Will the APC Survive from its victory at the 2019 elections? — Nigerian Pilot News
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Will the APC Survive from its victory at the 2019 elections?



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As the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) fresh from its victory at the 2019 elections goes through the motions of preparing itself for the tasks that lie ahead it is necessary to appraise the party’s performance at the elections and the fallouts this performance threw up with a view to determining how the party will measure up to the expectations of Nigerians in the next four years.

Let us begin with the elections. Nigerians viewed this as the litmus test of how the APC will fare in the first elections to be conducted under its watch. In this regard there was a general expectation that as a party which came to power in the 2015 elections with a stated commitment to upholding the rule of law and due process, the APC will by the conduct of its internal processes convince Nigerians to expect a comparative qualitative improvement in the 2019 elections from what we have come to experience under elections conducted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it held sway.

In the run up to the 2015 elections the APC by the conduct of its internal processes earned universal admiration and hope as the beacon of our democratic future. In the 2019 however the APC arrived the elections bearing the same ills that we have come to identify with the PDP which to a large extent led to its loss of power in 2015. In many states the rule of thumb was for governors to seek to hijack the party machinery with a view to isolating perceived political opponents. We all saw the fallouts from those acts of political chicanery wherein the APC became riven with factions in ferocious political battles with each often tearing the much needed cohesion and focus of the party.

Of course APC party apologists sought to deflect the spate of civil wars in the party as an indication of democracy at work. But nobody was deceived because Nigerians saw clearly that the factional political battles raging in the APC were not to advance some fundamental democratic ideals of benefit to Nigerians, but more to advance the personal pecuniary interests of the political figures and the factions they led.

APC apologists can continue in denial of the existential situation within the party but the results of the 2019 elections and how the APC fared present the true picture of things.

In the 2019 presidential elections which the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari won, the total votes was less than what he garnered in 2015 as a challenger against then President Goodluck Jonathan. The question to ask is if President Buhari had impacted so positively on Nigerians why did he score fewer votes in 2019 than in 2015? Indeed if that were the case he should have won by a far greater margin than he returned in the 2019 elections.

Again many expected that President Buharis victory at the presidential polls would result in the APC gaining more PDP states in the governorship elections. But here the APC suffered defeats in Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Oyo states and kept Kano by a narrow margin in what many justifiably feel was under questionable circumstances. Clearly the expected Buhari bandwagon effect that swept PDP states in 2015 did not materialise in 2019 and indeed was of little consequence. With their noses ahead from the just concluded elections, the PDP stands in pole position to claim the next governorship elections in Ondo, Bayelsa, Anambra, Edo and Kogi states. Does that not lay bare the existential situation in the APC? Had the governorship and state assemblies election taken place first, could the APC hope to win the presidential elections?

Against this background anybody assigned to look at the tea leaves for the APC will not fail to notice the dangers that lie ahead for the party.

In this regard, the great headwind ahead for the APC as it tries to navigate through the coming four years has to do with the status of president Buhari in the party and polity and the permutations of the 2023 elections.

By sheer force of his personality, president Buhari has been without question the most outstanding political figure around whom the APC was built and sustained. The elections of 2015 and 2015 were won by the APC largely on account of this factor. But as he will be status barred in the 2023 elections many believe that the APC will struggle hard to keep itself together approaching the elections. For the APC, this will not be helped that in the 2019 elections, Nigerians by their votes demonstrated greater love for Muhammadu Buhari the person than the party itself. The question to ask is who can the party turn to within its ranks to play the role that president Buhari has been playing in keeping the party together and boosting its electoral chances and performances?

Notwithstanding its victory at the 2019 polls, the APC is a deeply wounded party. In the coming months the combination of the absence of the Buhari factor in the 2023 elections, the fierce unbridled ambitions of leading political figures as they jockey for vantage positions towards 2023 elections, the deepening irreconcilable differences between the various political factions within the party will stress the party acutely.

Basking currently in the afterglow of victory it is tempting to dismiss these existential issues within the APC. But unless the APC comes to terms with these political headwinds and initiate urgent and drastic measures in the form of genuine party reforms and constituting an honest dialogue within its ranks and with the Nigerian people who clearly are losing the faith they reposed in the party as the fallouts of the 2019 elections shows, the APC stands the distinct risk of self-destruction sooner or later.

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