The problem is not with FFK, it is with APC and the public backlash is puzzling. It is like being horrified by a goat that chews up a book. Isn’t this the nature of the beast? Of those who call themselves politicians and patriots? Since “politics is a game of numbers” and the most progressive party of Nigeria has no real membership criteria – so that all are welcome including short men with buck teeth who stole their state blind while they were Governors, the power hungry, drug addicts, serial AGIP ID card holders, et al, then what is the problem? If you bring in maggot-infested logs into your house, you must expect lizards said Chinua Achebe. In this case, maybe APC should be happy because one of the logs or is it a lizard is set to leave the house.
It was Groucho Marx who said ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member’. This ‘anyone is welcome’ haven that APC (and indeed all our political parties) is trying to achieve – is part of the reason why our politics in Nigeria is steadily deteriorating and why the APC is going to have a lot of internal problems going into the general elections.
It is not hard to sympathize with APC’s current ethos regarding party membership. Their objective is to win elections not a wooden plaque for most improved on internal party democracy. Historically, the formula for winning elections in Nigeria is for parties to command the largest number of people who have amassed the most ill gotten wealth and the toughest, meanest ready-to-do-anything-and-sacrifice-anyone-to-get-power people. The stakes are too high and too attractive. If anything, their membership drive (if one can call it that) is aimed at ensuring only a minimum number of idealists and dreamers of a better type of democracy enter into the party to slow things down with their unrealistic plans. No. Judging from the antecedents of those who used to be in office, those in office and those trying to get into office what is required for being a party stalwart is 100% immunity against feeling shame and ability to speak convincingly from both sides of the mouth.
The truth is, APC should have kicked off with a criteria for members and screening candidates, especially because all the major parties that came together in the merger have a history of internal competition between members which is now intensified. The impact of refusing to build a common ethos within the party and have rules which guide membership and candidacy is what we are witnessing today with all the controversies and violence around the APC ward congresses. Fani-Kayode’s defection betrayal is the least of APC’s challenges and there will be lots more difficulties ahead. This is the time for APC to sort things out internally. But will it?