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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The charade called APC Convention:

It is no longer news that the opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressive Congress APC has "elected" its first National Chairman after the amalgamation of three political parties, with one common goal-wrestle power from the ubiquitous ruling party the PDP.

The election of John Odigie Oyegun, one time Governor of Edo State between 1992 and 1993, during the aborted Nigerian Third Republic, at the Eagle square in Nigeria's Federal Capital city, Abuja might seem like the official beginning of the plot to unseat the PDP, but the manner in which his election was conjured, throws up a lot of questions.

The APC had always blamed the ruling PDP for most of the Nation's woes ranging from electoral malpractice, corruption, lack of good governance et al but the lack of internal party democracy in the APC seems to be an issue destined to rock the boat in its quest to grab power come 2015.

Before the commencement of the convention, the party had zoned the chairmanship position to the South South geo-political zone throwing up names like party big wig: Tom Ikimi, former Bayelsa state governor; Timipre Sylva and Sam Sam Jaja amongst others, but according to the Punch Newspaper:

"Oyegun’s victory was made possible by a powerful lobby led by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. A few hours before the convention, a former chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Tom Ikimi, was the only remaining contestant who could not be prevailed upon to step down for Oyegun. One of the contestants, Sam Jaja, told reporters at the convention venue that leaders of the party from the South-South zone “agreed to zone the position to Edo State.” This, he said, reduced the number of contenders from four to two, which included himself and a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva. It was learnt that Ikimi insisted on going ahead with the contest but failed to get support for his position."

"When it became obvious that he was in the minority, he boycotted the convention venue to register his displeasure. Sylva, who enjoyed the support of most of the party’s 16 governors, stepped down for Oyegun. This decision sealed the fate of Ikimi as Oyegun was announced as the sole candidate for the position" the Paper posited.

Meanwhile before the so called election commenced, another party stalwart Abubakar Kawu Baraje had insisted that the party is bent on reforming the pattern of party politics in the country by bringing in transparency and allowing delegates to freely choose between candidates who they want to lead them. Well, if you believed that, then you were fooled because the party ended up doing the exact opposite, hand-picking a candidate to run the affairs of the party.

Let me state here that this piece is not intended to malign the APC as a party, but a bitter remark on the persistent lack of internal party democracy in the country which on numerous occasion has threatened to rubbish the collective aspirations of members of political parties.

With the contentious election of Oyegun as APC chairman, there are now obvious cracks in the party, meanwhile the 2015 general election is fast approaching, the manner in which this issue is resolved will go a long way in determining how far the party goes in its quest to grab power from the ruling PDP.

Nedu Echianu
Broadcast Journalist
Follow me on twitter  @nedujizzy

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