To say the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is at odds with itself would be an understatement. The party is on the verge of collapsing, casting serious doubt on its long-term viability.
Make no mistake, the APC has not portrayed itself to Nigerians as a party that will lead them to the axiomatic Promised Land. In fact, even as the party’s founders prancing around in February 2013 giddy with excitement over the new organization, it wasn’t hard to deduce from some of their fleeting antecedents that the party was merely a gathering of power-mongers seeking a stronger platform to realize their dream.
This was a fact that many people already knew. Nigerians gave it a chance despite what turned out to be a dummy sold to the electorate in the person and character of its standard-bearer in the 2015 general election, Muhammadu Buhari, against the backdrop of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP repeated )’s disappointments. The APC, on the other hand, did not take long to establish a reputation for being outlandish in appearances but lacking in substance.
As the late Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, sarcastically observed, what existed in Nigeria were not political parties, strictly speaking, but rallies, the APC fits into this category.
Even Buhari, who is being hailed as the party’s savior in some quarters, cannot be exempt from the rot eating away at its foundation. Even as he enjoys the hilarity of messianic garb hung on him by adoring aides, allegations of nepotism, poor economic management, and actions that further expose the country’s flaws are issues he cannot avoid.
Though he still has his supporters who praise him for his infallibility, it is clear that the President has lost much of his reputation and public standing that he had prior to taking office. The level of danger on the platform is explained by the fact that such a person is seen as the poster boy of a political organization.
The APC’s problem is the challenge that successive ruling political parties in the country have faced. It’s a case of arrogance and hubris. The adage “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” resonates loudly among Nigeria’s ruling parties. They put up every imaginable carriage of simplicity and humility when seeking power, asking the people for a chance. ‘Change,’ with a buffet of promises, is the slogan in such situations.
When power changes hands, the story changes. In its stupor, the now-disgraced PDP boasted that it would rule for 60 years without interruption. But, as fate would have it, it did not live to see even a third of the time it had set aside to be in command. APC does not appear to have learned anything from this. It is even more arrogant and obnoxious, relying on propaganda and outright lies to survive.
The assumption was strong that a party that had advertised a 10-point agenda for a new Nigeria when it was formed was taking a decisive step into issue-oriented politics.
Job creation, anti-corruption efforts, free, relevant, high-quality education, agriculture, a housing plan, and a healthcare plan for children and adults were among the highlights of its road map.
Among the organization’s priorities are a social welfare scheme for the less fortunate, massive road construction and rehabilitation, and power plans, as well as strengthening peace, security, and foreign policy.
“Roughly one in four Nigerians, and half of young job seekers, are unable to find work,” the road map stated. The number of people whose jobs do not pay enough to cover their food and housing expenses is even higher.
“Moreover, major industries that pay higher wages account for just over 5% of the economy.” The most pressing problem confronting Nigeria today is a lack of jobs, which affects every community and prevents us from becoming the truly vibrant and prosperous nation we deserve. Our top priority is to create a diverse economy that allows every Nigerian to earn a living and better care for his or her family.”
Its plan to combat unemployment called for the immediate creation of 20,000 jobs per state for those with a secondary school diploma or higher who would participate in technology and vocational training. There was also talk of setting up technology/industrial estates across the country, complete with ICT, power, and other support, to attract and encourage small-scale technology businesses and other entrepreneurs.
The party also unveiled a detailed plan to combat corruption in the public and private sectors. Strengthening legal provisions to prevent stay of proceedings and other delays in corruption trials was one of its strategies in this regard.
Nearly seven years later, the jury is still out on whether the APC-led federal government has delivered on any of its promises. To put the situation in perspective, a non-governmental organization, the Chandler Good Government Index, ranked Nigeria as the world’s third worst-governed country earlier this year. The report, which was released in Singapore, the organization’s headquarters, rated the country poorly in terms of governance, leadership, and foresight, ranking it 102 out of 104 countries with a score of 0.319, ahead of Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
In evaluating the countries, the index looked at seven pillars: leadership and foresight, robust laws and policies, strong institutions, financial stewardship, attractive marketplace, global influence and reputation, and helping people rise.
Nigeria received a 0.44 in leadership and foresight, 0.45 in anti-corruption, 0.47 in long-term vision, 0.41 in strategic prioritization, and 0.4 in innovation in the first ranking in the series.
The verdict is a damning but accurate reflection of Nigeria’s current state of affairs. Nigeria is virtually deficient in all indices of good governance, including rule of law, health services, social service delivery in electricity, roads, education, employment, and ease of doing business. Nigeria is the World’s Poverty Capital, according to the latest statistics.
The current state of insecurity is especially terrifying. Due to the fluidity of the assault on citizens and other interests in the country, secrecy is literally flat on its back, offering bleak prospects for recovery. Nigeria has been lumped in with Iraq and Afghanistan as the world’s most terrorized countries under the APC.
These are the kinds of concerns that a ruling party and its handlers should have. They are a danger to the country’s democracy. They don’t matter to the APC, however.