Recently APC unveiled a package of roadmaps for the liberation of Nigeria and for the development and empowerment of the masses of the Nigerian population during its 3rd National Convention on 10th and 11th December, 2014 at the TaslimBalogun Stadium in Lagos during which General Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) emerged as the party’s Presidential flag bearer for this year’s election. . The agenda of that convention was well thought out, and signals the depth of reflection which the leadership of APC has exercised about the predicament of Nigeria and what it will take for a complete sustainable transformation of Nigeria. Indeed, given the floundering, hit or miss, haphazard nature of governance over the last two decades, and especially under the new democratic dispensation, Nigerians were beginning to wonder whether this democracy thing was all it was cracked up to be or another grand deception set up to swindle the people and perpetuate their impoverished state of existence.
The suspicion has taken so many roots, that the general populace is so cynical and suspects everything that emanates from politicians. To this extent when the APC began, as a mega merger of political groups with similar orientation and vision, it took some time for the people to begin to warm up to it. One thing was in its favour, and that was the fact that it had not been the government at the Federal level, and could not be accused of having misused the trust reposed in it through the kind of insensitivity and disdainful disregard and disrespect which the PDP governments have meted out to the people of Nigeria over the past more than 15 years. All that PDP administrations have given to the people are despondency, deprivation, degradation and demoralization, which have festooned into various forms of reactions, such as apathy, lawlessness, criminality and terrorism in the form of Boko Haram.
It could be argued that Boko Haram was not directly a creation of PDP governments, but that will only be playing hide and seek with the truth. While we recognize that the leadership of Northern Nigeria have been responsible for the decay, unemployment, disempowerment and disillusionment of the masses of Northern youth, which made it easy for the radicalization of the youth, the fact of the matter is that democratic governance is designed to address the needs of the masses of the people. In other words, what is being urged here is that having granted the failings of previous administrations to address the growing restlessness of the Northern youth population, 15 years is more than enough time to begin to make a difference which gives the youth a sense of belonging, direction, vision and purpose in life in a country that is as blessed as Nigeria.
Let me illustrate: First, the educational system in the North needed an overhaul to ensure that the masses of the youth are given free, compulsory education, infused with skill training, empowerment opportunities and carefully streamlined orientation to lead to the transformation of the North from one of mere potential to one of fulfillment. Second, the massive resources of the North needs careful harnessing to provide employment opportunities for the teaming youth population. Third, the agricultural, animal husbandry and agro-processing capacity of the North needed visionary management to enable it provide food for the rest of West Africa, North African and Central African regions. Finally, social welfare, safety nets and life security provisions were necessary to carry the Northern youth into the 21st Century.
Even while having such mileage and influence in past administrations in Nigeria, the Northern leadership of governments at the Federal level and the state governments of the Northern region has been selfish to a point of absolute irresponsibility. There is no doubt in our minds that the selfishness of the leadership of the North and its elites has created in the North two different worlds where there is little middle ground. The extremely rich and their hangers on, and the extremely poor who have nothing to gain or lose from the current arrangement called Nigeria and who would wish to have another kind of arrangement, even if poorly conceptualized. This is where Boko Haram, kidnappers, armed robbers and other hoodlums find solace. And when you bear in mind the barefaced impunity that parades the highest corridors of power in Nigeria, and the manner in which criminals of the highest order, who would have been long disposed of legally and otherwise in saner environments are the darlings of the clergy and leadership who bestow honors, then you can see why the youth in disaffection cares not a hoot if they die in the process of protesting what they see as gross, ungodly and inhumane degradation of their humanity.
As it is now, even if APC can only implement the first main item on its agenda – provision of electricity that is regular, continuous, undisrupted and national in coverage – the stage would have been set for the take-off of the country on the path to development. Nigerians are only waiting for the leadership to do what is expected – truly, genuinely and unselfishly lead – in order to unleash the lurking energies and creativities of the masses of the people of Nigeria. Nigerians are not born beggars and they are only waiting to be encouraged and when the right mix of policies are implemented, they would do the rest and transform the society by themselves. This is why the APC action plan and the caliber of its presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR)leave no one in doubt that the party means business.
However, the fact that APC has allowed various personages of PDP to morph into full blooded members of APC without any form of debriefing, reorientation, evaluation and critical interrogation, and in many instances at the expense of the foot soldiers of APC who have been vilified, ostracized and victimized for years for refusing to be part of the PDP profligacy and irresponsibility, creates a form of cynicism in the minds of all reflective members of the Nigerian population.
We may wish to suggest here that APC needs to begin a process of reorientation of its leadership; vetting and retraining in order to let all and sundry understand that Project Nigeria is greater than individual “project Dubai property” or “Cayman account number”. It is in this respect that we sound the warning that APC leadership must not be deceived into squandering the political capital it has built over the last couple of years on the platter of phantom popularity that defectors and carpet crossers would seem to bring to it. The masses really cannot care a hoot about their defections because they do not expect the leopard to change its stripes overnight. It is in this guise that we would suggest to the leadership of the APC to show that they are not just about gaining political power at all cost and that the agenda published is not idle vote catching propaganda but that it is serious about emancipating Nigerians from the shackles of PDP slavery and that APC is serious about the effective implementation of its agenda in the interest of the masses of the people of Nigeria regardless of clime, faith, gender, age or other primordial considerations.