IN June 2020, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on the brink – and some analysts were euphorically writing off the party. Some even claimed the party might be in its last days. But a rescue – that appeared like a miracle – came with the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NCW) and the swearing-in of a National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Committee under the leadership of Honourable Mai Mala Buni, who is also the executive governor of Yobe State.
The caretaker committee is already taking steps to put the party back on track and address all the grievances that, in the first place, brought it to its feet. A crisis, for a political party, is much more than a crisis; it is a setback and a damage that it is very difficult to recover from. Since the caretaker committee took over the party, where is the party heading to?
Right now, APC is conducting a party membership revalidation and registration across the country. So far, the all-important exercise is going on smoothly. New members can register and those who are already members of the party can renew their membership. The caretaker committee under the leadership of Governor Buni did not start this project until after wider consultations took place – especially with all the party stakeholders. Every activity carried out by the caretaker committee towards restoring the party has the endorsement of all party stakeholders.
Seven months ago, before starting his current assignment, Governor Buni went around Nigeria and met with all the party’s key stakeholders. During one of such visits, one of the party’s stakeholders Chief Bisi Akande, while receiving the caretaker committee at his country home, Ila Orangun, in Osun State, expressed confidence and support to the committee and the work it is doing to reconcile and address all outstanding party grievances. Chief Akande was also quoted by the media as saying, “There is great hope in what I have seen in this committee. The party will certainly bounce back stronger. I will continue to leave myself open and with a call on other stakeholders to cooperate and support the committee (caretaker) to succeed.”
Every step the Buni-led committee is taking is constitutional, including the ongoing membership registration and validation exercise. All actions of the caretaker committee were approved by the party’s highest decision-making body: the National Executive Council (NEC). Every step taken by the Buni-led committee is receiving support of all the party’s stakeholders. In fact, they need more support of all party members now to move the party forward. The registration and revalidation of membership comes at the right time and is worth all the sweats. It is an exercise that is long overdue. The party lost some members due to defections and also gained new members who might have turned 18 years old recently.
So far, the caretaker committee under the leadership of Governor Buni is taking the path of reconciliation. This path brings back into the party’s fold bigwigs who left the APC ahead of the 2015 general election. Most of such big names left the party out of feeling of unfair treatment. Getting them back into the party is a concrete achievement. The party has also gained bigwigs who defected. All these are signs that the party is rebuilding confidence and will never go back to its recent past of chaos.
When APC was almost consumed by crisis, many state chapters of the party were also contending with internal wrangling detrimental to the party’s present and future. Through consultation with and engaging stakeholders, Governor Buni was able to resolve crisis in at least 12 states and reconciliation is now a continuous exercise to ensure that the party mends all fences.
At the end of the ongoing party rebuilding exercise, Governor Buni will rebuild APC and turn it into a strong democratic institution. Clearly, the caretaker committee is addressing internal grievance in a fair and just manner. It is also entrenching a strong culture of internal democracy.
These achievements are not coming on a platter of gold. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice. This is the reason all well-meaning party members must support the caretaker committee and its plan to put the party on the right track. There might be Trojan horses and other distractions on the way to building the party. One of such was the insinuation that the party is courting former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is totally untrue and baseless. This insinuation was based only on hearsay and conjecture, just because of some APC governors’ visit to former President Jonathan to congratulate him on his birthday. The visit that was a show of respect to his position as a former president of Nigeria was hijacked by political jobbers to spread unfounded claims.
As the task of rebuilding the APC goes on, such claims, insinuations and allegations will continuously be thrown at the caretaker committee. But with Governor Buni incharge, the journey to a new APC will not be distracted. At the end, the party will be stronger, united and ready to face the future.
- Olawale wrote from Barnawa in Kaduna.
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