Nigeria News
APC Primaries, Battles Ahead

THE All Progressives Congress, APC, had to extract an undertaking from its aspirants ahead of today’s APC presidential congress at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. They have promised to remain APC members no matter who wins. Our quick sand politics has latitudes that accommodate tendencies, especially changing camps when we lose positions.

All the contenders came from different groups that pooled their angst with the way Nigeria was running to arrive at APC. The differences tended to stand against the party, particularly when the issue was the presidential candidate. Former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, Governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, and newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah have spent months canvassing their qualifications for the APC top ticket. They are all qualified as the party showed in accepting their aspirations.

Who would delegates choose? Would those not chosen accept the primaries which suffered postponements over matters like venue or more importantly how the delegates would be elected? These matters were important to the aspirants, as anything could hurt their interests.

APC faced many battles to this point. The party’s internal democracy, or its absence, as in all the parties, came to the fore again. The aspirants’ agreement to remain in APC was a great strategy to keep the party intact into the general elections in February. With the multiplicity of new interests, in an organisation in its formative stages, APC has more issues of fairness to aspirants to settle than its main opponent, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Two key issues that easily collapse into one – the North-South dichotomy and religion – are constants in APC’s troubles. The fusion of different parties that represented different interests has been trying for APC, in addition to avoiding the religious tag opponents hang on it. All the candidates seem to sing the same tunes in their manifesto. They have progressive agenda for Nigerians, whose plight they blame on almost 16 years of PDP domination of governments across the country. These sound nice when there is a common enemy, another political party.

Whoever wins the primaries presents the next set of challenges for APC. The peculiarity of each aspirant is the challenge. The first task is the choice of the vice presidential candidate. Ordinarily, the appeal of the vice presidential candidate, his broad acceptance in the party, his attractiveness to voters, and willingness to work with the presidential candidate should be factors.

The politics of religion and zoning of offices have overtaken these considerations. APC would conclude its primaries as one, but the intrigues from its opaque practices, would continue to challenge it.


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