The All Progressive Congress (APC), South Africa Chapter, on Sunday said that the ruling party needs reawakening towards the 2023 General Elections.
The National Chairman of APC, South Africa, Mr Bola Babarinde, disclosed this in a statement in Lagos, titled “Towards 2023, APC needs Reawakening”.
Bolarinde said that the emergence of the APC in 2013 was necessitated by the need to counter the dominance of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria.
According to him, from 1999, the PDP had remained the ruling party, dominating Nigeria’s political terrain and making it difficult for other parties to ascend the presidency.
He said that it was in order to break this dominance that saw the coming together of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP – a faction of the then ruling PDP, to form the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The APC became a strong force and coupled with the fact that Nigerians had become disenchanted with the PDP, the APC coasted home to victor.
“However, cracks have started to appear in the unity of the APC as over time, selfish agendas, polarisation and factions have started to appear in the party.
“It has become glaring that many of those drawn into the APC do not share the aspirations to save Nigeria or to positively rebrand the country’s image globally.
“The leadership of the party has become polarized, with people aligning back to their initial PDP, CPC and ACN caucuses,” Bolarinde said.
He said the development has caused a conflict of interest, as the APC has taken the backstage.
According to him, the APC has become an orphan begging for attention, while those who are supposed to tend to its growth are more concerned with their inner caucus agendas.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s famous expression, “I am for everyone and for nobody” did not also help in any way to calm troubled waters.
Babarinde added: “His speech set the tone for how he intended to handle party related affairs.
“This attitude cost him four years of pain during his first tenure, when the “gangsters” from the PDP caucus in the APC hijacked the legislature and became opposition within the party itself.
“This caused a very uneasy working relationship with the Senate as budgets were passed late; sometimes the budgets were increased arbitrarily to favour their uncontrollable appetite to the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.
“Many of us within the party became outsiders, the Diaspora was neglected despite their unflinching loyalty to the party and their readiness to serve and contribute.”
He said that party loyalists were disenfranchised while those that were in opposition became the new brides of the powers that be.
Babarinde said: “Although, the APC has been lucky to have been given a second chance at governing Nigeria, no lessons were learned from the mistake of the first four years.
“Dedicated party members who had worked diligently towards the actualisation of the second term of office were again sidelined especially those in the Diaspora.
“The government has consistently failed to allow those in Diaspora to contribute their quota towards the growth of the Nation.
“Even the most basic of requests by the Diaspora community for an enabling law that would allow them to vote during national elections in Nigeria has become a subject of negative politicking till date.
“What does it take to pass such a positive legislation into law? – as doing this will give Nigerians outside the country a great sense of belonging.”
He added: “The nation is currently crawling on its promises to the people. We are too slow in implementing policies that will make life meaningful in our nation.
“All over the country, the story is the same – one of neglect and highest degree of insensitivity from the leadership. Basic things like hygienic water, good healthcare system and quality education are still difficult to achieve.
“Yes, we know Nigeria has been subjected to many years of neglect, and the rot in the system may not be easy to correct but our approach to correcting the rot is very slow.
“Things need to change in Nigeria and at a fast pace too. We propose that our leaders should take a ‘salary holiday’ as a sacrifice to move our nation forward.”
Babarinde urged party representatives across all levels to reduce their salaries and allowances “so the Nigerian populace will at least know our leaders are ready to sacrifice”.
He added that the current system of government is too expensive and unreasonable, saying nothing is wrong in a minister making use of his or her predecessor’s cars and office furniture?
The diaspora chairman said that Nigerian youths should be encouraged and assured of a better future by making them believe they are loved and there is concern about their future.
According to him, the political leaders should work towards benefiting the citizens, otherwise, the poor and hassled citizens of the country may use their own methods to force the political class to change. (NAN)