WITH the successful conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Local government congress on September 4, 2021 in many parts of the country, the party has scaled another key hurdle of electing the leadership of the party at the local government level – and those who will eventually become delegates to zonal congress and national convention. The ratification of the ward congress appeal reports by the Caretaker Committee also means that the elected officials who emerged through a largely consensus arrangement have been authenticated and the party structure is unfolding gradually. As the party prepares for the state congress scheduled for October 2 and the national convention, which may likely hold in December, it is important to beam a searchlight on the probable aspirants that will make or mar the party’s chances in the 2023 general election and beyond, bearing in mind that any choice the party makes will be saddled with the responsibility of consolidating on the perceived gains reportedly made by the current caretaker committee of the party to reconcile its aggrieved members and reposition it for the task ahead.
In a recent development, one of the aspirants for the position of national chairman, Mohammed Sani Musa, a senator from Niger State, representing Niger East senatorial district, had on August 26, declared his intention. In a brief media chat in the state capital, Minna, Senator Sani Musa explained to journalists and a few party stalwarts present that his decision to vie for the exalted position of the national chairman was based on his new vision to reposition the party in line with best international practice and offer a new direction in party politics where the common man has a say in party affairs and can aspire to dream without the influence of a god-father. His declaration may have taken many by surprise, especially with these gladiators and former governors such as Tanko Al-Makura, Abdul-Azeez Yari, Danjuma Goje and Adamu Abdullahi also in strong contention for the APC top job. It is expected that in the coming weeks, some of these popular contenders will follow suit by formally declaring their intention. However, it is unclear whether the APC will adopt the consensus approach as it did with most of the candidates that emerged in the ward and local government congresses or go into a contest to allow the party vote its desired candidate. The declaration by Senator Musa has brought to an end media rhetoric and speculations surrounding his ambition. Apart from the not-too-positive perception that has hitherto trailed the choice of a former governor as party national chairman, being a former leader of their party while they held sway as the chief executive may work in their favour, considering their accumulated experiences over the years. Interestingly, Sani Musa remains the most unassuming of all the aspirants, when placed side by side with others. Many took it with a pinch of salt when rumours filled the air that he was considering the chairmanship position.
In less than four months, on account of his dexterity and focus-driven ambition hinged on politics of conviction, he has gained a massive goodwill and support of party members at local, state and federal levels. Whoever emerges as the national chairman of APC faces a great hurdle in fostering the much-needed democratic consciousness among political leaders and putting in place measures to ensure internal party reforms that will assist both the leaders and the members overcome the seductiveness of conventional politics. More importantly, the emphasis should be on creating a level-playing field within the party for emergence of leaders and selection of candidates for elections; ability to heal old wounds and resolve party crisis in a timely fashion and create a veritable platform in order to make APC the most acceptable political party for Nigerians to actualise their dream. Despite the burden that the next chairman of the party is likely to be besieged with, Senator Musa remains the candidate to beat for the most sought-after party position.
- Abdulsalaam, a public affairs commentator writes in from Niger State.
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