Nigeria: APC National Chair - Who Wears the Crown?

30 July 2021

Lagos — Senator Sani Musa has what it takes to lead the party.

The final countdown to the APC Congresses is on. The commentaries, reports and opinions circulating in the media especially on who will become the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman will hasten the polarization or coalition of political forces and the composition of the teams for the party's two highest political and government positions respectively.

The initial surveys on the race of who occupies the office of the National Chairman have shown how former governors, senators and party chieftains are scheming and pushing for support to actualise their ambitions.

Bitter and deep differences have rocked both the administration and opposition quarters in our country's political journey. The political parties are violating democratic procedures and the leadership are fighting each other. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) considered the main opposition party under the present regime, has failed to unite the various opposition groups and critics of the administration. The PDP no longer looms large as the most viable opposition party, it has not been combative as the opposition party as the party itself is neck deep in leadership conflict. Instead of being critical of the APC administration in matters of policy direction, the party seems to have been liberal in their accusations and criticisms dwell mainly on the person of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But time pressure will force the party to finalize ongoing negotiations and shifting alliances. The most probable serious candidates for the party leadership are already visible in the political landscape. Until the aspirants officially declare their candidature, the final political equation will remain uncertain. What will further delay the polarization process are the rivalries, differences, self-importance, and the conflicting principles of the principal players.

The likes of Umaru Tanko Almakura, George Akume, Abdullahi Adamu, Ali Modu Sheriff and former Abdulazeez Yari, Salihu Mustapha, Mohammed Danjuma Goje, Isah Yuguda and most recently Mohammed Sani Musa have all indicated their interest to lead the party for the next four years. At the early stages names of Almakura, Adamu and Akume popped up as leading the pack of former governors over the other opponents. Not until the name of Senator Mohammed Sani Musa appeared and became the dark horse.

As at the moment Senators Tanko Almakura and Sani Musa seem to enjoy a wide range of support, but looking at various scenarios Senator Musa is better placed especially because he does not belong to any of the interesting blocks scheming for the party's nomination for the presidency. His position and the support he is garnering at the moment will certainly raise his confidence and those of his supporters, yet it is hardly comfortable considering that the party have not yet decided on its zoning formula and this has made many of the aspirants yet to formally announce their decision to run for the office.

With all the permutations going round, Senator Sani Musa seems to have an upper lead in the initial surveys. Musa stands as the man to beat in this early race. He is determined to run. He is not identified with any interest group within the party, he has good credentials for the position, a remarkable record of accomplishments as a business executive, technocrat and legislator; a strong-willed and unbiased person, and he has a hands-on style of leadership, implicit influence and judicious use of resources wherever he administered.

Senator Musa is the serving senator representing Niger East Senatorial District in the ninth Senate; he has excellent professional and educational credentials. He has passion for ICT and digital technology. To his credit, he contributed to the development and promotion of Electronic Voting for the first time in Nigeria, which brought about the introduction of Card Reader and Permanent Voter Card (PVC), the revolutionary steps instrumental to the entrenchment of largely credible elections in Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2015 and 2019. If Musa has the opportunity to lead the party he will benefit from the still high performance and acceptance of technology in our electoral process, as he will introduce for the party far reaching innovations and more digital-oriented policies that will make a difference in political party administration in Nigeria.

But whoever becomes the national chairman will inherit some of the sins and shortcomings of the Adams Oshiomhole's administration even if he was not involved in these transgressions.

The thousands of victims of nomination abuses, and corruption during the Adam's administration will most likely welcome a new leader that is not a former governor because of their concern for the way former governors that were once party chairmen acted with high-handedness and ruthless mis-governance. The downtrodden members of the party may draw more support for a non-former governor to clinch the office.

Even with all the formidable odds against most of the party leadership getting elected as its stands Senator Musa seems to be a strong and hard-to-beat candidate. What might make a big difference between victory and defeat is the party's zoning formula.

Abdusalam wrote from Lagos

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