When in 2013, the All Progressives Progress, APC was registered as a political party in Nigeria, it was a sign of relief for so many reasons bordering on the fact that a truly genuine opposition party has come to stay.
This was informed by the strength of the various parties that came together to form what was then referred to as a mega party to rival the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which had been in the saddle for almost two decades.
The joy of Nigerians knew no bounds because from the slogan of the party, which emphasises change, Nigerians indeed, expected that in all aspects of life, the change mantra would be replicated. The overwhelming solidarity vote the party enjoyed in the last general elections in the country were largely as a result of the fact that Nigerians truly needed a change from the PDP whose impunity was no longer tolerated by every dint of imagination.
Amazingly, after clinching power at the centre, the party which promises to uphold integrity and uprightness in all ramifications especially as it relates to zero tolerance for corruption has suddenly toned down its position on this hydra headed monster that has reduced the integrity of the country on the international forum.
From the body language of the party, it seems its sheer disdain for corruption was a mere slogan used to hypnotise Nigerians into believing that the party has indeed purged itself or is rather set on a cleaning mission.
It is however glad to know that President Muhammadu Buhari holds opposing view on the matter, a stand which remains unwavering. His party, on the other hand, is sitting on the precipice. Few examples would suffice.
Up till now, it is still an amazement how the APC intends to explain to Nigerians about its position on some key aspirants in the upcoming Kogi guber polls. Against public outcry, the party which claimed has a set of guidelines by which all aspirants must meet, among which is a clean record against corruption, has gone ahead to clear some of the aspirants jostling to contest the governorship polls whose towering pedigree in alleged corrupt cases are public knowledge.
A good example includes the candidature of the former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu whose case before the anti-graft agencies is said to be on going. Against all permutations, no one expects the party’s screening committee to clear this former governor on the ground of certain issues bothering on his smeared image, but in the eyes of the APC, it is ‘business as usual’.
The same goes for former senator, Nicholas Ugbane who is also in the race. We cannot ignore also a former Air Force officer, Saliu Atawodi who is also one of the toasts of the APC. In the last senatorial election, a senatorial aspirant from Kogi West Senatorial District, the party disqualified Hon. Sam Aro over mere allegations of corruption, which was not fully substantiated.
The party embarked on that hypocritical mission as a smokescreen to portray its saintly posture in order to win in the general election but months after, it’s a different drum beat. Today, Sam Aro has been denied the race and Dino Melaye clinched the position but those with terrible dent on their names are today the party’s candidates in a governorship race. What a sham. As at August 23, no fewer than 27 aspirants have been cleared by the party to contest the primaries of this all important election.
The party appears to have forgotten that this is the first election that would ever be conducted under the watch of its leadership. The question on the minds of every discerning Nigerians about the drama playing out in Kogi state is whether the action of the party is an official endorsement of corrupt individuals to contest for public office or such aspirants should receive opprobrium.
To the APC, it does not matter who contests for that highest executive position in the state as long as the candidate can secure victory for the party. That is an admission of compromise which attracts serious penalty for the party on the long run.
Thus, as the party intends to conduct primaries for all the aspirants today, in Lokoja without any consideration for the apparent, looming violent outcome of this charade and much to the chagrin of many, the party is aware that the looming crisis, which would emanate from this sordid arrangement would pave way for the PDP, instead, the APC seems to be progressing in error. This is not the meaning of change.
Idachaba writes from Abuja