By Igboeli Arinze
With his emergence as the Chairman of the CECPC, many Nigerians, supporters and symphatisers of the All Progressives Congress believed that Mai Mala Buni would be that man that would halt the party’s from plunging further into the abyss that a number of party members had plunged it into owing to their inordinate ambitions come 2023. The reasons were not far fetched; firstly he has to his kitty the track record of any worthy party apparatchik, haven served as National Secretary of the party from 2014 till 2019 when the Office of the Governor of Yobe State beckoned on him to serve. Likewise, he is not known to be controversial, even as National Secretary of a major opposition party as at 2014 and then of the ruling party from 2015, Governor Buni much preferred the background than the kleiglights, now in a country where the political culture enjoys or encourages an overt sort of attention seeking, Governor Buni was not that kind of politician, he seemed then to enjoy the quietude not normal with the average Nigerian politician.
The task before Governor Buni is simple, he is at this crossroads of the party’s history mandated to ensure a genuine reconciliation amongst members of the party as well as conduct a befitting mini convention for the party. So far, it has been so good as Governor Buni has taken the task with a resolve that appears to be stoical in nature, he has largely been at the forefront of wanting to reunite the party and rev it back to winning ways. He is appearing to leave no stone unturned deploying in his many ventures a bag of diplomatic skills. It was with such a skill that he brought back the perceived prodigal son in former Speaker, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara to the party’s fold after the same Dogara has waltzed away from the party that made him speaker with his dadakuada counterpart in the person of Senator Bukola Saraki.While the party could not arrive at the bus stop of true reconciliation in Edo State, thus affecting the chances of its candidate in that election it pulled such a remarkable feat in Ondo State and ensured that the party kept the Sunshine State in its fold.
But then there seems to be some dissonance recently with a number of the new moves the Caretaker Committee is hinting as. First is the emerging fact that the Caretaker Committee is joggling with the idea of a tenure extension as against its mandate of six months. This naturally should raise some dust from certain blocs within the party and such an extension might be called out as a sit tight syndrome. After all, Buni would remain as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, calling the shots within the ruling party, this truly can be alluring but then it has or portends to have a damaging effect on the party’s present situation. However, let us ask if six months is truly enough to ensure a total reconciliation? A party with juggernauts will surely contend for every advantage, every inch and every structure that exists within the party, thus reconciling them will take much more than the norm. Again, given the fact that the CECPC was also busy with the Edo and Ondo elections as well as was responsive to its administrative duties , then it might be ok to tilt a bit to its body language for an extension.
Another move is its plan to carry out a fresh registration or revalidation of its membership. In a political culture, where ideology is shallow; where the APC is no different from the PDP or APGA, where one man can be in PDP and before you can say the Casa in Casablanca he is already a foot in APGA or another party and before you say ‘Sabla’ he is renegotiating his way into another platform. The political class is mirrored by the masses it leads, since it is easier for them to even switch parties like people change their clothes, much worse they can even belong to all the political parties, the more, the merrier! The argument spun by the Buni led leadership is that there is need for the party to clean out its membership register which it states is out of date and needs such a process. It has also argued that there is the need to bring in fresh members into the party’s fold.
But then understanding how our politics works, there are many who believe that the registration process is an attempt to unfairly foist control of the party on a particular bloc. One must not forget how the PDP under the days of Olusegun Obasanjo used such a process to break Atiku’s hold on the party then. If this is true, then the Buni led leadership may be marring whatever chances it has at achieving genuine reconciliation. This may not matter if the Buni leadership is actually paying lip service to its reconciliation mandate, I do not want to believe such, as the APC cannot survive any form of fissures in the party, to do so would be to shoot itself on both feet, the party loses out, principal actors like Buni too could lose out.
Igboeli Arinze is the Managing Editor of realpoliticsnigeria.ng