HIJACKING MEMBERS into its political camp, has become the trade mark, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC; more so, ahead of 2023 elections. The party’s overture to former President Goodluck Jonathan is not an exception. The ruling party is in escapade to swell its membership, without considering factors of credibility and leadership.
Political party membership is driven by “ideology” and “service”; and motivated by “ideological goals”. Not “power grabbing”. Ideology is a system of definitive views, ideas, conceptions and notions, adhered to by “group” or “class” of people or “political party”. Ideology helps or hinders the understanding of society. Ideology is very important in politics, and performs social functions for the political group.
Two major political parties, presently, dominate Nigeria’s political space – the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; and the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The PDP ruled Nigeria, in the present political dispensation, from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2015 – 16 years. Until 2015, the PDP was the major and dominant political party in the country.
The All Progressive Congress, APC, was founded, February 6, 2013. This was the result of merger of three big opposition parties – Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. Later, the APC courted aggrieved members of the then ruling PDP, and galvanized some members that became the “new PDP”.
July 31, 2013, the new found APC got approval from Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as a political party. INEC withdrew the licenses of the three major parties that merged to form the APC – ACN, CPC and ANPP. This was about two years before the APC’s victory in the 2015 general election.
THE MERGER, earned the APC, an acronym, which political analysts described as “party of strange bird fellows”. There was no known political ideology that brought the three major political parties, and the fractions that form the APC together. The merger was driven, not by ideology, but by political power grab.
The quest for swelling APC membership, aimed principally, for power grab continued. In November 13, 2013, five serving Governors, of the then ruling PDP, were courted by APC; and joined the APC. It was followed by the defections of 49 legislators from PDP to join the 137 legislators in the APC, as a result of merger. APC swelled to 186 legislators in the House of Representatives, out of 360 legislators.
Crisscrossing within the APC and PDP ranks continued, also, in the Senate. Defections within Nigeria’s political party has become what political analysts, described as political “shopping extravaganza” – without consideration for ideology and sense of service to the nation.
GOVERNOR NYESOM WIKE, of Rivers State, south-south Nigeria, recently, said that defections in both PDP and APC, ahead of 2023 general elections is part of electoral process, in the country. “People are defecting, more will defect,” Wike said, in a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, his spokesman. Wike was responding to the defections of some governors, national assembly members of the PDP, and others to APC.
And added: “There are those who are angry there (in APC), they’ll come (to PDP). You that are angry here (in PDP), you will go. That is the game.” To Wike, defections are part of the plans by politicians in Nigeria to realign ahead of the 2023 general elections. His words: “Defection is part of our electoral process. As you are defecting, people are coming in”.
APC’s big target, personality hunt, ahead of 2023 general elections, to brighten and add electoral value to the party’s dwindling fortune in the country, is its desperate efforts to pull former President Goodluck Jonathan, of the PDP, to the APC.
GOODLUCK JONATHAN, a former Nigerian president, was Acting President, February 9, 2010, on the controversial doctrine of necessity by Nigerian Senate. He was Vice-President to Umaru Yar’Adua, who took ill and was hospitalised for medical treatment in an hospital in Saudi Arabia in November 2009.
Following Umaru Yar’Adua’s death, on May 2010, Goodluck Jonathan was sown in as substantive president of Nigeria on May 6, 2010. Nigeria’s National Assembly at that time, approved Jonathan’s nomination of Namadi Sambo, then Kaduna State Governor, as Jonathan’s Vice President.
May 29 2011, Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President of Nigeria, after completing two years of Yar’Adua tenure, and winning the 2011 presidential election. It was political heavy storm for Jonathan to get the presidential ticket to contest the 2011 presidential election; due to opposition of northern elites for his candidacy, in preference to a northern candidate.
IN 2015, Jonathan lost to the incumbent President Buhari of the APC, due to national and international conspiracy against his government. November 2018, at the launch of his book titled: “My Transition Hours”, in Abuja, Jonathan said former governors of the PDP, who defected to APC; “blinded by ambition” and barrage of “fake news”, cost him his bid for re-election for second term in 2015.
Jonathan stated: “As they jumped ship in preparation for the 2015 elections, only very few of this lots, if any at all, bothered about what the PDP did or did not do in terms of delivering our campaign promises. Their opposition to my re-election was principally driven by personal ambition. They therefore played up the issue of where I come from and the faith, I professed to fuel their burning ambition. My performance mattered quite little, if it mattered at all”.
APC RUSTLING JONATHAN from the PDP, ahead of 2023 elections is swelling, and the ruling party has been on his trail. APC has not hidden the quest to have the former president in its fold. The same man the APC, gratuitously, “humiliated” from office in 2015.
John Akpanudoedehe, National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, on Channel Television programme Politics Today, Wednesday, said former President Goodluck Jonathan will be given an opportunity to contest the 2023 presidency on the platform of APC if he joins the ruling party.
Speculations have been rife, about Jonathan’s move to join the ruling APC. Dousing the speculation, recently, Yekini Nabena, APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, revealed that the former president had not jumped ship from the PDP to the APC. Nabena is from Bayelsa State, same State with Goodluck Jonathan.
Nabena said: “As at the moment, there is nothing like that. If the former President decides to join the APC, it can’t be a hidden event. We will naturally celebrate it. As a chieftain of the APC, I am aware that anybody who wants to join the party would start from the ward level. To the best of my knowledge as a Bayelsan, I am not aware of anything like that yet.”
Goodluck Jonathan, would his ambitions keep him in the PDP Umbrella; or move him to the APC Broom? Just a question of time.