APC Congresses: Threat To Democracy

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) held its ward congress across Nigeria last Saturday. The ward delegates election was a prelude to the local government and state congresses of the party slated for tomorrow and Saturday next week, respectively. But whether the nationwide ward congress actually met democratic standards has remained a moot point in several states till date.
APC governors, ministers and other party bigwigs have freely traded blames over compromising the intra-party polling process in their states amid reports of blood bath, ballot-box hijacks, property vandalisation and parallel voting centres. Even in areas where the process was claimed to have run smoothly, there have been swift counterclaims by factions with threats of unsavoury consequences should any results be announced by the party. In fact, matters seem to have come to a head with the party apparently overwhelmed by the deluge of complaints from every direction.
Rivers State was reported to have suffered some of the worst casualties as the APC state secretariat was vandalised by aggrieved members who were allegedly denied forms after paying huge sums for same. All the APC national office could volunteer, so far, is a promise to constitute appeal committees while denying reports of any deaths or injuries during the election.
Notwithstanding the APC’s calm posturing, The Tide is disturbed that the ruling party has failed to show the other political parties a good example of how to run internal democracy. We wonder what would become of the party’s remaining congresses, national convention and the 2019 general elections if this level of violence, destruction and subversion of the electoral process could be witnessed in a mere party ward exercise.
We condemn the flagrant display of hooliganism, banditry and impunity by APC chieftains in their desperation to hijack the party congress. This, we think, portends grave danger and threat to Nigeria’s democracy. As torch-bearers of the country’s democratic experience, the APC-led Federal Government must stop at nothing to ensure that our electoral process is not subverted by its stalwarts.
We recall that while campaigning, just before the 2015 general elections, the APC had promised to move Nigeria to a higher democratic rung where the rule of law and respect for national unity, security and peaceful co-existence would prevail, but from every indication, so far, the reverse appears to be the case.
There is no gainsaying the fact that it took the blood, tears and sweat of patriotic Nigerians to set the political template which the present crop of politicians are enjoying. It is, however, sad that the latter appear not to be working hard enough at improving the system they inherited. We, therefore, advise our political leaders to be cautious of their actions or inactions by exhibiting the highest level of maturity, tolerance, responsiveness and responsibility to the Nigerian state and its people. We say so because the life of every citizen is sacrosanct and should not be sacrificed for whatever reason or consideration.
In fact, the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have captured the mood of such Nigerians in a statement it issued to condemn the APC’s rowdy polls thus: “The PDP regrets the violence and calls on Nigerians, particularly political stakeholders to make our political and electioneering processes across board free of violence especially as we approach the 2019 general elections…Our party values the life of every single Nigerian and we implore all contenders, including political parties to eschew desperation for power, especially in the face of loss of property and public support due to performance issues.”
Peace-loving Nigerians would surely expect that the fiasco which characterised the APC ward congress last Saturday is not allowed to repeat in the party’s remaining internal elections.