After much dithering, protests, drama and fisticuffs as members of the party in some states fought for supremacy, it is good that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) finally held its national convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on June 23. No doubt, the convention can be said to have succeeded more than many Nigerians had expected. In spite of its numerous imperfections, the convention was nevertheless peaceful.
Eighteen out of the 60 positions were returned unopposed. While Imo and Delta delegates fought openly at the venue of the convention, some Zamfara delegates loyal to a certain senator were shut-out of the venue. President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, APC governors and party chiefs were among dignitaries that graced the occasion.
By law, a party’s convention should hold every two years. But holding it after three years of being in power is indeed a big minus for the party. It shows that all is not well with the party. While returning some candidates unopposed may appear democratic, especially if not forced, but generally using voice vote may, in some instance, be antithetical to democratic culture when such candidates are imposed. Using voice vote as a subtle form of imposition is against the tenets of internal democracy.
At the end of the entire exercise, former governor of Edo State, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, emerged as the National Chairman of the party through consensus. Other national key officers of the party include, Bamidele Oluwajana, National Vice Chairman, South West, Mala Mai Bunu, National Secretary, Niyi Adebayo, Deputy National Chairman, South, Senator Lawal Shaibu, Deputy National Chairman, North, Babatunde Ogala, National Legal Adviser, Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity Secretary and Hon. Jack Alamba, Deputy National Welfare secretary.
Despite the hiccups that trailed the convention, we commend the newly elected national officers of the party and urge them to unify the party. There must be unity among its members for the party to achieve the expected results for Nigerians. The party must not continue to behave as if it is still composed of strange bedfellows as alleged by the opposition. The APC should learn how to manage its diversity and success. This is one area the party appears to have failed. The leadership of the party should address the executive/legislative feud, the executive/judiciary friction and others.
The party’s diversity almost marred its congresses. The outcome of the national convention showed that the problems that trailed its congresses are still very much around and even festering. Some members of the party are still aggrieved in some states. Even though the convention is over, there are so many issues the party has to contend with, especially dealing with its aggrieved members and factions.
That delegates from some states were not allowed to vote showed that there are still cracks in the walls of the party. The post-convention appeal committee should manage the fallout of the exercise and redress all grievances. How the committee manages the crisis will determine, to a large extent, the future of the party.
Therefore, we urge the Oshiomhole-led leadership to address the grievances that arose from the convention and move the party forward. The new APC leadership should not ignore the nPDP members and other aggrieved groups within its fold. The new leadership should urge the party to deliver on its promises to the people before the next election.
Given that a convention is the internal affair of the party, the outcome of such a convention may affect the country either positively or negatively. Other political parties should ensure that their conventions are conducted in a fair, free and credible manner. Doing so is the best way to deepen our growing democratic culture.