In the backdrop to the Convention, which had to be postponed due to so many political headwinds, there were speculations that it may be dragged to June 2022 to be conducted jointly with primary elections for candidates in the 2023 general elections. That rumour turned out to be what it was, a ruse, created by distractive minds that wished to see Nigeria's largest political party in disarray.
Unknown to the distractors, the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), led by the amiable Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, had operated as a single team. It shrewdly lined up activities which paved way to the big day: party leaders were elected at congresses at ward, local government and state levels . The congresses were followed by intensified preparations which were preceeded by implementing initiatives that strengthened the party.
The initiatives include the revalidation of the register of party members which was followed by the registration of new members. The APC now has 41.7 million registered members nationwide. This membership size is second only to that of the Chinese Communist Party, which had 95,148,000 registered members in 2021. The Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC and other committed party members have turned the barely nine-year old political party into the largest in Nigeria, some say, in Africa.
The several other important initiatives of the Caretaker Committee were paying debts owed by the party; procurement of a decent office accomodation; ending litigations caused by intra-party jostling; amending and expanding the party's constitution; attracting new leading lights into the party, including two state governors, numerous law-makers and other big shots that are both popular and an assets to the party.
The party re-engineering work done by the Caretaker Committee enhanced the resilience and bolstered the confidence of the party. The APC has been transformed into the most awesome political machine that is capable of easily winning future general elections in Nigeria. Its manifesto is reformative. And its habitual iclusiveness in the social, political and economic spheres gives the APC the distinctiveness of the only true progressive, people-oriented, party in Nigeria.
The feats of winning general elections in 2015 and 2019 should not breed complacency. It should be taken as a challenge for the party to recognise the necessity for unity and team work in all its endeavours to retain its winning ways. Doing so will sustain the trajectory of victory so that Nigerians can continue to benefit from the provision of massive public goods.
Thanfully, the leaders, stakeholders, members and supporters of the APC have heeded the call by President Muhammadu Buhari by amicably ending unnecessary micro internal disputes. No one wants the reconciliation achieved to fail. Failure can cause unpleasant consequences. The APC should avoid becoming a weakened house by failing to unite. It should unite into a solid broom that can sweep away all opponents in any future electoral contests. It should be remembered that the party was successful in its electoral outings in 2015 and 2019 because it joined the race as a united entity.
The APC now has an majority in Nigeria's National Assembly and controls at least 23 state Houses of Assembly. The evidence of its electoral prowess runs thus: it has produced a President for Nigeria for two terms of office; it has 22 state governors out of 36, and 70 Senators out of 109 belong to it. And 233 members of the House of Representatives out of 360 are of the APC; as are 591 members of State Houses of Assembly out of 991, plus hundreds of Councilors and a majority of Chairmen of Local Government Area Councils. This feat can be achieved again only by a united, solid, APC.
The National Convention on March 26, 2022, is geared to be rancour-free because of the dillegent work and careful planning and efficient implementation of all the activities leading to its actualisation involved. It is going to be an epoch-making and bench-mark setting event.
Salisu Na'inna is APC's National Director of Publicity.