By Ifeanyi Emeka
With the recent release of the 2019 elections timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there is no doubt that the electoral battle lines had been drawn for political actors by the nation’s electoral umpire.
How events in the coming weeks and months unfolds would be very intriguing because the political actors are already waiting in the wing to see the nature of activities their respective political parties are going to rollout.
However, the case of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would be more interesting because Nigerians are watching to see whether the initial prediction that the political alliance that gave birth to the party would collapse as analysts and some detractors earlier predicted and described the political alliance as an association of strange bed fellows.
In lieu of the foregoing, it can be recalled that when the party was formed in 2013, it did not enjoy any fair or objective comment or opinion from most Nigerians because they were made to believe that the party was made up of strange bed fellows while other analysts who looked at the tough hurdles the party would have to overcome only gave it a grace of one year before it will crumble, but against every permutations and odds, the political alliance did not collapse but the party forged ahead like the eagle because it had a resilient leader
whose leadership style, maturity and temperament was an inspiration to all party faithful.
Chief Oyegun’s matured and sagacious handling of sensitive party matters endeared him to both the liberals and the conservatives within the party.
Apart from leading the APC to victory in 2015, Chief John Oyegun also displayed rare leadership quality and courage which made the party accommodating and home to all and sundry. This was why after the 2015 general elections, the Oyegun-led APC still increased the numerical strength of APC Governors by three.
These are Kogi State, Edo State and Ondo State. The Oyegun-led APC also made strong inroads to the South-east and South-south regions of the country. Today, the party has Senators and House of Representatives members from Imo State and Rivers State. The party also staged impressive performance in the last Anambra State governorship election where it’s candidate, Comrade Tony Nwoye came second.
From the realities on the ground coupled also with some good measures taken by the Oyegun-led National Working Committee, the party is better poised for victory in the nearest future, but the big question is who succeeds Oyegun? What leadership trait is the person bringing on board? How tested, reliable and trusted is the person?
Before answering the above questions, let me admit that the angel you know is better than the one you don’t know.
The worst mistake the APC would make and leave to regret is changing Oyegun in weeks to activities leading to the 2019 general elections.
Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that party primaries would start from the month of August and ends by October; whereas the tenure of Chief Oyegun will be officially ending by June this year.
Now, I cannot see how the APC new Chairman will emerge in June and there would be no crisis which will cover the entire month of July because since we are in the election mood, various camps within the party would want to outsmart the other camps for favourable election results
during August primary.
Better still, lets assume there would be no post convention crisis, I still do see how the new leader would accommodate various interest and aclamatise himself to the modus operandi of the party within July before conducting the August primary.
Another question that is very important is, who are those clamouring for Oyegun’s removal? What is their hidden interest? What agenda do they seek to implement? What is their capacity to unify the party after convention?
Before attempting to answer these questions, I want my readers to understand that every social change championed by any group is the product of the selfish agenda they seeks to pursue.
No doubt that those who want Oyegun out are those who nurse Presidential aspiration but believes that Oyegun would be the impediment that would stop their selfish agenda. These are the same folks who tried hard to highjack party machinery to their advantage which Oyegun resisted severally.
Therefore, President Buhari should resist all entrappings of the forces within the party and allow Chief Oyegun to conduct the party primaries and lead the party to another election victory in 2019.
President Buhari and his strategists should never make the mistake of bowing to internal pressure by allowing Oyegun to go. That would be a very big political suicide for the APC and the much rumoured re-election bid of the President.
As at today, there is no open faction because Oyegun knows how to neutralize them, but should the President make the mistake of allowing Oyegun to go at this critical moment when the opposition is prepared and better positioned to spring surprise, then party faithful do not need to consult any prophet before knowing the fate that will befall it at the polls.
Therefore, I suggest that Oyegun be allowed to conduct the party primaries and also stabilize it ahead of the general elections.
Mr. Ifeanyi Emeka writes from Kogi State.