APC Crisis: We Foresaw Our Problems – Mohammed
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, has said that the party had foreseen that the coming together of different parties would cause the APC problems.
While speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ , he said that the moment the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, section of DPP and APGA, came together they knew it would lead to differences at some point with everyone wanting to protect interests but that they were well prepared for it.
He noted that the defection of the five governors from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not make things easier but the party had set up a Harmonization Committee to ensure a seamless blending.
The APC Chieftain refused to be compared to the ruling PDP in terms of party crisis. He argued that theirs was a different situation and indeed “unique in the history of Africa”, as what they achieved in merging such number of strong parties had never been achieved in the history of democracy in the continent.
He expressed optimism that the minor issues would soon be resolved with everyone coming back together. “What is important is that we will be stronger”. He stood by his past comments about the PDP not being able to handle its problems, insisting that the APC was different.
While referring to comments made by the PDP that the APC was made up of “strange bed fellows” with their make-up of different political parties, persons of different political backgrounds and lately the aggrieved PDP governors, Mr Mohammed said that the APC was simply playing by the rules of politics.
“You cannot effect a change from the outside, except u want to rig. In politics numbers are important.”
He dismissed the fear that the new members would pollute the values of the party, maintaining that the APC was a well structured party and the many people joining or defecting to the party would not pollute its values.
He enthused: “We have a manifesto, they can’t change it” but rather they would adjust from the ways of their former parties to do things in line with the APC’s ideology.
What exactly is the philosophy of APC?
As it has been a common criticism that Nigeria’s political parties lacked ideologies, since the defection of the five PDP governors to the APC, Mr Mohammed was asked to clarify the actual ideologies of the All Progressives Congress.
The APC Publicity Secretary said that the ideology of his party had never been hidden from the public as it had always been available on the party’s website for anyone who wished to know to read up.
He however went further to state that the All Progressives Congress was a “Left of the centre party”, a welfarist party that believed that the wellbeing of the people was the basic responsibility of any government.
The APC places the provision of amenities, security, and education as its priorities.
He said that the ideologies of the APC were obvious from the differences it had made in states where the PDP once ruled. Citing examples of the APC states of Osun, Oyo, and Ogun, he stressed that a proper comparison between the APC’s three years of governance to the eight years spent by the PDP governors would enable people understand the ideologies of the party better.
He also added that the APC was already rubbing off on the PDP defectors rather than the party losing its own values.
The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was among the five PDP governors that joined the APC, has already declared free education in Kano State, while the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has also set up a committee to develop a plan for the employment of over 5,000 youths in the state.
The APC leader also debunked rumours that the party was confused on who to present as its candidate at the 2015 General Election.
Laughing at what he termed “creative rumour mill that emanates from Nigeria”, he stated that the issue of who flies the party’s candidacy at any level has never risen as the party was busy building its structure.
With member registration slated for the end of January 2014, congress in February, to be followed by the National Convention in March, there was no way they could have had time to discuss candidacy.
He insisted that the Party’s constitution was clear on how candidates at different levels should emerge and there was no pressure on whom to put forward at the coming elections.
Ogun APC Crisis
Mr Lai Mohammed also tried to exonerate the national leadership of the APC on allegations that it caused the crisis rocking the Ogun State APC through its imposition of an executive on the members without following laid down rules.
He explained that part of the conditions for merger as required by the National Electoral Commission, INEC, was that names of interim national officers were expected to be provided, and the Interim National Committee set guidelines for selecting the persons who should be in the interim based on their political qualifications.
While providing details of the agreement with all merging parties, the set guidelines and the concessions given, he insisted that the party followed these rules as set during the merger agreements, adding that the people complaining about imposition of candidates in Ogun State APC did not know that agreements were made and rules had been set to ensure that old or new APC members were equally treated.