30 Jun 2015

Why APC Should Apologise To Its Voters - by Anthony Kila

Lest we become guilty of what we accuse others of doing, it is imperative that we calmly but unequivocally state that the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress needs to apologise to their voters and supporters for the way things have turned on the political landscape of the country in the last three weeks. There is no other way to honestly put it and the latest spectacle of “Fighting Senators” sums it all: The APC leaders have so far performed below the expectations of their voters and supporters. The least these leaders can do to redeem themselves for such level of unsatisfactory performance is to find the wisdom and courage to apologise to their voters and supporters.

Just in the astonishing case that the leaders of the APC are unaware or have forgotten, let us remind them that those who voted and supported their party did so because they genuinely wanted and continue to hope for radical change in the way things are done in the country. We must also remind the leaders of the APC that during the last general elections, the party’s candidates, leaders and champions at various levels encouraged and reassured people that such mode and level of change is possible. In case the leaders of the APC are unaware, then I have some information for them: Your voters and supporters expect mega efficiency and even miracles from you. They expect you to be very different in substance and in style and all these bickering and whiff of continuity with prolificacy are at wide variance with their expectations.



Scholarly speaking, there is nothing so shocking or unprecedented about the mess the APC is throwing up. As students of history and politics will be well aware, everywhere you look at in time and space, it is a very common feature of truly progressive political parties to be vibrant, divided and rowdy associations and movement. Their survival and efficiency in government tend be a function and merit or demerit of their leaders. History is littered with examples of messy and rowdy progressive parties and coalitions saved or destroyed by the virtues or weaknesses of their leaders. You can take your pick from Italy, Israel or even Nigeria of the Second Republic. Discipline and orderliness are traits more ascribable to conservative parties be it on the left or on the right side of politics. As a student of politics, I found it odd and fascinating to note that in Nigeria, self-professed progressive parties like the defunct Congress for Progressive Change and the Action Congress of Nigeria were able to maintain high level of discipline and orderliness in politics and governance.

Knowing that progressive parties are prone to chaos should not however be conceived or admitted as a mitigating factor for the APC leaders; rather I consider it aggravating.

Although it will not hurt them, we are not even asking the leaders of the APC to be scholars of history or politics, their Peoples Democratic Party rivals and their surrogates were very vocal and articulate in postulating the APC as a mere conglomerate for power and positing that the APC will fall at the first hurdle.

Knowing that their party is theoretically prone to chaos and that those who do not wish them well like those in the PDP are expecting them to disintegrate into a mess at the first hurdle should have made the leaders of the APC prepare for the events leading to their mess today and deal with it in a satisfactory manner.

There is no good enough excuse. The elections of the Senate President, the House of Representatives Speaker and all other related leadership positions were known events long before now and even the names of those interested in contesting these positions were out in the open way before now. If there was no time at all, there were at least two months before now and the days of those elections. The party leaders should and could have come together to find a graceful solution to these issues. The APC leaders need to apologise to their voters and supporters for their failure to do so.

Many were quick to describe the last elections as historic and crucial in the life of the country and that of Africa. Well, now that the APC is in power, the leaders of the party need to remember that historical fact and crucial to the country is now their own utterances, comportments, legislative and executive acts. People are hopeful and understandably impatient. The recent squabble and uncertainty as well as the lack of extraordinary pace in actualising the party’s manifesto is worrisome.

The elections that brought these leaders into power were a tough expensive and polarising battle that pitched neighbours, siblings and even couples against one another. They were elections that saw a lot of people see their own party win national elections the first time ever. The leaders of the APC need to apologise to their voters and supporters for putting them in a position in which supporters of continuity of the past administration and cynics can now say to the APC voters and supporters, “Did we not tell you that they are all the same?”

Elections are over; if anybody in power still wants to fight, let him or her face and fight corruption, unemployment, insecurity, epileptic power supply and bad roads.

 

- Anthony A. Kila, a Jean Monnet professor of Strategy and Development, is currently Director of Studies at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies.

@anthonykila

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