By ADAMU BEZHE
A former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has warned the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to take prompt steps towards halting a further drift of its fortunes from the present situation before it was too late.
In a statement on Saturday in Abuja, Oyegun urged the party’s NEC to urgently meet and set up a caretaker committee to resolve the lingering leadership crisis. He is worried that almost every member of the party felt a deep sense of alienation and dissatisfaction with the current state of the party.
“Today, almost every member of the party feels a deep sense of alienation and dissatisfaction with the state of the party. It hurts deeply to see how hollow it now rings to mention our party and ‘change’ together. The time to act is now, before it is too late.
There is an urgent need for the party’s NEC to meet and institute for the party, a Caretaker Committee (even if we have to invoke the doctrine of necessity) whose main responsibility will be to arrange for a special National Convention.
The All Progressives Congress was built on the blood and sweat of Nigerians, young and old, too numerous to count, who were willing to give everything in the service of progressive politics. We must not allow their great sacrifices to go in vain”, part of the statement read.
Oyegun said in the last few months, APC members had watched how the party had brazenly subverted its own principles of internal democracy in flagrant violation of every rule of decent political engagement, and violation of the rules were done in a manner that made everyone associated with the party’s promise of change, liable to be accused of either hypocrisy or apostasy.
“We must therefore remember that our victory in the 2015 Presidential election and the peaceful transfer of power that followed was a major testament of progress in our nation’s journey towards real democracy. This unprecedented democratic achievement has since inspired progressive forces all over Africa and has become a standard by which democracy is measured in the rest of the continent.
“Unfortunately, it appears that while other countries around us have marched ahead in the democratic journey, we have largely regressed. We were the political party that benefitted from a system that offered the opposition a chance,” he stated.
According to him, everyone expected party faithful to show unwavering dedication to broaden the democratic space for everyone. “Unfortunately, what we have witnessed in our party is the steady erosion of even the very basic tenets of democratic principles, in a manner that could turn our watershed victory of 2015, to the waterloo of our hard won democracy.
“As a major stakeholder and founding member of the APC, I have made various efforts to add my voice to those of several other well-meaning leaders of the party, in ensuring that the ideals and principles that we fought for are not completely thrown overboard.
“However, I have come to realize that those who feel more entitled to the party are no longer capable of hearing alternative viewpoints other than those counseled by their ego and their self-serving interests. This, they have promoted over all other considerations, including that of common decency,” he said
According to him, no political party which is unwilling to accommodate competing ideas and provide the space for healthy debates will survive for long. “This statement is therefore a clarion call to leaders of the party, particularly the governors and Mr. President, to urgently bring a stop to the disgraceful and humiliating charade occurring within the National Secretariat of our great party”.