Take or leave it, the newly elected chairman of the All Progressive Congress is one of the most experienced politicians to have occupied the most coveted position of the party since its creation in 2013.
Bisi Akande who was the pioneer chairman governed Osun State between 1999 and 2003 under the platform of the Alliance for Democracy. He was among the first generation of governors who did not survive the political tsunami unleashed by former president Olusegun Obasanjo that blew AD to oblivion, leaving only Lagos state to breathe its way to life.
Akande was defeated by the former military administrator of Lagos, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who ruled Osun state for eight years. Between 2003 and 2013, Akande wandered in the political wilderness until he was drafted in to provide leadership for the newborn APC as Interim National Chairman.
He presided over the convention that eventually ushered-in Chief John Odigie Oyegun as a National Chairman of the party. Until the advent of APC, Oyegun was a national leader of the All Nigerian People’s Party, ANPP. This was after many years of leaving the government house as the first executive governor of Edo State between January 1992 and November 1993. Having been booted out of government by the military junta, Oyegun left the office to ply his trade in the business world.
On June 13, 2014, he was elected as consensus Chairman of APC to succeed Chief Bisi Akande. He made all moves to return for a second term but could not contain the political onslaught against him at the National level. He eventually succumbed to the power that backed the emergence of Adams Oshiomole, the former governor of Edo state.
From Oshiomole’s controversial exit to the billows of crisis and confusion that marred the tenure of Mai Mala Buni as Caretaker Chairman of the National Working Committee of the Party, It is almost impossible to argue the fact that Abdullahi Adamu has taken a dangerous dive into the troubled sea of the All Progress Congress as chairman.
But Adamu has what it takes to swim and navigate the undulating terrain. Looking at his length of years in politics and his broad spectrum of political experience, it will be difficult to question the rationale behind the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari in settling for the former Nasarawa state governor. Buhari had singled him out from a pack of other aspirants for the top job.
However, there is a nagging question of political ideology possessed by Abdullahi Adamu which many believe that President Buhari did not consider before dragging other party leaders along and making them key to his decision to bring the newly elected chairman on board.
For many Nigerians who are conversant with the political terrain, whenever the name Abdullahi Adamu is mentioned, the People’s Democratic Party will come to mind. Apart from being a founding member of the PDP, Adamu was a two-term governor of Nasarawa State under the party. He was chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum between 1999 and 2004.
In 2007 after completing his second term as governor, he contested and won the National Assembly election to represent Nasarawa West Senatorial District. He was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. He was also appointed as the Chairman Northern Senators Forum, NSF. He was later removed for alleged financial mismanagement and maladministration.
In 2010, the Bridge as he is fondly called was charged by the EFCC for embezzling N15 Billion while in government. In 2014, he was among the 10 aggrieved PDP senators that defected to APC and since he made his defection, nothing much has been heard about the allegations hanging on his neck. But just like the statement made by Garba Shehu recently, Adamu has repented of his sins against Nigeria. The Presidential spokesman said this while responding to PDP’s statement over Adamu’s emergence as APC chairman.
However, one thing that cannot be taken away from the new APC chairman is his depth of political experience and grassroots network. This according to multiple sources amply informed the decision of President Buhari to finally settle for him. Adamu is expected to deploy the instrumentalities of his experience to instill sanity into the party and also map out viable strategies that will earn the party a resounding victory in 2023.
But there is a nagging question of political ideology that needs to be addressed for APC to convince Nigerians that it really means well for the country. Since the party came to power in 2015, it has been busy echoing the tune of monumental damages PDP did to the Nigerian economy. Till this moment, it claims that the damages are still being repaired.
Of course, Nigerians have every reason to heave a sigh of relief in 2015 when the PDP was sent packing from the government. APC was believed to be coming into the system with a fresh idea and new ideology that would take the country out of the wood. As a matter of fact, PDP was demonized and painted as the worst thing to have ever happened to the country after the independence. And With mouthwatering promises and juicy agenda, Nigerians threw open their arms to welcome the party that was expected to usher in a new lease of life.
Seven years down the lane, it appears Nigerians are back to base. Aside from the fact that APC is populated by the same members of the opposition party it initially demonized, Adamu who was a major force in PDP and plied the better part of his political career in the party is now saddled with the responsibilities of leading the ruling party to the next level.
From Bisi Akande to Mai Mala Buni, all the previous APC chairmen have always been seasoned politicians who are rooted in progressive ideology. The only problem has been how to transform the ideology for the good of the party and the betterment of the general public. It has always been the same old story.
Abdullahi Adamu, though adorned in APC cassock, is a notable high priest on the altar of the People’s Democratic Party. His emergence as APC chairman has continued to jolt the nation like thunderstorms. Of course, some APC members murmured in their closets when it was disclosed he is the anointed candidate of President Buhari. But no one seems courageous enough to ask some pertinent questions that bother on political ideology in order not to be labeled as a rebel.
Notwithstanding how long he has spent in APC, no one can take away the fact that Adamu is rooted in PDP ideology and the only thing his leadership might likely offer is to redirect the party and Nigeria back to the old path which APC promised to deviate from.
With his emergence as party chairman, it is now clear that APC has no defined political ideology in Nigeria.
Akinnawonu writes from Lagos.
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