2019 And APC’s Lost Opportunity
It is a mystery how the All Progressives Congress mismanaged her brand, brand ambassador (President Muhammadu Buhari) and outing as Nigeria’s ruling party. This depicts that victory is an art and losing is better than winning with a loser’s mindset. Losers have a common trait, line thinking. In 2015, for Peoples Democratic Party and her bandwagon of overfed sycophants, it was Jonathan or nothing. For change-centric Nigerians, it was anyone but Jonathan. In 2019, for APC and her hardliners, it is Buhari or nothing. For the Wailing Wailers, it is anyone but Buhari. Guess what? In 2019, Nigerians will neither join the hardliners or Wailing Wailers and APC lost an opportunity to put her best foot forward, Yemi Osinbajo.
In 1960, the colonial masters bought into independence for Nigeria. They knew it was a pyrrhic victory. The sitting arrangement of the traditional rulers who met with Prince Charles during his recent trip to Nigeria says a lot. In 1999, after awarding Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks to their fronts, the old order of the Nigerian military retreated to the barracks. They replicated the colonial master’s model and handed over power to their most trusted ally, Olusegun Obasanjo. As a military genius, he went on to institutionalise line thinking, as a precursor to perpetuate himself in power. The Northerners thought outside the box and said a big no. Third Term failed.
It took a defeat for Jonathan and the PDP to abandon line thinking. In 2015, Jonathan seized the opportunity to congratulate Buhari. This was thinking outside the box. It is dazzling to find the APC plagued by PDP’s 2014 disease. Actionable intelligence showed that the PDP presidential candidate had become an unsellable product. The overfed sycophants would have none of that and underrated Nigerians. PDP is now a smart party, iPDP. They rejected all entreaties to streamline the long list of presidential aspirants. They instead facilitated fair and transparent presidential primaries on live television that put their best foot forward, Atiku Abubakar.
Awolowo’s developmental footprints, investment in people, remain the most potent till this day. Osinbajo is married to Awolowo’s grand daughter. The apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree. APC’s masterstroke should have been to present Osinbajo as her presidential candidate with Aisha Buhari as his running mate. APC’s current presidential candidate has become unsellable, thanks to APC. On the contrary, Osinbajo’s pedigree and stellar performance as Acting President are crystal clear and sellable. The naira appreciated under Osinbajo. He courageously sacked the former DG of the DSS, Lawal Daura and stayed loyal to his principal.
In 2015, PDP fielded a dented product and was rewarded with a well-deserved defeat. The APC is set to repeat the same feat. Atiku is a strong candidate and PDP has learnt the hard way. The window to substitute candidates is gradually closing. APC can decide to follow the dictates of her hardliners or think outside the box. The Wailing Wailers are armed with their PVCs and buying time. Findings from a discreet 2019 analysis shows that Nigerians are going to vote the best candidate and not party. As Acting President, Osinbajo increased the brand equity of the APC and spurred Nigerians. Articulate or be prepared to congratulate Atiku.
Forgiving others is a virtue but forgiving self is a gift. ––Ena E. Orugbo