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2023 Presidential Race: APC’s betrayals and PDP’s gains

By Emmanuel Anosike.

One of the interesting lessons of the 21st century politics is that people do not take betrayals lightly. Little wonder a Japanese businesswoman, Mineko Iwasaki, once said: “Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”The lessons of history are however often ignored by those who want them to repeat themselves. This explains why people die of the same situation, accidents happen at particular locations repeatedly, and similar diseases recur from time to time.The All Progressives Congress (APC) has shown that it cares less about history or wants it to repeat itself. It has betrayed its members and has shockingly extended that to Nigerians.Days before the 2022 presidential primaries of the APC, the chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, had gone for the jugular. He did not hide his preference for Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. While he was pushing for Lawan’s candidature, the cabal in the presidency was weighing up two options. Governors, on the other hand, were vigorously lobbying for Bola Tinubu to become the party’s standard bearer. And the die was cast.On the day of the primaries, some paperweight aspirants were forced to step down for Bola Tinubu by the APC governors and Bola Tinubu’s cheerleaders. But Tinubu’s eventual victory eviscerated the party, with many feeling utterly betrayed and hopeless. Rather than show some sense of sportsmanship, Bola Tinubu told Lawan, who was also a contestant, before the viewing public to lick his wounds. His stooges went to the media to malign Nigeria’s vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Many of them attacked him for daring to contest party primaries against his estranged godfather.Osinbajo and the former Transport Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, were excluded from the scheme of things. Even, Ogbonnaya Onu who was the real architect behind the 2014 ACN-CPP merger was isolated. The likes of Yahaya Bello, Kogi State governor, was not allowed to handle finances, which explains why he has stayed away. Feeling sad about the way the primaries were conducted, the former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, went to court to invalidate Tinubu’s candidature.Internally, the APC is in tatters and in a shambles. Little wonder Nigerians have seen that the wave of defections to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in recent times has been unprecedented. Although the PDP has its own internal issues, many APC members are convinced that their own internal hurdles have gone beyond reparations.Recently, one of Tinubu’s close allies and member of the Presidential Campaign Council, Hajia Najatu Muhammad, exposed the cracks in the APC’S walls by alleging that its presidential standard bearer is unfit to be president.In a recent interview, she had said, “This is the first time that I know that governors do not even sponsor the presidential campaign. Normally the governor sponsors the presidential campaign in his state, but this time around, it is Asiwaju that is doing it.“Everything about Asiwaju is about money, there’s nothing like honour. For God’s sake what do we want? Can we continue to wallow in this? Can we continue to deceive ourselves? Who are we lying to? We are only lying to ourselves. We see these things. The truth has been written on the horizon. Why are we now turning the other eye?”In another interview, she described Tinubu’s vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, as a man without character. Consequently, Muhammad, an important women mobilizer, has now endorsed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and she has moved her support base to the PDP. To underscore the rancour and altercations within the APC camp, several eminent members such as Amaechi, Osinbajo, Onu, Ngige, Aregbesola, Nwajiuba and a host of others are either not campaigning for Tinubu or they are non-committal.The emergence of Shettima as the party’s vice presidential candidate has also torn several parts of the North-East APC apart. The North East APC Youth Stakeholders Forum Chairman, Hon Shaibu Baffa Tilde, recently echoed the feelings of many betrayed APC members in the region.In His words, “The Northeast APC Youth Forum has watched with tears as its many supporters continue to defect to the PDP. Unfortunately, the trend in the Northeast zone is worsening by the day, with Sen. Kashim seemingly turning a blind eye to these heinous developments in our party in the region.“We the Youths in the Northeast have lost our Zonal Treasurer from his home state of Borno, Hon. Yusuf Shariff Banki, due to his failure to support youth in the region to launch massive mobilization. It is worth noting, gentlemen, that Sheriff led over 500,000 youth to the PDP. As if that wasn’t enough, our Zonal Organizing Secretary, Hon. Murtala Gamji of Taraba, led over 200,000 youth to the NNPP, and our Zonal Women Leader, Hon. Amina Manga of Bauchi, led one million women to the PDP.”In other words, discerning citizens are already moving away from the APC in droves and finding home elsewhere, especially in the PDP due to the accommodating nature of its presidential standard bearer, Atiku Abubakar.The APC betrayals are no more vicarious than seen in the lives of average Nigerians who now buy a loaf of bread at N1000 as against N250 before 2015. Before 2015, a bag of 50kg rice was N8, 000 to N10, 000. Today, it is between N35,000 and N50,000.Also, inflation is nearly 22 percent today. Food inflation was 24 percent in December 2022 as against 9.78 percent in May 2015. Many Nigerian families are worse off, thanks to the APC-led government, with 133 million of Nigerians thrown by APC into multi-dimensional poverty.The dollar to naira exchange rate was N199/$ as at March 2015. Today, the black or parallel market – which has been made popular by the APC government- sells at N750-N800/$ while the so-called official market, which does not even support businesses, sells between N440 and N460 to a dollar.Borders were shut without the APC government doing its due diligence. Insecurity has been allowed by the incompetent party to fester across the country, leading to skyrocketing food inflation in the country.The APC-led government, through the Debt Management Office, announced in December 2022 that the country’s debt will hit N77 trillion if the National Assembly restructures the ways and means. The government is planning to borrow more without exploring proactive ways of increasing revenue.Killings, kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry and terrorism are the order of the day. Nepotism has gone to an unprecedented level in the last eight years.The APC has not only betrayed its members but has spurned Nigerians and shoved them to the dustbin. This is why many Nigerians are determined to hurl the party into the dustbin of history.And right now, the only experienced and credible alternative is the PDP, which has mostly benefitted from all the defections from the APC in recent times. This is because the party is being led into the 2023 presidential contest by a confidence-inspiring flag-bearer that most Nigerians describe as having the required experience in the management of the economy, security, and other aspects of the national life that APC, through misrule, has so thoroughly battered.From all indices, the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP standard bearer, has been a game changer as it has restored hope in Nigerians. It is generally clear that in the February presidential election, Nigerians will consummate this relationship with Abubakar by crowning him the country’s president to replace the APC and make the country have a breath of clean, fresh air of competence and direction in governance at the centre.

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