APC Chairmanship 2022: A political legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari
By Femi Onakanren
The success at the polls for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 was the culmination of a long term, lifetime aspiration to serve the country under a democracy.
Previously, the President, (as Major General Muhammadu Buhari) was part of group of young military officers who were concerned about the consistent mismanagement of the country after a return to democracy in 1979. They took over on December 31st, 1983.
Poignantly, in his post-coup national address, the President started with, “It is with humility and a deep sense of responsibility that I accept this challenge and call to national duty.”
This statement marks the summary of the person and personality of President Muhammadu Buhari; his passion for the nation is unquestionable.
He had served as the Minister of Petroleum in the previous military regime and delivered two world class refineries, within budget, to the country.
The President remains one of the few former leaders of this country, at the highest level, that every opposition is at pains to prove malfeasance or corruption. Thus, his legacy of integrity is unimpeachable.
Administratively, as the democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2015, he has delivered, and is still delivering, on his promises to bridge the infrastructure gap and improve the standard of living of the citizenry.
Despite many challenges, both local and global during his tenure, he has managed to stay true to his core mandates; a united, self sufficient, progressive country with intolerance for corruption and empathy for public good.
During his tenure, the country faced a myriad of challenges ranging from recession (x2), drastic drop in national revenues as oil prices plunged, the Covid-19 pandemic, local insecurity challenges, insurgency and insurrectionists etc.
In spite of all, the President focused on the people through many social intervention programs, agriculture support initiatives (ABP, NSIA etc) as well as an infrastructure drive unseen in this country since the Gowon years of oil boom.
However, one cannot ignore the question of the President’s political legacy; it is equally an important heirloom to bestow on the nation. What will be his political legacy once his term is done? There is no better litmus test than the upcoming National Chairmanship of the APC.
The APC (All Progressives Congress) was formed as an alliance of ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria), ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party),
CPC (Congress for Progressive Change), APGA (All Progressives Grand Alliance) and others in a masterstroke initiative to wrestle the reins of power from the leprous fingers of previous PDP administrations.
The President has established his non-partisan position to influence general election results unlike previous presidents. The ‘Independent’ in INEC has really blossomed to life under his administration. Thus, the legacy of non-interference on electioneering processes has already been established. This is a fact.
In his 2 term tenure, the President has started, delivered and has ongoing, several progressive projects and policies with undeniable short and long term social and economic benefits to the country. Further, his ideology of fairness, integrity, rule of law, improving local productivity etc have increasingly permeated the identity and idielogy of the party.
It stands to reason that his input in ensuring the strides made by his political base to improve the lives of the people is not thrown away.
With reference to the President’s 1983 speech, it would be disingenuous to think he formed an alliance basically to just become the president. No. It is not in his character. This has never been a matter of mere political ambition.
The next progressive iteration of the party, APC must deliver the following profile for the next Chairman of the party; a socially aware, modern, grassroots certified, carrying zero politcal baggage, estsblished and no lingering cases of corruption and graft.
The party must learn from the mismanagement of the PDP which led to internal rancor and infighting. This was because the person of the Chairman of the party failed to steer the party on the right political path. In angst, many of them left only to make the APC stronger and cede vast political real estate.
The next APC Chairman must be a man with proven loyalty and dedication to the cause of Progressives. He must have demonstrated these virtues long before the call to serve in a Chairmanship role. He must be conversant with the grassroot and the pulse of the people. He must speak their language and feel their pains.
Necessarily, he must be a young, politically aware and savvy in modern technology and trends. He must be able to speak, and understand the language of the youth and the concerns and developments of their time.
He must have built solid political bridges across the regions and ethnicities. He must possess impeccable and unimpeachable character. As the baton changes hands and the president rounds off, the country and indeed the party, APC, need to reduce the volume of its leaders with social and political baggage.
The next National Chairman of the APC must be erudite and intelligent enough to hold the highest levels of social conversations and relatable enough for his doors and ears to be open to all, irrespective of status.
Many eyes are focussed on the Presidential elections of 2023 but the reality is, a key cog in the campaign wheel is the leadership and management of the political party. There is a need to protect and nurture the foundation set. This will also be one of the legacies of President Mohammad Buhari.
Femi Onakanren is a Business Development Specialist. He is a Socio-political and economics commentator. He writes from Lagos.