CRN bye-election : APC and the crime of popularity

By Inyali Peter

It's no longer news that the winner of the September 3rd All Progressives Congress, APC Cross River North Senatorial bye-election primary, Prof. Zana Akapgu won't be on the ballot during the main election scheduled for October 31st, 2020.

This is not because even his greatest haters doubt his chances of winning the election for the party but for the reasons he would have been allowed to fly the party's flag in the first place.

To win election in a normal democratic setting, you must be popular and acceptable by majority of the electorates. You must be someone who is in touch with reality and understands the plight of the people.

These are some of the credentials Prof. Akpagu boast of and exactly what APC needs as an opposition party in the state to carry into the election. Cross River North APC members saw these and voted overwhelmingly for him during the primaries but unfortunately, a powerful clique of elites who are obviously threatened by his popularity worked with the leadership of the party in Abuja to deny him participation in the election.

As a civilized leader, he went to court to seek redress. With all the overwhelming evidences which include reports from the Department of State Services, (DSS), Police, Observers from Civil Society Organization, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from chapters to state and the fact that the number of votes allocated the APC candidate is more than the number of registered members of the party in the senatorial district, the case looks easy to win.

However, Nigeria play the kind of politics where the party can decide to tell you that you were not given birth to by your mother and you'll have to accept because those favored by some undemocratic party decisions hide under the phrase that "the party is supreme".

Indeed, Prof. Akpagu, a loyal partyman has proven that really, the party is supreme by putting the interest of APC, although undeserving ahead of his own by withdrawing the suit challenging the decision of the party not to send his name to INEC as candidate. 

To him, the role he played in uniting APC in the state would be counter productive if he became the very reason the party begins another war against itself. So, after consultation with his campaign council, he withdrew the suit and has directed his supporters to work for the success of the party.

But in a clear message, the APC candidate has told his supporters that they're not consequential as far as the election is concerned when he formed his campaign council for the election but ensured that no Akpagu supporter was involved. Why would they even need them when they got the ticket without them?

Was it a mistake or pure arrogance?

It's said that he has directed those in charge to do some damage control by including some of Akpagu's supporters in the already published and inaugurated campaign council. Whatever that means, but what was he thinking in the first place? 

Is being loved by the people now such a big crime? Is politics no longer a game of numbers? Is APC playing or really contesting the bye-election to win? Is winning in court the only option of the candidate? 

Well, only time shall tell.

Aside this, another issue is the involvement of a certain man who sees himself as the Tinubu of Cross River State APC since he joined in 2017. Since he joined APC, he has not won even a class reps seat for the party yet in every election, he wants to be the one to decide who gets what and how.

Well, let me remind him that the next Cross River North Senator will be decided by  the people of the North and not someone from central. If the APC are serious about the election, he should be advised to steer clear otherwise his involvement may have a negative effect on the chances of the party just like the recently held Edo governorship election where it's widely rumoured that the involvement of some leaders from other states counted against the party.

No doubt, the APC candidate himself in different fora alluded to the fact that he was persuaded to run the election by this person. He has done him enough favor by getting him the ticket through whatever means. It's now time to allow the people of the north decide.

The people are not foolish. A man who just about a year ago betrayed the entire north and said there was nobody from there that's good enough to lead the state except him cannot turnaround to decide for the people who become their Senator. Maybe, it would have made more sense if he had seen him good enough to be Governor in 2015 when he worked against him or even in 2019 when he said the North was the modern day Nazareth. Or is he only good to be Senator and not Governor in his eyes?

Good a thing, the highest office holder cum leader of the party is from the North. Being a governorship candidate does automatically confer on anyone the status of leader of the party. For now, the Honourable Minister of State for Power, Prince Goddy Jeddy-Agba is the leader of the party. If non-northerners must get involved, especially this person who has so undermined the North, let him operate through the Minister. 

Finally, for those who are celebrating the injustice meter on Prof. Akpagu, for those who have suffered similar fate,  cried foul but today happy to perpetrate what they condemned against another, God is supreme and what goes around, comes around. 

See you again, soon!

NOTE : The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, Inyali Peter.
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