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PLATEAU STATE AND APC’S IMPENDING IMPLOSION
The attempt to impose a governorship candidate on the party will be resisted, writes Chris Gyang
A perfect storm is brewing in the house of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. There are surging waves of political betrayals, imposition of pro-establishment and powerful groups’ and individuals’ aspirants, dubious application of the Electoral Acts’ consensus clause to favour certain aspirants, are dangerously swirling in this APC contraption.
These are threatening to drown this house of cards, ad-hoc palaces of convenience hurriedly erected on sand, to serve the purpose of capturing power by a motley alliance of strange bedfellows.
Nothing vexes the Nigerian politician more than a threat to his personal political ambition. That, he is prepared to wholeheartedly protect with his life. If this was not so, Nigeria would have been a much better country today and our partisan politics less contentious.
This is at the heart of the overwhelming and widespread dissonance we are witnessing all over the country as political parties get ready to hold their primary elections in the coming days. Apparently, the political class is caught in a battle of wits in a way never seen before.
This is because occupying an elective or appointed political office automatically secures and protects you, your immediate family and future generations from the stings of our country’s pervasive poverty, insecurity and the other indices of underdevelopment that have become the order of the day.
Had the political class expended a fraction of the exertions it is now applying on securing the tickets of their political parties towards the forthcoming elections on the pursuit of our collective national goals, Nigeria would have been a heaven on earth today.
Just the other day, for instance, airlines threatened to shut down their services and all hell was let loose among the political and business elites. They are the main customers of the airlines as ordinary Nigerians are left at the mercy of our terrorists/kidnappers-infested high ways, most of which are already death traps because of gaping potholes and general state of disrepair.
Faced with the dangerous prospects of resorting to road transport, the members of the House of Representatives convened an emergency session for the following day to tackle that problem. They had been on recess. Even before that sitting was held, the federal government had met the demands of the airline industry.
But a lecturers’ strike has crippled Nigeria’s public universities for more than two months now. The federal government has been accused of doing very little to ensure the resolution of this lingering crisis that has become the rule rather than the exception in the reckoning of the country’s educational system.
As we see today, the political gladiators who have held sway in the past seven years are gradually coming to terms with the reality of their mutual incompatibility. It is the internal strife and contradictions borne out of lack of common goals and shared values towards the transformation of the fatherland that will finally rip the APC asunder.
In fact, because they never had anything in common, talk less of a firm and purposeful ideology, they have virtually handed our country to terrorists and bandits and made life unbearable for the majority of its citizens. Now, they are engaged in a fierce, internecine, struggle to grab the remaining crumbs of our commonwealth.
A leopard can never change its spots. It was only a matter of time for Governor Lalong’s penchant for impunity and arrant disregard for the rule of law to be mercilessly turned at the very people and interests that hailed him as a hero of democracy when he rode roughshod on Plateau citizens, especially the opposition party.
This has become the hallmark of the last seven years of his lack-lustre administration which has been more popular for its ceremonial use of power, acute cronyism and mediocrity than actual and serious governance which move both society and its citizens forward in a most tangible, positive manner.
Is it therefore a surprise that about 17 gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the APC are now stranded, apparently short-changed by Governor Lalong’s native predilection for draconian manipulations using his official position? The aggrieved aspirants accuse him of ‘endorsing’ one of them and is bent on ‘imposing’ him as the Party’s standard bearer in the 2023 governorship election.
They have threatened to politically hit back at the governor and what is gradually becoming the leftovers of the APC in Plateau State if a free and fair primary is not guaranteed for all of them. Other members of the APC in the state have for long accused the governor of turning the party into his pet and denying it of internal democracy.
Analysts say that this is likely the hatchet job of a first timer in the House of Representatives who has ensconced himself as the new kid on the block of Plateau politics. He is claimed to have vowed that he would single-handedly install the governor’s favoured aspirant as the state’s next governor as a mark of his political coming of age.
But critics, with the benefit of hindsight, have advised him to tread with caution for Plateau people cannot be taken for granted and for a ride. If not, they warn, he may get to taste the bitterness of rushing where even angels fear to tread, sooner or later. He is also rumoured be one of the hatchet men of the core north, working in cohoots with Governor Lalong – a Middle Belter who has sold his soul for a cheap morsel of political power.
Now, do APC members and unsuspecting citizens who have been serially hoodwinked, tricked into buying into Governor Lalong’s mendacious, opaque ‘Rescue Mission’ need a prophet to tell them that they had conned?
It’s at once pathetic and laughable that the same people who either sang Hosannah or sat on the fence when, in pursuit of Mr. Lalong’s personal ambition, the PDP was barred from participating in critical elections into local government councils and unilaterally masterminded the sacking of the speaker of the state legislature, among other morally reprehensible infractions, are now splitting hairs at his latest act of perceived injustice because it is threatening their gubernatorial ambitions.
When you see your brother’s beard on fire, you should douse your own with water. But most members of the Plateau APC were consumed, blinded by the inordinate quest to grab, retain and misuse power, even at the detriment of the political progress of the state.
Now this. And they are feeling the pangs more than other ordinary citizens because they kept quiet, were complicit, when the opposition party was being subjected to some of the most horrendous illegalities churned out of Mr. Lalong’s black political logbook.
The lesson for them and Plateau State as a whole? When we glorify apparent evil because it serves our personal interests, we must be ready when it finally knocks on our door because evil values no friendships and is blind and rapacious in its spread.
We sincerely advise today’s victims in the APC to take a hard, dispassionate retrospective look at Lalong’s seven years in office and decide if, indeed, those of us who sounded the alarm long, long, ago were not right in our postulations that we would finally arrive at this sad juncture.
The impending implosion in the APC should be a wake-up call to all patriotic Plateau citizens and Nigerians as a whole to take a more critical and objective look at the ignominious footprints of the Lalong government and interrogate his policies since 2015. Then they will come to the frightening conclusion that, just as we had warned countless times before, there is a sinister plot to, first, subordinate the overall interests of Plateau citizens to his personal, eggregious, ambition.
Gyang is the Chairman of the N.G.O, Journalists Coalition for Citizens’ Rights Initiative