Organically Building an Institution -By Sesugh Akume

Filed under: Political Issues |

I now clearly understand why people are pessimistic about alternative political parties and a new breed of compatriots advocating for and pursuing an alternative course aside from the 2 SPVs (special purpose vehicles) in attaining public office. I get why in fact they question the motivation for seeking public office in itself.

KOWA Party founded in 2009 has been, as far as I know unable to win one councillorship position after close to a decade in existence. In fact, the party seems to only have roots in Lagos all this while and perhaps in the media. This was the first party deemed to be the alternative. Weeks ago however, they threw the towel trying to be different and formally joined the PDP-led coalition, CUPP. How are the mighty fallen! Before then they were having issues with financing,and in other areas. One individual had been their major financier. When he turned off the tap from his end the troubles started coming. They also had issues amongst their leadership. I couldn’t believe my ears when I saw a national executive call out and throw a colleague right under the bus. Now they’ve decided to give up. They’re officially part of the problem.

The next saddest example is the National Conscience Party (NCP) founded in 2002 by the inimitable Gani Fawehinmi. INEC had refused to open up the space and register more parties. He fought from the Federal Night Court (then in Maitama, Abuja) all the way to the Supreme Court. I followed the case from beginning to the end including being in court to witness the proceedings. In the end NCP was registered, Gani became the chairman, and presidential candidate for the 2003 poll. Today NCP has suffered so many contradictions it too has ended up as part of CUPP. They couldn’t respect Gani in death.

Chris Okotie was by far the most captivating and enchanting presidential aspirant for the presidency in the 2003. None came close to him in innovation, messaging and delivery. He was cheated out of the National Democratic Party (NDP) primaries characterised by vote buying and a partisan party chairman who was made the running mate of the preferred presidential candidate, as part of the (compromise) deal. Okotie formed his own Fresh Democratic Party (FDP). His campaign acronym I recall clearly was F.R.E.S.H., he didn’t win. The tragedy is 15 years on he’s writing APC and PDP to make him their presidential candidate. What happened to his Fresh Party in the last 15 years? What has he been doing? He retires into a limbo only to emerge at the election season. We’re a microwave generation that won’t sit down and build diligently over time. Had he sat down and built his party he wouldn’t be doing the anti-party activity today of approaching other parties (which others have toiled to build over the years) to adopt him, as their sole candidate, the messiah.

ANN, another new party registered on the same day as ANRP, I believe, is already in shambles 8 months post-registration. Three presidential aspirants have left the party already as they boycotted the party’s national convention, 2 publicly distanced themselves, none had anything nice to say about the process leading to the convention, as they announced that they had pulled out. Their national chairman has also resigned.

NIP say they have suspended their chairman who’s also a presidential aspirant. They accused her of forgery, as well as other crimes and vices. This is a party that has 2,000 or so followers on Facebook the last time I checked, but less than 200 registered members if what was reported that the lady said of her party is true. In ANRP we’ve gone nowhere yet, but I can name council wards that have that number and more, of registered members. Such a small and growing party didn’t weigh that no matter what truly transpired, putting out such scathing information to the public diminishes the party itself, and could undo the party. Or perhaps they don’t care about the part after all. They’re likely to be in a intractable fight. I could go on and on with examples.

Just yesterday I saw news that Osita Chidoka, a former aviation minister later Anambra governorship aspirant first in PDP later in UPP, has been appointed an adviser to the PDP chairman; whatever that means. He derided the PDP, went to his UPP with revolutionary ideas, but didn’t win the governorship. However, he doesn’t have the temperament to sit down in UPP and build based on shared beliefs. UPP was clearly for him an SPV. I’m referring to a 40-something year old here.

It’s for reasons as these that people think newcomers like ANRP are somebody’s ‘package’ to position themselves and jump ship. Or it’s another flash in the pan that won’t be here tomorrow. I do understand and empathise. It’s for reasons as these that we dig in and double up. ANRP is going no where! We’re already building this institution today with a view to handing her over to our grand and great-grandchildren. We’re resolving our conflicts and issues, and moving on. Some of our issues, if not most of which spill over on social media especially Facebook. ANRP members are vocal, they own their baby and take it personal. The point however is, we collectively guard our baby and leave no inch for what could expose or hurt her.

The thing however is, we’re not having any internal court cases, not now, not any time soon, perhaps not ever. We don’t have factions, not now, not any time soon, perhaps not ever. We absolutely don’t have any ethnic, regional or religious divides. Unbelievable but true.

Some have left already, others may soon, but none can cite cheating or any form of foul play as their reason. No one can cite issues involving money. Our accounting, accountability, openness, and transparency internally on this particular subject of money is above par. We raise our little resources by crowdfunding. We account for every kobo of people’s sweat and blood donated to this cause.

 

 

So we stay. We’re not all about the 2019 elections. Not even 2023, not 2027. We’re building an institution that’ll outlive us all. We’re plating trees today for future generations to benefit from. This institution will be the engine to drive Nigeria to progress on a sustainable process at all levels in time to come. Not the flip flop one step forward two steps backward we’ve been experiencing for the past 58 years. No, a steady forward and upward only movement. This doesn’t mean we aren’t fielding candidates for the 2019 elections we are from president to councillor. But of doesn’t start and end with next February-March.

If this is your dream, you already know what to do, join us at: www.anrp.org.ng

~ Sesugh Akume wrote from Abuja; @sesugh_akume; [email protected]

 

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