APC, Ekiti and Complacency by Sunnie Chukumele
The media is awash with stories on the Ward Congresses of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC on Saturday the 5th of May 2018 throughout the country with the exception of Ekiti State which had been scheduled to hold its APC Governorship primaries to select the party’s standard bearer in near coming governorship election July 14, which is barely 2 months away.
The party is also running against time to meet the deadlines set by the country’s election umpire, INEC, which supposedly should not be later than 11th of May, failure which will mean that APC will not be having a candidate for the July elections in Ekiti.
With the public shame, disrepute and despicable actions watched on live television on that fateful Saturday at the primaries venue in Ado-Ekiti the State capital, and coupled with the reactions from the aspirants themselves, and even the leadership of the Ekiti State APC who have out-rightly expressed lack of confidence in that exercise with call for its cancellation, Political observers cannot but join in the discourse.
From my observation, it would appear that of all the 33 contestants only one has called vehemently for the adoption and counting of the votes of the five local governments that had already voted before fiasco, even though the whole world watched the wanton destruction of the ballot boxes and its contents by the invading mob and protesters.
Also worrisome is the report of the invasion and destruction of the party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday 7th of May.
That all these are happening in the “change” party certainly leaves much to be desired. Even the spirited efforts of APC spokesman to manage the public image emanating from the Ekiti saga in a rather nebuluos manner further shows to throw the spanner in the works for the party. One would have thought that the APC would have pragmatically engaged in damage control.
I would rather, that APC should make use of the statements or comments of His Excellency (Engr) Segun Oni, former Governor of Ekiti, leader and immediate past Deputy National Chairman of the party, who exhibited so much maturity and understanding for the interest of his party and the very serious task ahead of APC if they are serious to take back the State from PDP. Conversely, His Excellency (Dr.) Kayode Fayemi, also a former Governor of Ekiti and current Minister of Solid Minerals ousted by Gov. Peter Ayodele Fayose in 2014 in a rather embarrassing result is looking hell bent in coming back to the Ekiti Government House and making discourteous statements with regards to the disaster of the botched Ekiti primary elections of May 5.
It is also very instructive for the party, APC to act with utmost immediacy of working in concert with all the good headed and good hearted aspirants and critical stakeholders to very quickly resolve the Ekiti mess because APC looks like one leaving in a glass house who should not throw stones recklessly. A person who is dressed in white is usually extremely cautions of him or herself. APC should consequently not be oblivious of its environment.
If what we watched live on television was true and the APC party treats it with kid gloves, it then would mean that change is yet to berth in Nigeria. If it is also true that Delegates to the Ekiti primaries were induced by a staggering one million naira, to vote for a particular aspirant in a very poor state like Ekiti, then one would not hesitate to call on EFCC and other relevant institutions of State to interrogate the Ekitit situation.
President Buhari also has a burden on this matter. The incredulous reports emanating from his party’s internal elections last weekend will put a dent on his sterling image in the International community. So the President as the leader of the party bears the most burden on this issue, and must as a matter of urgency, also wade into this crisis that is making mockery of his party and his personal stance as one who does not tolerate indiscipline and corruption, most particularly as a ranking member of his cabinet is being accused by other aspirants and contestants as being responsible for the crisis that erupted at the primaries.
On the National Chairman of APC, His Excellency (Chief) Dr. John Odigie Oyegun, who has been known to be a thorough gentleman and astute administrator must save his name and image by taking proactive and pragmatic actions that will save the battered image of the Party he is chairing. The buck here definitely stops at his desk.
From the utterances of the agitated governorship aspirants and their supporter, regarding the integrity of the committee whose management of their assignment looked tardy and compromised one cannot but say that this is also a burden on the National Chairman of the party because if a team he trusted and selected for such an important assignment fails, he has also failed.
I must commend the learnt action of the Chairman of the Committee, Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State who we hear asked the Secretary of his Committee to step down on discovery of his association and relationship with former Governor Fayemi who is a contestant. But it seemed that his eyes were not on the ground, which some unscrupulous members of his committee capitalized upon to damage the integrity of that primary election. And this has tainted his hard earned image and reputation as a good man and leader.
Governor Al-Makura must be on the side of truth to redeem his image by exposing those in his committee whose actions has dragged the reputation of the Committee to the mud.
Complacancy has cost the APC some vital losses in the recent past. One case in mind is the loss of the Senate seat the former Senator Isiaka Adeleke left vacant when he died. The APC lost the seat due to complacency which made the party not to carry out simple opinion poll or research to give them an insight of who can give them victory. They lost that senate seat to the PDP.
Going back to the Ekiti primaries, the party ought to be more bothered to have a seemly outcome of the primaries exercise which result should be acceptable and uniting for a common resolve ahead of a herculean battle against an incumbent party, instead of the show of shame and macabre dance exhibited last Saturday.
Just on Tuesday the 8th of May, Senator Olujimi stepped down for Senator Adeyeye who is also an aspirant in the PDP primary elections in Ado Ekiti leaving only 2 the Deputy Governor of Ekiti and preferred candidates of the outgoing Governor Fayose, Prof Eleka to square it out. Here reason prevailing and Senator Olujini will definitely derive the benefits of her maturity, wisdom and understanding. The crowd of 33 APC aspirant should take a cue.
The party seemed to have been more interested in making the Ekiti governorship race an all comers affair, setting aside its guidelines and legacy principles. There appeared not to be a screening committee or if they had one, it took instructions from “Ogas on top”.
By the application of system analysis, the problem of Ekitit gubernatorial primaries is situated in the dysfunction of the screening committee.
What the President and all critical stakeholders need as a matter of urgency is carry out an instant SWOT analysis of all the candidates to determine who among them can give the party a hard earned victory in July, because it is not going to be an easy ride.
APC cannot afford to field a candidate with baggages or skeletons in his/her cupboard. The party cannot also afford to dance naked now, let alone with the growing disenchantment among the populace and electorates. It must checkmate impunity and brigandage.
The Ekiti election will certainly set the tone for Osun, and Osun in turn for the February 2019 Presidential and general elections. Complacency will be costly.
Another most pragmatic headway must be for the Ekiti aspirants to see reasons beyond personal ego and parochial interest and come to terms and rally round one of their best whom the rest can trust and freely back to achieve their collective aim which I think is to win back their dear State into the fold of the progressives. This way they would have helped their party resolve this naughty issue faster than imagined.
High Chief Sunnie Chukumele is a Political Sociologist, Public Affairs commentator, Leadership expert and advocate. He lives in Port Harcourt.