APC BIGGEST PARTY IN NIGERIA

Before the ascension of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government to helm of affairs there were fears that the country was heading for a one party state. Hence the need to check the slide before Nigeria was plunged into dictatorship. This prompted the leadership of some of the opposition political parties in existence during the time – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) – decided to go into merger by floating what they described as a mega party.
After much consultation, on a Wednesday, February 6 2013, the APC was born. The merger talks came to fruition as the four parties, in the spirit of the alliance, proposed to change their names to the APC. I can still remember Tom Ikimi an ACN Chieftain at the time while briefing journalist after the party was formed said the new party resolved to uphold the principles of internal democracy, focusing on serious issues of concern to the people and also determined to rid the country of corruption.
I can still recall that after intrigues, controversies, accusations and counter accusations, the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) finally announced the registration of the APC, as one of the political parties in the country. Shortly after the announcement of the APC, the ruling party the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) apparently in a nervy mood, sought to debase the emergence of the APC. Through its National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, maintained that the APC was not a threat to his party, describing the coming together of the opposition parties as a move that would inspire the ruling party. How wrong he was when the threat trounced the PDP in the 2015 General Elections 2-years later to become the ruling party.
The APC has grown in the past 7-years to become the largest political party in the whole of Africa after its recent membership registration and revalidation exercise recorded 41 million registered members across the country. Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party maintains that the ruling APC currently has over 40 million registered party members, going by the validation exercise and records obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A quick check on INEC‘s website shows that there are over 84 million registered eligible voters across the country and what the APC claims mean is that it has about 52% of all eligible voters in the country as members, leaving the remaining parties with a little over 43 million voters to share. Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the PDP has held sway at the helms of affairs, until 2015 when it was sacked by the APC.
It was common knowledge that just before the APC-led administration got to power; Nigeria was largely in a pitiable state. We were plagued by a weak economy characterized by an under-developed agricultural sector that could not guarantee national food security and provide industrial raw materials. The industrial sector was almost non-existent with closed and abandoned factories stripped and laid bare for all to see.
Foreign reserves were almost depleted with huge import bills staring us across the face. Unemployment rates were a record high, and a heavy dependence on oil and gas meant that we were effectively subservient to market forces brought about by the lack of local refining capacity of the black gold. 65% of government revenue and 90% of foreign exchange needs; poor quality life depicted by low life expectancy at 52 years; high level of insecurity exacerbated by the insurgent activities of Boko Haram, were rife further impoverishing many Nigerians across the country.
Crippling, deep-rooted corruption was at an all time high and inadequate and decaying infrastructure adorned the landscape across the country. Only about 18% of the total 197,000km road network was paved and motorable. The railway services we enjoy today was absent while electricity supply was as erratic as ever, reaching about 40% of households, citizens, and businesses for only 45 days annually.
Sadly, this parlous state of the country was the result of the 16 years of maladministration by the PDP Administration. Since the emergence of the APC however led by President Muhammadu Buhari, has recorded achievements that have reversed the ugly national spectre. Without a shred of doubt, it is to the credit of the APC-led Administration that corruption has been fought headlong. Even the APC government worst critics can attest to this fact.
Several top government officials of the government preceding the APC government have been and are being tried for various charges of corruption. Many high-profile personalities have been prosecuted for alleged corrupt practices since the APC assumed leadership. A bosom friend of the President and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation it would be recalled was removed from office when charges of corruption were leveled against him in the same way a former DSS boss was removed due to alleged abuse of public office.
To further demonstrate its sincere commitment to the fight against corruption, the administration allowed a former Governor of Adamawa State, to be prosecuted and jailed, upon being found culpable of charges of corruption. Two other former governors of Plateau and Taraba State were also prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to various prison terms for corruption and abuse of office. Some of the corrupt public officers exposed have cooperated and facilitated the recovery of huge amounts looted totaling trillions of naira.
For the past 7-years, it is on record that the APC government has made appreciable efforts to diversify the economy by developing the agricultural, solid minerals, and manufacturing sectors, so as to counter the dominance of the oil and gas sector in revenue generation and foreign earnings. Largely, in the last 7-years the APC has performed beyond what the PDP has achieved in their 16 years of governance in Nigeria despite inheriting huge debts and gross inefficiency.
However, in the area of insecurity, the APC-led government can be found wanting. Though Boko Haram menace has been considerably curtailed in many parts of the North-east, banditry, kidnappings as well as herders/farmers conflicts have been on the rise. Many have blamed it on the nation’s security forces that were left ill-equipped by successive administrations, while poverty and illiteracy bred a population ready for recruitment into criminal activities.
While the APC is generally considered to be a centre-left political party that favors controlled market economic policies and a strong and active role for government regulation, it can only compete with the likes of the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States as well as the Chinese Communist Party and Indian People’s Party that boasts of over 40 million party members. In Africa, Party of the Revolution in Tanzania and the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola are among its contemporaries.

Hannatu Musawa Esq

Wisdom Bassey

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