APC was formed as a progressive political party. But happenings since the inauguration of the party on May 29, 2015 suggest that there may not be a departure from what Nigerians experienced in the hands of PDP which ruled for 16 years. We are most likely going to move out of the frying pan into the fire. And this is not what Nigerians bargained for in the just concluded 2015 general elections. PDP was voted out at the centre for obvious reasons. Nigerians did not vote for President Buhari and the APC because they want the status quo. Nigerians are beginning to doubt whether APC stands for continuity or change.
President Buhari and the APC made history on March 28, 2015 when they defeated an incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. But they will fritter away the goodwill on which Nigerians elected them if care is not taken. APC is the first political party since the return of democracy in 1999 to unseat a sitting president whose party, the PDP, has boasted of ruling Nigeria for 60 years. They are the party with a president on whose character, personality and strength Nigerians think they can experience a better life.
The Nigerian people cannot be blamed. For many years, they have been betrayed by governments. Past administrations have failed in bringing a new lease of life for a people that deserve better and bright future.
Every Nigerian agrees with this assertion even though we may disagree on other issues and our reason for disagreement are not too far-fetched. Recent elections have shown that Nigerians are divided along ethnic lines. But it is quite disheartening that happenings within the APC and the conduct of its elected members at the National Assembly makes one wonder whether the agenda of the party is continuity or change. Activities of government under the PDP after the 1993, 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections were same old same old. Their economic plan and public policies were all the same. This is to be expected from a conservative party like the PDP. Former President Jonathan’s economic policies were the worst despite having a Harvard and MIT trained economist as his Minister of Finance. This was the reason Nigerians ended his tenure as President.
The APC seem to have a better economic plan and agenda different from that of the PDP. Former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola exemplified this in the way he managed the affairs of Lagos State. Dr. Kayode Fayemi also stood out with his developmental programs in Ekiti State before his unfortunate defeat by a man who many agreed ran a governorship campaign based on stomach infrastructure. Governor Ayodele Fayose was once a governor in Ekiti State who left unceremoniously and whose corrupt deeds were later exposed to the public. In spite of his antecedents and poor public record, the people of Ekiti State decided to trade Dr. Fayemi for Governor Fayose. They blame Dr. Fayemi for his populist programs and policies.
A great decision was made when Nigerians decided to try another political party. Having discovered that the PDP were not offering something new especially during their 16 years rule, Nigerians took the bull by the horn by voting for change. The tide of change also swept across states that were traditionally regarded as PDP states. Nigerians only expressed their dissatisfaction with the poor level of governance under the PDP government.
Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges and everyone look up to President Buhari and his political party to fix these problems. The new APC government need to live up to the people’s expectations and have a radical departure from what obtains under the PDP. APC should not be tempted to adopt the policies and style of the PDP. Doing things the PDP way is definitely not an option for members of the APC at all levels of government. APC needs to vigorously pursue its change agenda without any hindrance.
What played out at the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015 shows that true change may not have come after all despite President Buhari’s believe and avowal in his inaugural speech. The coup d’état in the senate, the emergence of a PDP Senator as Deputy Senate President and the dissenting voices of some disgruntled members of the National Assembly all show what the course of events would be in the next four years of our democratic experiment.
Nigeria is truly evolving besides the APC is saddled with the responsibility of bringing about the desired change. It is up to APC to prove to Nigerians that what they voted for during the 2015 general elections is not continuity but change.