For the first time since the Independent National Electoral Commission registered the opposition All Progressives Congress, the founding fathers and members of the party came together to unveil a Code of Ethics, as well as what can be termed its manifesto.
Thursday’s event, which was part of the first National Summit organised by the party, brought together leaders and members of the three legacy parties namely the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party, Congress for Progressive Change and the Action Congress of Nigeria.
Some of the leaders, who were present included Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Ogbonnaya Onu.
The gathering provided a platform for party members not only to lament Nigeria’s failings, but also highlight what the party intends to do differently if given the chance.
Speaker after speaker derided the ruling Peoples Democratic Party for filtering away the goodwill which greeted Nigeria’s return to democracy after decades of military rule.
The party, through the various speakers, promised to tackle the perennial challenges of growing youth unemployment, insecurity and corruption.
According to the party’s mission statement, members will be committed to a Nigeria that achieves its full potential and promise.
That, as a party, the APC will work towards a nation that is economically and socially vibrant, peaceful, just and secure.
It also listed 10 principal commitments it was making to the Nigerian people.
Some of them include its commitment to preserve the Nigerian people which it believes to be the nation’s greatest asset and pledges to do everything possible to protect and preserve human life and dignity.
It also made a commitment to uphold a Nigeria bound by the principle of freedom, justice, peace, unity and the rule of law. The party also promised to pursue its objective of increasing economic opportunity for all citizens, social welfare and progress through a government-led and private sector-driven economy.
A leader of the party, Audu Ogbeh, who chaired the Constitution Drafting Committee, reminded his party members that addressing the nation’s economic challenge held the key to the new Nigeria the party was seeking to build.
He said, “The three major problems facing the country are; economy, number two economy and number three economy.
“The APC is on a mission to rescue Nigeria from its present economic woes. A country where a Phd holder is applying to be become Aliko Dangote’s driver, where there is serious youth unemployment, APC has to change all these.”
Observers of Nigerian politics are of the view that several political parties have made such promises in the past and had failed to live up to the billing when the chips are down.
This is even more challenging when the people currently making these promises, were the same set of people who made similar promises when they were part of the ruling party which they are now deriding.
However, observers are of the view that if the performance of some governors in states controlled by the party is anything to go by, there should be a reason to cheer.
The performance of the governors of Lagos, Edo, Rivers and Kano could serve as a billboard for what could happen at a larger scale if the party can get its acts together as it approaches the 2015 elections.
Just as the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh would say “talk is cheap.”
He expressed confidence that the PDP which had enjoyed public support since 1999 would continue to do so beyond 2015.
Metuh also noted that some of those who were in commanding positions in the opposition party, were individuals who left the ruling party in anger because of their inordinate ambition.
He explained that “Our performance since 1999 is the reason why Nigerians have continued to vote the PDP. Our records speak for us, Nigerians are better off under the PDP.”
However, his counterpart in the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is upbeat about the party’s chances in 2015. He said it was clear for all to see that Nigerians at home and abroad had rejected the PDP.
Mohammed said, “This accounts for the desperate measures being employed by the ruling party. A party which says 16 is greater than 19 is certainly not a party Nigerians would want to be associated with.”
These exchanges are to be expected especially at the eve of an election. There is, however, a consensus among most Nigerians, that the nation deserves to be better and greater than what it is today. Is this APC event the beginning of the change we require? Only time will tell.
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