*APC: Of Party Renewal in Abeokuta*
*By ISAAC OLUSESI*
Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s charge to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria, “to engender justice, equity, fairness, rule of law and party supremacy,” is an agenda for sustainable democracy. Meaning, the lack of Oyetola’s submission could permit the concentration of the party management in the party high command and any deprivation caused the party membership could deactivate the affairs of the party.
The charge also implies that APC at all its 7levels -the Poling Unit, Ward, Local Government/Area Council, Senatorial District, State, Zone and National- must get committed to the value of tolerance, cooperation and compromise with strongly robust compliant implications for party sovereignty, party security and party electoral insurance, the trio as the cohesive pillars for larger society- the state, private sector, civil society and the individual.
Oyetola, the State of Osun Governor and Member, APC Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Committee spoke at the national stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Special Committee on the Review & Amendment of the APC Constitution in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital penultimate Saturday. He called on the Prof Tahir Mamma Committee to consider the entrenchment of “a forum for promptly resolving conflicts and crises as they occur at the national and state levels and rein in erring party members to serve as deterrent.” What a laudable position! How?
Intra-party conflicts, grievances most often are centred around such constitutional issues as party organization, party management, party membership, party discipline, party meetings, party elections and appointments, party finances, and party constitution supremacy The Oyetola conflict resolution forum with reconciliation in-built to cause opposing party members, groups become friendly or opposing ideas, facts agreeable, both instances through realization, identification, preparation and activation if carefully studied beyond cursory would further safeguard the APC hitherto time-tested culture of cohesion, unity, discipline, solidarity, and interest articulation against diving into probable sheer political immaturity and anarchy, probable insensate hostility and mutual suspicion, and probable unbridle antagonism and acts of incendiarism.
Oyetola advocated for party supremacy “by subsuming self- interest under the party larger interest,” stressing that, “commitment to reinforce the constitution of the party to the teeth would make all and the party observe and respect the party supremacy.” Interpretatively, he persuasively asked, the APC leaders and members to entrust their party life, party welfare, party future and their all in the hands of the Mamma Committee.
While the committee is expected to be the APC eye, ear, and hand, the seeing eye, hearing ear and moving hand, the party men and women, to be sure would get committed to the party progammes, articulate the programmes at their own different levels and have the discipline to carry out the programmes, preparing, organizing themselves and mobilizing supporters, deploying personal funds, assets including skills of bargaining, negotiation, networking for active service to the party and that itself, makes APC the responsible party.
Elsewhere, particularly in the main opposition party in Nigeria caught in similar circumstances of the party constitution review, the assignment ‘ll get fast tacked into self-liquidation from the flexing of muscles and exchanges meant to show raw power, arrogance and shameless exhibition of clownishness such that the assignment would stagger from storm, stress, depression and inarticulation by the party’s high pressure vulnerability to constantly unresolved, unresolvable internal rifts and ceaseless hemorrhage, with the party more often than infrequent, boxing self into further devaluation of moral authority.
Conversely, APC is constantly both willing and capable of looking after the collective interests at all levels and circumstances, expressive in the party lager interests. That’s the sociology of APC and that’s what Oyetola meant when he further charged ‘’We must all collaborate to make the exercise a success by proposing credible amendments at all levels for a stronger and more vibrant APC’’ just as he added, “All hands must be on deck as every voice counts.” And Oyetola finally charged that “APC must provide leadership by respecting our constitution and putting up appearances and conducts that ensure the nation achieves its vision.’’
My understanding of Oyetola in the context? APC must continue to be the party that has the ability to gum up the review of the party constitution, showing grace under whatever pressure and shooting down trouble skillfully to decipher skill from charlatanty, tapping the former and abandoning the latter in order to move the party in a shared direction. But with a caveat- the voices of dissent and constructive criticism, based on hard and core facts, not on sentiments or any self-serving crusade must be listened to. Contributions to the review must not wear the garb of frivolity and unreasonableness that could endanger the corporate existence of the party or constitute any massive assaults on the nation’s law and order.
All of Oyetola’s submissions in Abeokuta, for one purpose: to reach the goal of the party at both the party and governance level. There cannot a political party renewal for growth and development without the party constitution review and amendment; outside that, the party becomes highly susceptible to the fraudulent manipulation by dominant politicians and dominant groups or caucuses within the party.
A regularly and properly reviewed party constitution is the greatest asset to good party management and good governance.
*OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC) State of Osun*