led; which means that the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder.”
It is unhelpful to argue with this analysis. In fact, those members of the ACP who travelled in through the New PDP made a stronger case during their journey, repeatedly stressing the necessity of a “democratic temperament.” They demanded a democracy inspired by free choice, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability.
As one of those who challenged the APC to reach for enduring an enduring platform, I am pleased to learn the party will use the Uwais Report to change the electoral law, and seek to make the Independent National and State Electoral Commissions (INEC) truly independent.
If elected, the party says it will institute an anti-corruption response through deploying the relevant agencies as strong and independent bodies. Some of us also thought the APC should institute an aggressive grassroots voter-registration scheme, which it put into play last week.
While I commend the APC for these proposals, the truth is that they do not go far enough to protect Nigerians should the party win power, and it must be clear that this is the heart of the challenge. What happens should the APC be elected and it begins to protect its looters?
Only by the establishment of clear internal standards and mechanisms, from the beginning, can the party hope to answer this question.
While it has accepted the need to provide a code of conduct, the party says such a document will be prepared by a body that has yet to be established.
That is unacceptable because such a code is the only way to tell those who genuinely want to use the APC to shield Nigerians from the rain from those who want to use it to shield themselves. It is the only way to guarantee the level playing field the APC has often spoken about, as opposed to a level playing field for the APC to compete with other political parties.
The battle for integrity is not the battle between political institutions, but the battle between right and wrong. That is why it is vital for any political party which proclaims change to demonstrate that it will have even higher standards for itself than is demanded by law. That is how desperate our situation is.
This is why, in a previous article, I called on the APC to “set clear standards, and demonstrate that those standards are higher than partisan politics and the APC itself. “
This is more important now than when the APC started out. The party is attracting an assemblage of people who ought to sign this code, as a pledge, so they know they are really committing themselves to true patriotism.
If they do not pledge to serve the people openly, they are almost certain to serve themselves privately, and that is the standard to which the APC says it objects.
Let every top member, every official at every level and every electoral prospect sign such a pledge and be judged by history.
All those who sign should get a party button which proudly proclaims: “I SIGNED!”
- Twitter: @SonalaOlumhense
Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.