“This could have been an email” I am sure you have seen that meme on social media. That was the best way to describe what happened at the Eagles Square on the 26th of March when APC had a convention that had been 2years in the making. Hundreds of millions went into planning this fanfare of a convention that can now be described as an anticlimax. There was chaos, there was some violence and then, there was acceptance that the party was supreme amidst tears.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement released by the president through his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, “The APC convention hosted this weekend sets the scene for an APC victory in the presidential and general elections next year. It is a victory over naysayers, who believed the party was divided but are now disappointed. What the convention made clear was how the media has been peddling fake news of division, when the hard reality of unity, cohesion, and, indeed, personal warmth between members of the party’s leaders – incoming and outgoing – was evident for all to see.”
If you go by that statement and didn’t visit the convention ground, never saw a social media post about the convention or even watched it on TV, you may agree with him. However, despite the dig at the media, the stories of disunity and lack of harmony was not just in our imagination, it was on full display at the convention ground. The reactions of people who had gone to the convention hoping to take part in a fair contest only to be disappointed, pain a much truer picture.
For some APC members like the president, it was perfect but for members who had to forsake their ambition on the hill of party supremacy (or autocracy) and for outsiders looking in, we were left scratching our heads wondering what just happened. For a party that has touted itself as a progressive party, the lack of internal democratic process was on full display as they showed a complete disregard for the ideals they claim to hold.
Just before the APC convention, I had interviewed three of the party members, Senator Sani Musa who was contesting for the post of National Chairman, Olusegun Dada and Rinsola Abiola both vying for the post of National Youth Leader.” These contestants had purchased forms totaling 30million naira between them. I asked all three the same question: “What if you are asked to step down for someone else knowing your party supports the “consensus candidate” position?”
Senator Musa told me he believed he was the man for the job and he would exercise his right to contest as he has been with the APC and has been loyal. Even throwing shade at the other contestants that they were too old. Interestingly, one of those contestants, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, became the consensus candidate compelling Senator Musa to step down before the day of the convention.
However, Olusegun Dada who had told me he wasn’t stepping down caused a scene at the convention until he was told of two legal cases against him and amidst tears, he announced a retreat.
Rinsola Abiola insisted she wasn’t aware of any microzoning or of a consensus candidate and that it was going to be a fair contest saying she would cross the bridge when she got to it and dismissing the question as a hypothetical one. Well, the hypothetical quickly became her reality and she went away quietly without a fuss.
The President had his pick for the chairmanship position and so did the governors whose unity list determined the emergence of all successful candidates. The question, however, is why ask people to purchase a form and spend monies on campaigns for a contest that you know would not hold? Perhaps next time, an email of names of those chosen for the positions will suffice. Spare us the jamboree.
It has been said that the party reigns supreme but does accepting Party supremacy mean forfeiting your right to contest for a position? Is that how loyalty to a party is tested? Reminds me of a popular line by the Minister of works & housing and former governor of Lagos state Babatunde Fashola, “May our loyalty never be tested”
Indeed the loyalty of the members who purchased forms and spent millions on campaigns to take part in a contest where the winner was already established was tested. Will they keep holding on or would they break ranks as their dreams and faith in the party is shattered?
The APC has been described as “a bed of strange fellows” and like you, I wonder, how long the center would hold? As the race to the 2023 elections gets more heated, we will surely find out.
Listen to Faith’s interview with Segun Dada and Rinsola Abiola here: http://https://traffic.megaphone.fm/AVAL6345978547.mp3?updated=1648198336
Also Listen to interview with Senator Musa here: http://www.classic94.fm/nass-focus-interview-sen-sani-musa-18-03-2022