By Bayo Oluwasanmi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed February 6, 2013 in anticipation of the 2015 elections. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), merged to take on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election by almost 2.6 votes. Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat March 31. This was the first time in Nigeria’s history that an opposition political party unseated a governing party in a general election and one in which power transferred peacefully from one party to another.
For Nigerians, the electoral victory of Buhari was a victory of unprecedented triumph and optimism. With Buhari in Aso Rock, eyes were fixed on the promise of a new society. Suddenly, a vision for a better Nigeria had been given substance and historic impetus by the defeat of PDP, the party in power for 16 years. The APC victory was indeed stunning.
If Antonio Gramsci’s haunting phrase “the old is dying and the new cannot be born,” was ever applicable to Nigeria’s presidential election, then it is now. The old brigades have continuously maintained and extended their stranglehold on power. It’s all about them. They believe they have monopoly on the wisdom, superiority, and singular ability to manage the affairs of our nation that’s becoming more complex by the day. The youths are disorganized, disoriented, divided, confused, immobilized, and unprepared to challenge the octogenarians and take power away from them. History is about to repeat itself.
For 2019, it’s not going to be predictable like before. It has become politically imperative for the Southern States – South West, South East, South South plus Kogi, Kwara, and Middle Belt – to unite and form an alliance to save this dying nation. The alliance will be for common agenda for purposes of contesting 2019 presidential elections with a joint ticket of a younger generation of Igbo as presidential candidate and Yoruba as the vice-president that will clear election thresholds. The alliance will make possible the maximizing of votes in pursuit of an agreed set of common goals to be reached by means of a common strategy, joint actions, the pooling of resources and the distribution of possible subsequent pay-offs. More than any other thing, the alliance will help progressives to access, to gain control, retain power, and chart a new course for Nigeria.
Buhari’s administration is a textbook example of failed government and it should be denied a second term. Buhari’s two years in office has been one disaster and another. A government which rode on the coattail of populism of change mantra is everything but change. He lost the war on corruption – his signature program. Unemployment remains the tormenting devil of our youths. Restructure, the preamble to his party’s manifesto, has been jettisoned. Boko Haram rampage is on going. Northern cattle herdsmen are in the real sense of the word, another barbaric domestic terrorists. Electricity is predictably more erratic and epileptic. Living standard of Nigerians is at its nadir. Chaos, crisis, protests, panic, fear, insecurity are familiar daily newspaper headlines. Jungle justice has replaced criminal justice. Hunger is everyday companion of poor Nigerians. Nigerians are victims of cheap deaths that are treatable, curable, and preventable. In short, the socioeconomic diary of Buhari’s government reads like a funeral dirge.
The progressive elements of our nation cannot continue to be spectators any more. The time is NOW to forge an alliance of the Southern States to produce a viable alternative presidential choice for Nigerians to run against Buhari and Abubakar Atiku. Our democracy is a tired adversary to all the principles of a true federalism. The Southern Alliance will set the stage for the next leadership battle and serve as a framework for governance – radical transformation of our country and restoration of principles of democratic federalism – equity, fairness, justice, separation of powers, checks and balances, state’s autonomy, judicial reforms, rule of law, new revenue allocation formula based on derivation, state and local government police, new constitution, and many more. It’s a coalition that will build a consensus on issues that impacts development and governance. The alliance will ensure that our people are entitled to, and must get the dividend of peace, progress, and prosperity.
The alliance will be a realignment of progressive forces that will break the stranglehold on office, monopoly on power, and hegemony of the North West and North East which had ruled Nigeria for 47 out of 58 years of independence without any concrete or visible progress to show for it. In spite of the many years the Hausa-Fulanis had ruled Nigeria, the north still grapples with problems of medieval times particularly human capital development. Based on the idea and ideals of a greater society for the greater good of our people, the alliance will do away with nepotism whereby relatives and tribal kinsmen control the machinery of government, security apparatus, judiciary, federal civil service, federal agencies, and federal parastatals. Unlike the arrogant and ignorant belief of the old tired and worn out Trojan horses that they know it all and can do it all, we believe wisdom is to be found in the crowd. They are out of their depth. We know it and inwardly they do too.
Like an ebb tide that reveals a reshaped coastline, the new alliance will remake Nigeria. A true and genuine political alliance that will reflect the full range of views across the country that will open up politics for a better Nigeria. The alliance will do more than provide an outlet for frustrated progressives who are painfully disappointed by Buhari blatant nepotism and the way he’s been running the country for the past two years. It will improve our politics in subtle ways that go well beyond our choices in a presidential election. The basic failure of Nigerian politics is that we have been locked into a cul-de-sac by backward, reactionary, and corrupt re-cycled leaders who lack the intelligence, foresight, courage, determination, wisdom, judgment, and with no room for creativity or innovation in governance or new solutions to problems that have plagued our nation for 58 years.
The coming together of Southern States will forge strategies for nation building and more importantly “cross-over leadership” in order to revive and renew Nigeria and move the long stranded and stagnated nation in the right direction. The alliance we embrace and install accountability. Through the ballot box, we’ll remove these false and manufactured leaders – the real enemies of our people. We’ll put an end to the unnecessary and needless sufferings and subjugation of our people – Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. Progressive will be the lexicon of the new Nigeria. The alliance will pride itself on collaboration as opposed to corruption as the baseline of our political thought and action in 2019 and beyond. The old political parties with the old guards can never change. They have nothing except sticks and stones to offer our people especially our teeming tortured and taunted jobless youths. The Southern Alliance will create a progressive and prosperous future for our youths in particular, and Nigeria as a whole that is as desirable as it is feasible.
A new nation is waiting to be born!