By SOC Okenwa
What began as a 'huge joke' soon assumed a life of its own and metamorphosed into a well-oiled orchestrated double-edged plot to 'kill' the original APC even before it is delivered legally. A local lawyer, Oliver Chidi Ike (whose name was never known nationally before now) had claimed that he was the first person to have applied to INEC to register a political party named All Patriotic Citizens (APC) even brandishing "evidence of an INEC acknowledgement stamp" to butress his mischievous point. Before him one Chief Onyinye M. Ikeagwuonu who claimed to be "the Protem National Chairman of the African Peoples Congress" (APC) had addressed the press in its national headquarters in Abuja unveiling its acronym, logo, manifesto and constitution. He, too, had claimed that his APC had sought registration with INEC having fulfilled "all requirements" for registration.
These are fifth columnists planted by reactionary forces to do a certain mischief; they are dutifully acting out the script of the PDP, so we are wiser and smarter to know that as the truth. Nigeria has since gone to the dogs and nothing should be surprising or puzzling anymore. With monumental corruption encouraged and condoned, with poverty developing everywhere, with leadership mediocrity at its summit no one should seek for any explanation as to our continuing degeneration. Power for power sake is what matters; ethics or ethos should go to hell!
The original APC merger party must not allow themselves to be dogged by an identity crisis which threatens to derail and distract it from the avowed objectives. The shadowy APCs represent a political booby trap and Gen Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu, Ogbonnaya Onu and Owelle Okorocha must be smart enough to avoid this. The sinister plot being hatched by the presidency and the PDP to torpedo the move by the united opposition and destabilize any genuine efforts to form a united opposition front against Jonathan (or any PDP candidate) come 2015 ought to be seen from a true perspective lest a grievous error of judgement be committed.
While Tom Ikimi and the merger committees were alluding to their “intellectual property” vowing never to change the acronym for whatever reason it is still left to be seen whether their position will stand some legal scrutiny that is bound to follow. The truth is that the APC abbreviation has become politicised with the ruling party reaping the political capital. In all intents and purposes the APC acronym of acrimony is a distraction at best. We should be better than this nonsense. But since we are living in a glorified season of nonsense before sense all is fair and fairness has since deveoped wings.
But one must recognise here that the opposition parties that formed the merger party allowed themselves to be outwitted or outsmarted. They should have been more tactful and circumspect as they went about unfolding the name and acronym of their merger party before seeking registration with INEC. We live in a polluted political environment in which the head of the corrupt establishment at the federal level has demonstrated his incapacity to lead by example. Nigeria, even with odious military rule in the distant past, has never had it so bad -- saddled with a President that grants state pardon to coup plotters and indicted high-profile corrupt elements! A president battling with his inner conscience telling him that his presidency stinks!
The APC acronym crisis reminds us all of an ABN in the early 90s during the battle against those hell-bent on undoing June 12. The "Association for Better Nigeria" was formed by the maverick politician from Oguta, Imo State, Arthur Nzeribe soon after the controversy that trailed the June 12 presidential poll won by the late MKO Abiola. With the late AGF Clement Akpamgbo and the late Judge Bassey Ikpeme, Nzeribe was used to judicially cause confusion and sow discord everywhere. As Gen. Ibrahim Babangida was giddily looking for cannon fodders and 'spoilers' with whom to muddy the electoral water of June 12 he found easy company in Nzeribe's ABN and other unprincipled politicians across the landscape including Babagana Kingibe and Tony Anenih.
Alas a spurious midnight jugdement was procurred to give legal teeth to the annulment of June 12 with Nzeribe and co smiling to the bank! Today we are faced with yet another political chicanery of the worst kind aimed at discouraging the opposition merger. What is the PDP affaid of? If they have performed creditably well as their 'attack dogs and lions' are claiming daily why the panic, why the bankrolled efforts to frustrate the opposition merger? What is in the APC merger name that is upsetting the PDP establishment so much that the acronym must be made 'competitive' enough in order to derail the opposition plans?
Behind the APC acrimonious acronym are people from the Igbo extraction and that should not be shocking. The Igboman loves to play the second fiddle and likes to be used as cannon fodder for pecuniary gains. Name any dirty deal and an Igboman would be present! The young lawyer who filed the APC application in INEC on behalf of Ikenga had said fearfully that he was given eighty thousand Naira in two instalments with a state-of-the-art mobile phone to do what he did -- perhaps without knowing the import of his actions. One had thought that when your parents sent you to school to study law it was not to use that 'privilege' to hurt your nation and/or her positive aspirations. Alas the men from the south-east go to school to obtain law degrees with which they seek to serve the rich fools in our ethically-challenged society. Pity!
But the questions must be asked: why are the Igbos ever ready to be used to scuttle Nigeria's march towards greatness? Or put in another way: why is the average Igbo politician willing to be 'sold' and 'bought'? Why are men of character and principles very few in the east? Is the love of money the major reason or is it wilful determination to do evil ignorantly? Why this character flaw and lack of dignity? Must our people always be linked with hatchet jobs that belittle and demean them? Where is honour and patriotism in all these? Something is fundamentally wrong somewhere and the time to define and re-define our values and needs towards 2015 is now!
That the APC acronym has suddenly become the 'beautiful bride' being wooed by every Dick and Harry must send the clear message across of our degeneration as a nation. The acronym of acrimony which the APC represents speaks volumes of our mediocrity and lack of ideas. The question is: is there no other political party names and acronyms the PDP goons could come up with? Must they choose the APC having known that the merger party has already chosen the acronym and made it public?
The Prof. Attahiru Jega-led Independent(?) National Electoral Commission (INEC) is in the eye of the storm; under pressure to do the right thing or otherwise. The right thing obviously is to register the original APC merger of the opposition and the wrong is to register the fake version thereby confirming what Gen. Buhari has already said about the "unholy merger" of INEC with PDP and the judiciary. While they have acknowledged that they have received an application for registration from a phantom APC the law guiding INEC must be applied to the letter. No monkey business please! INEC can make or mar Nigeria post-2015 and Jega is hereby put on notice. Of course history and posterity are waiting to pass an incorruptible judgement.
Rather than engaging the usurpers of the APC abbreviation in a protracted legal battle, however, we suggest, in the overall national interest, that the opposition put on their thinking cap and opt for another name and acronym now that 2015 is still far away. By abandoning the 'APC' poisoned chalice and stopping dissipating energy over the propriety of same the opposition would have delivered a major blow to those who never wanted Nigeria to keep a date with her destined greatness. The PDP deserves to be given an electoral bloody nose come 2015 and everything must be put in this fight of a generation! With the weight of the expectation of Nigerians on their shoulders the All Progressives Congress must not fail.
Make no mistake about it though: the two opposing APC's (those of Ikeagwuonu, Ikenga and Ike) belong to the same conclave of iniquity hibernating in Abuja, determined, with petro-dollars, to continue the wrecking of the Nigerian ship. But with God on our side 2015 ought to be their final destination of doom.