Ikem Victor Okoye
It is an axiomatic fact that with the formation of All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of 2015 general elections, Anambra State was among the states that the party had initial and great prospect of becoming a winning and dominant party. Apart from having 250,000 registered members in its fold, majority of Anambra people, especially the major political stakeholders saw APC as a better and virile alternative to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that has been plagued with intractable leadership crises and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) that has lacked political direction and coordination since the demise of the ex-Biafra warlord, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and exit of ex-governor, Peter Obi from the party.
So, it was not surprising why ahead of 2015 general elections, the APC faithful in Anambra and its environs were highly expectant and optimistic that the party will come out of the elections victoriously. Unfortunately, the party’s performance in the elections was dismal and disappointing. This was despite the fact that the party performed creditably well in many states where its membership size was not half of that of Anambra State. So shocking is the fact that number of votes recorded by the party in the 2015 elections is not up to or half of its 250,000 registered members in the state at inception.
In the face of these obvious challenges and incontrovertible facts, the party leadership and its major stakeholders in the state never deemed it fit to do a post mortem on the challenges and reposition the party for recovery and great performance; instead they carried on as if there was cause for alarm and continued to use the party platform to further their personal political interests at the detriment of the majority of the party members and party growth in the state. It was like a case of a man whose house was on fire and he was busy chasing rats.
Also at this point, while some party leaders and stakeholders decided to play to the gallery, others chose to play the ostrich and the party continued to suffer membership loss, because members were highly disenchanted and disappointed by lack of leadership direction and elections’ victory. It was these anomalies which also include internal rancour, internal rivalry, animosity, self-centredness, greed, pettiness and divisiveness that caused the party the governorship seat in 2017 gubernatorial election in the state, where despite all hopes and expectations, the party failed to win any council area in the election.
Saying that the situation remained the same ahead of 2019 elections is an understatement. This was despite the fact that the party has leaders in the state, who have benefitted from the government immensely using the party’s platform. No wonder, the party recorded another dismal performance in 2019 elections to the extent that it were unable to achieve the minimal required 25 percent votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential poll, no seat in the State and National Assembly elections.
With this catalogue of failures in Anambra APC since its formation, it is obvious that there is urgent need for the party leaders, members and stakeholders to come together, sit down, take stock, dissect and soberly reflect on the journey so far and the way forward. Germane questions need to be asked and cogent and verifiable answers need to be frankly provided.
Questions such as how and why has the party continued to wobble and fumble in three successive polls in the state since its formation? Why has the party lost its initial 250,000 registered members and stakeholders? What happened to the initial goodwill and following that trailed the party from inception? Why has it become almost impossible for the party leaders, stakeholders and members to work together especially during elections? Who are these party leaders who have selfishly benefitted from the party at national level, but have continuously sabotage its growth and prosperity in the state? Why have leaders who have benefitted and still benefitting from the party refused to provide the expected leadership? Why haven’t they allowed the goodies, benefits and opportunities coming from the party at national level to trickle down to the grassroots? Who are the party leaders that are harbouring personal grudges against fellow party leaders in the state? Is that the barber don’t know how to shave or that the blade is not sharp?
Providing genuine answers to these salient questions, forgiving one another, close ranking, working as a team irrespective of members’ personal interests are key factors that will help in repositioning the party in the state. Anything contrary to this, will amount to shadow chasing or window dressing that have not helped matters in the past and will not be different this time around.
It is in line with these obvious challenges and its age-long negative consequences on the party’s election fortunes in the state that the party’s present leadership in the state led by acting chairman, Hon. Sir Basil Ejidike, deemed it necessary and expedient to organise a summit in the state, where all the party leaders, stakeholders and aggrieved members will converge to iron out their collective and personal differences and chart a new path for the party’s prosperity and growth in the state.
This is the way forward for the party and its members in the state. This is taking into cognizance the fact that the state will benefit much if it is taken to the centre. Party leaders, stakeholders, and members will also be more relevant and benefit when their party control the levers of power at the state and centre. There is no pretence about this. After all, the essence of party politics is to win election at all levels, at all times, control the levers of power, provide good governance and reward party faithful. Unfortunately, this has been obviously lacking in Anambra APC and it has not done and will never do the party and its members any good either in a long or short run. This is the best time to reorganize and reposition APC in Anambra State, before the party goes into extinction.
Again, there is no doubt that the self-inflicted challenges bedeviling APC in Anambra State since its formation is also responsible for the shaky, divisive and poor state of the party in other Southeast states. So it behoves Anambra APC leaders and stakeholders, whom the party’s national leadership and the Presidency know they have the capacity and wherewithal to close ranks and chart a new path for the party, not only in Anambra but the entire Southeast zone and beyond to do so now, if the much-talked about President of Igbo extraction in 2023 will be a reality.
Okoye writes from Amawbia, Awka, Anambra State.