A Timely Resources For Young People Aspiring To Political Leadership

Title: “All Progressives Congress, The Making of a Change Agent"

Author: Okoi Obono-Obla

Book Reviewer: First Baba Isa (FBI)

Publisher: Bookman Publishers, Calabar, Nigeria.

”Against the background of a compelling need for change, it became apparent opposition parties in the country needed to come together, to not only defeat the ruling party, with the prospects quite bright in the backdrop of bad governance, but also to rescue the nation from the danger of disintegration. Okoi Obono-Obla recounts the story of the first merger in the nation’s political landscape, giving insights on the processes and actors.”

The above quote is an audacious comment on the back of the book entitled “ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS the making of a CHANGE AGENT” by Okoi Obono-Obla. I am excited about this book for reasons that might be quite different from why others might be excited about it. My excitement flows from my personal passion which is active youth participation in politics. So in reviewing the book, I am not really interested in the prose, semantics and syntax of the book. I review the book only from the pedestal that it is an invaluable resource to young persons who are interested in acquiring political power in the near future.

I yearn for books like this in all spheres of lives, especially in law, politics and business. I believe that those who have gone before us in these areas owe us a duty to write a detailed, blow by blow account of how they did what they did and how they conquered what they conquered. For we can only see further by standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.

If you are 18-35 years old, you belong to my generation. A generation of Africans and Nigerians that was birthed at the height of the military rule… we grew up amidst the sound of bugle, the punctuations of newsflashes of coup de tat and the eternal presence of soldiers on our streets. We were living witnesses to the gagging of the press, the flagrant abuse of human rights, asphyxiation of the judiciary and the rise of civil society groups. And just when we were coming to political age, when this military rule was becoming a way of life, democracy as a burst of long awaited fresh air swept across Africa. This welcomed phenomenon happened in Nigeria in 1999.

From 1999 to 2015, one political party (the PDP) held sway at the center. We got used to them. At a stage we thought they will stay there forever, they even thought so themselves, in fact a Chairman of that party even said that they will rule for 60 years. Then in 2015, the unthinkable happened: an opposition party (APC) won the elections, as a gale of strong wind, they swept to glory. They shocked everyone and even shocked themselves. The jury is still out on whether the APC is delivering the change they promised. They are still grappling with the fight against corruption, a somersaulting economy, the hydra-headed security issue and a myriad of other issues. A lot of persons think they are doing their best, others think differently. This is not the aim of this book and this is not why I am excited about it and this is certainly not why I will recommend it to anyone to read.

Young people who are interested in acquiring political power tomorrow must first of all learn the dynamics of acquiring political power. A man who was there and saw it all, a man who was the Secretary to the CPC Merger Committee has written a book to show us exactly how the first super merger of political parties happened in this country. A merger that went on to acquire political power in the Presidency, National Assembly, many States and Houses of Assembly. It’s time for us to grab the book, sit down and learn. And as the legendary Nelson Mandela said on the 15th of May 2008 in his message for “Schools for Africa Campaign”: “Education more than anything else, improves our chances of building better lives”. We must get relevant education to understand the dynamics of democracy, to get equipped with the relevant political tools to engage the political ecosystem. “For my people perish for lack of knowledge.” To give African youths such an education is exactly what this book is all about.

Prince Tony Momoh captures it brilliantly in the Foreword: “This story cannot be better told than by one who was not only a witness to what happened but also an active participant in all the steps that led to this monumental event in the political history of Nigeria… for those who want to enrich their records of Nigeria’s political journey to now, here is a document to you, but even more, it is a handbook for those who want to meet the requirements for the formation of merger of political parties”.

I highly recommend this book and congratulate the author Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, SSA on Prosecution to the President of Nigeria as the book is presented to the public tomorrow, Thursday, 27th April, 2017 by 11am at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.
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