Leadership (Abuja)

8 February 2013

Nigeria: CPC Kano Bye Election and Matters Arising

opinion

The outcome of the bye-election conducted in Gaya and Garko local government councils of Kano State is not good news for the CPC. In fact, the outcome of the by-elections conducted to fill the vacant seats of the two assassinated House of Assembly members by gunmen was a reflection of the failure of the CPC national leadership to sincerely deal with the challenges of internal division and acrimony.

As the saying goes, united we stand, divided we fall. Unfortunately, this adage didn't seem to occur to the minds of the party's leaders, especially the clique within the national leadership, which has been blamed largely for the intractable crises in the party chapters across the country.

When democratic principles are discarded in favour of selfish agenda, the CPC will continue to experience the fate it suffered at the hands of the PDP during the recent House of Assembly by-elections in Gaya and Garko local government councils. In fact, last year the CPC suffered a similar fate in Katsina State during a local government by-election.

These electoral disasters could have been avoided if the CPC leaders had swallowed their pride and let the people elect candidates of their choice. Sadly, however, that was not to be because of the insistence of the party leaders to impose their own anointed candidates rather than those the people want. What happened in Kano State was a debacle waiting to jolt the party once again.

The chairman of the CPC caretaker committee in Kano State and other leaders ignored advice and imposed their own candidates during the by-elections. Any leader that unjustly ignores the will of the people to favour his own candidate, whether he is popular or not, should be ready to face humiliating rebuff.

This disunity within the CPC has played into the hands of the PDP. Feeling superior to the will of the people is the most dangerous form of politics. Sanctimonious posturing without dispensing justice to all party members is sheer hypocrisy.

General Buhari's refusal to support the dissolution of the current national leadership of the CPC is mainly to blame for giving the clique absolute power to play God at the expense of everything democracy stands for. They are manipulating the General so badly that, even if they made potentially harmful decisions against the party, he hardly bothers to pay attention to the implications of their uncontrolled power.

In the words of Robert Greene, the author of the 48 Laws of Power, sycophants are the most dangerous friends. He argues that they over-praise a leader in order to use him; they shut him from reality to conceal their motives and drive away sincere friends who could have given him more valuable and honest advice. Unfortunately, if left unchecked, these professional flatterers can destroy both the leader and the party.

Such is the ugly reality in the CPC today. From 2003 to 2011, this clique has been manipulating General Buhari at the expense of the party. In fact, it seems as if they have cast a spell on this icon of integrity. The interest of the party continues to suffer because of the inimical influence of this clique on the General. Even where well-meaning party members attempt to make Buhari see this danger, they manipulate him to think otherwise.

They dismiss their critics as PDP moles. And the danger in this strategy of deliberating avoiding reality or confronting honest advice is that it makes the leaders throw away the baby with the bath water.

When the CPC was formed in 2010, even the ruling PDP, despite the incumbency factor, was mortally frightened about the good prospects of the Congress for Progressive Change. However, with the introduction of the policy of imposing and substituting candidates by the party national leaders, the massive goodwill that initially greeted the emergence the CPC evaporated.

Except for the presidential election, the CPC performed poorly in the House of Assembly and governorship elections, including the NorthWest, which was thought to be the party's stronghold.

Millions of CPC supporters are still disappointed why General Buhari should abandon the fate of the party in the hands of party executives who don't believe in freedom choice, which is the bedrock of the democratic system. General Buhari once remarked that, despite its limitations, democracy remains the best system of government. It is curious, therefore, why he appears helpless to stop members of the clique that pose a mortal threat to voter sovereignty.

For the sake of his integrity, General Buhari should be resolute to oppose the policy of imposing candidates. How can party leaders who have no political influence to win the votes for the party be allowed to destroy the will of the people? We have a duty to tell General Buhari what the opportunists around him cannot tell him.

Should the General sacrifice the interest of the party for the sake of keeping this clique in office, even when they are harming the party? Shouldn't Buhari consider the fate of the CPC without him? How can the CPC become the alternative platform for change when lack of internal democracy continues to trail the leadership style of the party?

The CPC can only go into a merger as a strong national opposition party when it is united internally. But can it achieve that strength when the freedom of choice is being systematically destroyed to please the narrow interest of the clique pursuing the imposition of candidates as official policy?

-Garko wrote from No. 67, Katsina Road Kaduna.

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