By UbongAbasi Ise
“A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn” – African Proverb
If I have to send some congratulatory messages to certain set of APC contestants in the recent party primaries, definitely my congratulations wouldn’t have gone to the winners, but to those that found honour in their own defeat and bow to the ultimate cause of the party. Today in Akwa Ibom State, APC looks powerful and quite intimidating given the arrays of political heavyweights mounting its platform, but it is not without the Achilles heel. It seems the most powerful force that can make the party gain more competitive advantages or mar its chances of taking over the state, emanates from those with vanquished mentality within the APC fold. They can choose to be among the heroes that might break the record if APC ends the PDP 20-year rule by 2019 or risk it all by wrecking the boat to sink the entire party. But one advice is that the glory of losing with your own is more noble and sweeter than the shame and humiliation of losing with the strange alliance at the other side of the political divide. When you conquer with your intimates no matter the subsisting differences, you demand your share, but when you serve the odd ally, you beg for your right.
Yes! As good as APC looks to beat in the next general elections in the state, the overt weakness of the party lies in the agglomeration of juggernauts that see themselves first before they see the party. Those that want the party to be structured around their personal aggrandizements do not believe the party would go anyway far should they withdraw their supporting pillars, hence it is better the party is defeated elsewhere than their interests being defeated internally. Of course there is this terrible dichotomy within the party infamously tagged the PDP-in-APC and the APC-in-APC or the Real APC. Some members from both blocs appear ready to dissipate their energies in the tug of war over the spoils even before the actual war commences in 2019. Taking a deeper look, one discovers that the appellations used in describing the factional dichotomy within the party are nothing but hocus-pocus applied in justifying the needless in-fighting. The comical part of it is that the greatest percentage of the party membership all comes from the PDP stock. Almost all the who-is-who in the APC today appear to taste life in the PDP starting from the major governorship contestants like Distinguished Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, Obong Nsima Ekere, Barr. Bassey Dan-Abia, Bishop Samuel Akpan. Other political gladiators in the likes of Atuekong Don Etiebet, Senator Ita Enang, Obong Umana Okon Umana, Mr. Ini Okopido, Otuekong Sunny Jackson, DIG Udom Ekpoudom (rtd), Chief Sunny Ibanga, and the big one, Senator Godswill Akpabio came through PDP. And the account of origin and the historic emergence of APC as a ruling party in Nigeria could not be completed today without mentioning the hitherto PDP household names like Chibuike Amaechi, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Senator Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Dr. Chris Ngige. It is worthy of note that nPDP faction formed the merger with APC in 2013, a development that helped strengthened the party for the 2015 general elections.
There is no way APC can grow in Akwa Ibom State without the PDP defectors because the majority of the people were under the humongous umbrella of PDP since the return of democracy in 1999. I know some people are complaining that APC is just another label for PDP content in Akwa Ibom but where else could APC harvest new membership? If the APC in the state are looking for members to expand and entrench their hold on Akwa Ibom political space, then they don’t need to go to the moon or Jupiter to shop for new members other than looking within the state’s predominant PDP for demographic edge. As far as Akwa Ibom was PDP and PDP was Akwa Ibom until recent events change all that, new political subscribers to APC are likely to be PDP. Those that sit down to lament the influx of PDP members into APC should also explain what is really cabbalistic about those that arrived the party earlier and those that comes later. The ultimate aim of every APC individual, no matter the differences in interests, ought to focus on how to snatch power from the PDP at the state level without minding who are PDP-in-APC and APC-in-APC. Even the communist USSR during Second World War had to form alliance with ‘unwholesome’ capitalists like Britain, France, and later, USA, to defeat a common enemy – the terribly evil Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Therefore, those claiming to be APC-in-APC need PDP-in-APC people in a bid to rout their common adversaries at the polls.
But the truth is that the deadliest enemies of APC are not actually those that openly stick with the PDP; they are the political gluttons that serve as snitches within the APC ranks. They are those that would love to take pleasure in labeling the PDP in the broad day light as People Deceive People. They would create a picture that shows that there is nothing good about the PDP because the party is a palindrome that can never change meaning whether you start reading ‘People Deceiving People’ from forward or backward position. But these are the people that turn themselves to nocturnal servants of PDP paymasters. If things turn sour at the end, these double-faced individuals with the APC label would celebrate even more than their unholy allies at the other side of the divide, and if it becomes sweet, they would attribute the victory to their self-acclaimed heroic contributions without a scintilla of conscience. And nobody would waste time in disputing the claims with them.
In Akwa Ibom State, APC has really transformed itself to a force to reckon with ahead of the battle of 2019. I know a handful of individuals in the APC may love to claim all the credits. Truth be told, it should be Senator Ita Enang that deserves a fair share of the plaudits. When the present PDP state government was looming large, Senator Enang became that lone voice in the wilderness that constantly bark and hammer to let the Akwa Ibom State government know there is the presence of opposition in the state. He practically took over the role of APC spokesman and a party father. Of course, many are aware of the Planet FM’s People Parliament programme which came to provide the opposition elements with a solid platform to soberly scrutinize the policies, programmes and activities of the incumbent PDP government – all thanks to Senator Ita J. Enang. Before certain persons think themselves to be above the party, they should first of all assess themselves to know if they have been able to keep alive the opposition politics since 2015 the way Ita Enang does. It is not all about showing up when elections are around the corner and then hibernate when the elections are over. It is all about sustaining the opposition spirit not only in the context of electioneering but in the passion of taking up a watchdog role. Obong Nsima Ekere has also made significant contributions in taking the APC to the level it attains today. If not for his unprecedented performance at the NDDC, obviously, the physical presence of APC-led federal government would have been very weak in a state like Akwa Ibom that is forcefully controlled by the PDP. Indeed, Ekere has given the state reasons to consider the gains of sharing the same party platform with the Federal Government. His emergence as an APC gubernatorial flag-bearer should not be viewed as an act of favouritsm but a reward for hard-work.
The APC executives in the state should not be distracted by the events emanating from the aftermath of the primaries. They should stay focus, identify and involve those that have the alacrity to remain and work for the party. They should be overlooking the antics and distractions of those nugatory politicians whose interests are parallel and diametrical to the party mainstream. This is not to say that the reconciliation process and unity should not be given due emphasis. For the party to emerge victorious in the forthcoming elections, all the APC faithful should bear in mind that the symbol of party is broom which signifies unity. Without unity, APC appears to PDP like mere broomsticks that could easily be broken when not bound with others. Therefore, it is high time all the APC faithful should rally their interests around Obong Nsima Ekere and move to the battle ground in 2019 in ONE accord.
Yes! I am UbongAbasi Ise. For comment, please send SMS to 08189914609 | firstname.lastname@example.org