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Professor Bolanle Awe At 90 Conference: Takeaways From The Opening Ceremony And Panels

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Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

The first day, February 13, 2023, of the conference in honour of Professor Bolanle Awe saw us roll several events into a single day — possibly another stretch in addition to the diligent work the team of conveners, conference secretariat, and volunteers have been doing for months now. Although circumstances eventually restricted me from being physically present at the conference, I was there in spirit and through the provisions made by technology, and I could not be happier about the turn of events on the first day of the conference. 

Drawing from the panel session I joined virtually, chaired by Prof. Olasope, the first round of panel sessions went smoothly. Prof. Olasope’s panel regrouped scholars that presented papers on different topics, all coming back to the same focal point. The paper explored history documentation from below, which offered enlightening insights on the importance of documenting women’s history across several social classes without restricting documentation to the elite alone. This also expatiated on the authors’ works in documenting the history of market women in Nigeria and tracing trends in women’s contributions to the development of societies in Nigeria, beyond the few singled-out and recognized women as we had in the earliest documentations of Nigerian women’s history. The paper also exposed the unequal recognition of Nigerians by the Nigerian constitution, a recognition that is especially glaring along gender lines. The paper further brought to the fore how pro-women advocacy and campaigns in Nigeria have met with stiff resistance within the corridors of power, especially the National Assembly, the most vital organ of government needed for formulating new laws or amending old ones that are not favourable to the existence of Nigerian women living in and  outside the country. The gross gender disparities in some privileges accorded Nigerian men by the constitution without their female counterparts enjoying, show that the country is light years away from being a level playing ground for the growth and development of all.

Undoubtedly, the Women’s Research and Documentation Center (WORDOC), an organization co-founded by Professor Bolanle Awe, has immensely benefited virtually every researcher on female and gender-related issues in Nigeria. It was, therefore, not surprising to see that the WORDOC was the focus of one of the research papers presented at the first round of panel sessions, thereby recognizing the work of the institution and also proferring solutions to aspects to which the institution’s work and influence could be further strengthened. 

Conference In Honour Of Professor Bolanle Awe At 90

Professor Bolanle Awe

One notable thing that was immediately noticeable during the session was that presenters deployed several research methodologies to arrive at their final paper. There was fieldwork, focused groups, and secondary research, among others. The participants’ use of several research methodologies allowed for a varied and wholesome conference. Another commendable thing from the first panel session I joined was the engagement of the participants.

In planning for this conference, we desired to make it as engaging and participatory as possible, so much so that even non-presenters would fully participate, critique, and peer-review the works of the presenters. This was adhered to by the members of the first panel through the questions, comments, and suggestions they brought forward. Therefore, there is no doubt that the other panel sessions at other centres went as smoothly as the one I joined, with enough participation from presenters and attendees. This is a fundamental goal of any conference, and I am happy we achieved it.

A life lived in service to others will not only be a life well-spent, but it will also be a fulfilling life. I can tell because, to some extent, I have been there. However, this is not about me today; it is about Professor Bolanle Awe, who lived and continues to live her life in service to humanity and different capacities — even at her age. Through the opening ceremony, this saying was made manifest yet again. It takes extraordinary achievements and contributions for an academic to be the beloved of two of Nigeria’s greatest universities — the University of Ibadan and the University of Lagos — as well as the National Academy of Letters and the MacArthur Foundation. These institutions, among others, can never joke with anything that concerns Professor Bolanle Awe, and she is worth all the recognition and respect they accord her, for she also lived her life and gave her intellectual and other resources in service to these institutions and others. I was pleasantly shocked when one of the contributors mentioned that Professor Awe worked as an editor for a book as recently as last year. One begins to wonder how loyalty and dedication have formed the core of the existence of people like the Matriarch Awe.

The opening ceremony also affirmed the claim that Professor Awe has been a multi-generational and multi-disciplinary influence and mentor. She has influenced the life of many, from the Chair of the ceremony, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, to the Keynote Speaker, Professor Olabisi Aina, to Professor Adeboye, to Professor Bola Sotunsa, and Dr. Omotoso. These seasoned academics and researchers in history and women’s studies did not start their academic and research careers simultaneously, yet, they can all allude to how beneficial and life-changing their first encounter with Professor Bolanle Awe was. 

Professor Awe came to the scene when even education could not have made gender-based discrimination less prominent, as there were a few indigenous women in the academia at her time. Given these conditions, Professor Awe was among the few pathfinders that walked through the thorn-filled and overgrown bush, clearing a pathway for others to come. And to be a part of the pathfinders meant that they had to do things the tough way, learning to be fierce enough to withstand and confront the status quo. This is why many know Professor Bolanle Awe as the vocal academic who has spoken out to criticize known cases of discrimination against women and the distortion of history, especially regarding women. It cannot also be forgotten how she took many under her wings and tutelage, committing herself to raise another fierce and relentless generation of women that would advance the documentation of women’s history in Nigeria. The new generations that Professor Awe dedicated her life and resources to raise are also giving back to society in good measure, including raising newer generations of committed historians.

Listening to Professor Olabisi Aina recounting her experience under the tutelage and mentorship of Professor Bolanle Awe brought to the fore the need to ensure that mentorship in the academia is holistic and altruistic — for many that have worked with Professor Awe and for those she has mentored, she took them also as daughters and sisters, people with whom she shared a common history and baseline issues; people whom she could relate to their struggle. And to that end, she was committed to supporting them for academic success; she likewise showed support, love, and understanding — qualities that must have reassured her mentees in their trying times, ensuring them the confidence to carry on their tasks.

Today, it is also vital that the mentorship given to young researchers and academics — especially women — is wholesome and holistic enough to support them beyond academia while also ensuring that it is altruistic in that there is no ulterior motive or forcefully expected benefit for the mentors. 

If we fill all the drums in the house with drinks and alcohol and have several bowls of amala to boot, if there are no partakers of the meal, then it can be concluded that all the efforts and resources put into the preparation of the meal were to waste. On that note, special thanks go to everyone that participated on the first day of the conference and made it a success. First on the list is the Chief Host, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Adebowale, who honoured the celebrant by gracing the conference’s opening ceremony. Immense thanks also go to the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and the other principal members of the University that were present. It is also important to appreciate Professor Awe’s family members and other participants who did not only grace the opening ceremony but also came to honour to whom it is due.

The recount of the conference’s first day will not be complete without touching on the examination of Professor Awe’s cross-disciplinary contributions, especially those that were outside the academia and to such organizations as the MacArthur Foundation — for which she served as the Country Director, a role through which she extended her focus to feminist causes and how to battle gender issues especially as they relate to women.

The engagement between eminent female researchers and academics and the junior faculty and intending female academics, as moderated by Professor Oduwole, served its purpose wholesomely. I applaud the panelists on how they gave seasoned responses based on experience to questions on the biggest issues and questions that most likely bother junior and intending female academics in Nigeria.

This recount is expected to serve two purposes — first, it will serve as a summary for those who neither attended the first day of the conference physically nor virtually. Second, this will also serve as an extended invitation to join us as the presenters and participants continue to contribute to the body of work on history and academia on the second day of the conference.

Falola , Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Lead City University, Ibadan, is  a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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Obama, Clooney, And Gates Should Include Witch Persecution InTheir Campaign

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Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) welcomes the collaboration between the foundations of Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates to end child marriage in Africa. These foundations have committed to ending this practice within a generation. This initiative, announced during their recent visit to Malawi and South Africa, demonstrates the urgency that such a harmful traditional and cultural practice demands. Child marriage is a sore on the conscience of humanity. It violates the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Culture, tradition, or religion should not be used to excuse or justify practices that undermine the humanity of women and girls. So it was a great relief to know that these influential women would be working together to combat this menace.

At the same time, AfAW wants to draw the attention of Obama, Clooney, and Gates to another practice that is undermining the rights of women in Africa: witch persecution. Witchcraft accusation is pervasive in Malawi and other parts of the region. Witchcraft accusation is a gendered phenomenon that predominantly targets women and girls. Those accused of witchcraft are tortured, banished, or murdered in cold blood. In Malawi and other parts of the region, accused women are raped, stoned to death, or lynched. Many accused women are banished and forced to live in make-shift shelters called witch camps in Ghana’s Northern region. In Malawi and the Central African Republic, the accused are imprisoned, or flee to live in prisons to avoid being killed. Rooted in traditional and cultural beliefs, witch hunting is another vicious phenomenon which they said would not be eradicated.

This misperception should be rejected and discarded. This mistaken assumption has prevented international organizations including the UN from treating the problem of witch persecution with the urgency that it deserves. This misrepresentation has made the world ignore and look away while women and sometimes girls are accused, abused, abandoned, or savagely killed in the name of witchcraft. As in the case of child marriage, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches believes that witch persecution can end within a generation. The problem can be solved or resolved in a matter of years. AfAW is working and campaigning to rally national and international political will against witch hunting. That was why the organization announced in 2020 a decade of activism against witch persecution in Africa.

AfAW urges Obama, Clooney, and Gates to join efforts in stopping witch persecution of women and girls. They should know that the girls they are trying to save from being married away as children could end up being stoned to death or buried alive for witchcraft. Obama, Clooney, and Gates should include witch-hunting in their campaign because the practice is rooted in gender injustice and misogyny. The foundations should know that women are likely to suffer child marriages when they are young and witch persecution when they are growing old. So they should not focus on one and ignore the other. To effectively protect and defend the rights of women and girls, they should tackle both child marriage and witch-hunting . The foundations should commit to ending practices that violate the rights of women, whether they are young or old, children or adults.

Dr Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, which campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa by 2030.

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Powering Prosperity: Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential Through U.S. Partnership

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Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

By David Greene

Nigeria is on track to be the world’s fourth-most populous country by 2050. It already has the largest economy in Africa and, with 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, it stands on the threshold of a demographic dividend that can dramatically transform its economy for the better. Nigeria’s strategic partnerships are essential in harnessing this potential, and the United States is playing a leading role. As we near the six-month mark of President Tinubu’s administration, our relationship has emerged as a key for success. One year ago, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Biden renewed our commitment to deepening engagement across the continent. Here is how we are doing that in Nigeria – working in areas that matter most to everyday citizens, such as growing the economy, strengthening democracy, improving health outcomes, ensuring security, and addressing the climate crisis.

Nigeria’s economic potential is vast, and with the right macroeconomic framework, a sound fiscal strategy, and a strong commitment to rooting out corruption, it can become a preferred destination for foreign direct investment. American investors and companies are eager to engage with Nigeria, and the United States government is doing its utmost to build our bilateral trade and investment ties.
Consider these examples: We have joined forces to accelerate Nigeria’s digital transformation, with investments from U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Meta, Google, and Starlink. This partnership has built a platform to train unemployed and underemployed women and youth. Moreover, it has been a catalyst for quality investment, accounting for more than a quarter of all venture capital flowing into Africa.
Collaborative efforts in agriculture further underscore our commitment. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently dedicated $22 million to strengthen Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, supporting more than 60,000 cocoa farmers, processors, marketers, and other agribusiness service providers in what is Nigeria’s #2 foreign exchange-earning export. From tech to agriculture, these steps go beyond statistics. They translate into tangible outcomes: good jobs, seed money for new ventures, and higher-value agricultural exports.

The United States is also a steadfast partner in strengthening Nigeria’s health sector. With World AIDS Day – December 1 – approaching, it is worth recalling that over the past two decades, PEPFAR, the leading U.S. initiative to address HIV/AIDS, has invested nearly $8 billion in Nigeria, providing more than 1.6 million individuals with life-saving HIV treatment. In response to COVID-19, the United States donated more than 44 million vaccine doses, helping the Nigerian government approach its target vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population. Partnerships like the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, with an annual budget of more than $71 million, have reduced child death rates and strengthened health systems.
Those investments are just part of our overall development assistance to Nigeria. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the U.S. government allocated over $1.2 billion dollars in such support. These funds provide humanitarian assistance, and improve health, economic development, education, social services, democracy, human rights and governance, and peace and security.
In the latter two areas – democracy and security – we aim to support an inclusive future where Nigerian citizens’ votes count and translate into responsive governance, and where they can live in peace. We are a steadfast partner in seeking to strengthen election processes that will enhance accountability to meet citizens’ expectations, and pursuing innovative projects to help communities resolve differences without violence. Through cooperation with and training of Nigeria’s military and police, we are building more capable forces. Collaborating with civil society, law enforcement, and the judiciary, we are confronting the security challenges that stand in the way of economic growth while upholding a shared commitment to human rights. Initiatives include building Nigeria’s counter-terrorism capacity, bringing technology to courtrooms and case-management systems to help in the administration of justice and reduce pre-trial detention, and supporting efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in police forces.

Our partnership to address the climate crisis reflects our mutual recognition of this challenge, and our respect for Nigeria’s role as both an energy producer and a country profoundly impacted by the effects of climate change. In the leadup to COP28 – the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, which begins this week – the United States and Nigeria are aggressively seeking solutions. For example, U.S. support for Nigeria’s leadership as a Global Methane Pledge champion has led to action that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all.
These programs and cooperative efforts advance a joint agenda that is built and driven by the highest levels of our leadership. President Biden met with President Tinubu in September, and numerous senior U.S. officials have come to Nigeria in recent months to confer on meeting Nigeria’s energy needs, driving U.S. trade and investment in Nigeria, and strengthening our law enforcement cooperation. These engagements strengthen our ties, address Nigeria’s pressing needs, and tackle shared challenges.

Ultimately, realizing Nigeria’s potential hinges upon enhancing its fiscal and economic health – and capitalizing on its strategic partnerships to build on that foundation. The opportunity has never been greater. Nigeria, with its youth, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit, is poised to seize this moment. We commend the government for its bold actions thus far to try to move the economy to a more solid footing. The United States is your partner in that effort – through investment, better security, a stronger workforce, and resilient institutions – that benefits all Nigerians and expands prosperity for both our peoples. Our journey ahead has its obstacles, of course. But together we will find a path toward a shared prosperity.

. Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

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End Of Progressive Politics

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Dr Salihu Moh. Lukman

By Salihu Moh. Lukman

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, announced the dissolution of the Rivers State Executives of the party at all levels and appointed a seven-member Caretaker Committee led by Chief Tony Okocha to steer the party’s affairs in the state for the next six months. Interestingly, Chief Okocha who is alleged to be a supporter and political ally of Mr. Nyesom Wike led a delegation of Wike’s loyalists on a courtesy visit to Dr. Ganduje on Thursday, October 6, 2023 where he was reported to have alleged that Chief Rotimi Ameachi, former Governor of Rivers State (2007 – 2015), former Minister of Transport (2015 – 2023), APC Presidential Aspirant for the 2023 general elections and founding member of the APC, worked against President Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu in the last election.

Even without these allegations, it is public knowledge that Chief Amaechi has taken a backseat. Apart from Chief Amaechi, many other APC presidential aspirants for the 2023 elections have taken a backseat largely because President Asiwaju Tinubu has not demonstrated any interest to work with them. In the specific case of Chief Amaechi, his political rival in Rivers State, former Governor (2015 – 2023), Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, since the 2023 general elections has become a strong ally of President Asiwaju Tinubu. Being a strong political ally, Barr. Wike is today the serving Minister of FCT in President Asiwaju Tinubu’s cabinet, if you like the 37th State Governor in Nigeria.

Without any reservation, the reality of Barr. Wike who is a member of the PDP serving in APC Federal Government led by President Asiwaju Tinubu suggests some strong backdoor political negotiations. What could be the details of the negotiations? Could it be that typical of Nigerian politics, APC is negotiating to get Barr. Wike decamp from the PDP and join the APC? Is the APC conceding to hand over structures of the party in Rivers State to Barr. Wike? Even without probing deeper into all these issues, already, some APC leaders in Rivers have opportunistically begun moving their support from Chief Amaechi and now aligning with Barr. Wike. For instance, on Thursday, October 26, 2023, Chief Victor Giadom, APC National Vice Chairman South-South and a long-time ally of Chief Amaechi led a delegation of APC leaders from Rivers State on a courtesy visit to Barr. Wike.

Given all these unfolding developments in APC, it is very clear that the NWC decision, dissolving Rivers State Executives of the party at all levels, is preparing the stage for the emergence of Barr. Wike as the new leader of APC in Rivers State. With Chief Okocha, who is alleged to be a political ally of Barr. Wike given the responsibility of serving as Caretaker Chairman, it simply means that all the new emerging executives for APC at all levels in Rivers State will be Barr. Wike’s supporters. And since Chief Ameachi is a political rival of Barr. Wike, all Chief Ameachi’s supporters must be expelled from the APC.

This is the dirty politics at play in Rivers State. It is very shocking, coming from leaders of a party envisioned to be progressive. Ideally, progressive politicians are expected to be committed to issues of justice and equity. This would require that when there are allegations of anti-party activities against leaders and members, such allegations should be properly investigated. At a personal level, I am one of those who demanded that the NWC should invite the attention of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC to review the 2023 general elections and investigate cases of anti-party activities by leaders and members of APC. The inability of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu as the National Chairman to consider many of these demands as part of the requirement to restore constitutional order in APC and return the party to its founding vision was responsible for all the disagreements, I had with Sen. Adamu.

Instead of restoring constitutional order and returning the APC to its founding vision of becoming a progressive , under the leadership of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, dirty politics of expelling political opponents has taken over. The APC NWC is now abrasive, it takes decisions based on convenience without reference to provisions of the party’s constitution. Simply because allegations of anti-party activities are made by a political opponent who is today the sweetheart of President Asiwaju Tinubu, the allegation is confirmed and all party leaders associated with the alleged person are equally guilty and therefore stand expelled. This is most unfortunate and seriously heartbreaking for all of us who are loyal APC members and look forward to the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu for our hope to be Renewed.

As a loyal party member who is strongly committed to progressive politics, my expectation is that provisions of Article 21.3(i – vi) shall be invoked to investigate the allegation of anti-party activities against Chief Amaechi by the NWC. This should have started by appointing a fact-finding committee to examine the matter and report to the NWC. Eventually, given that there are enough grounds to establish a prima facie case of bias by the NWC given that at least one of its members, for whatever reason, Chief Giadom, is biased, in line with provision of Article 21.3(v), the NWC lacks any jurisdiction to decide on such a matter.

The sad reality of all these unfolding development is that, although Article 21.4(i – x) makes sufficient provision for appeals by aggrieved members, with organs of the party frozen and only the NWC functioning, decisions of the NWC are supreme. This simply means a return to former President Olusegun Obasanjo era of garrison politics. How could this be happening in APC with President Asiwaju Tinubu as the leader? Is President Asiwaju Tinubu not a progressive politician? Or did he just use the acronym (progressive) to achieve his life ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

It is very troubling to ask these questions, largely because these were questions, we asked when former President Buhari was the leader of the party, but we were ashamed to accept the harsh reality that our elected leaders, and by extension our party, have failed Nigerians. As loyal party members, we had the hope that the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu as the new leader of our party would correct and heal all our troubles. When President Asiwaju proposed Renewed Hope as his campaign slogan, party members welcomed it with the belief that we were returning to the founding vision of the party, which would rekindle the era of progressive politics in the country.

Being someone who professes to be a disciple of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of the founding fathers of our great nation and incontestably the forebearer of progressive politics, we had no doubt that the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu would return APC to its founding vision. Part of the expectation of many of us in the APC was that at the minimum internal debate within the party will be strong and decision-making process in the party will take its bearing from positions being canvassed. The first shocker was when after the resignation of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore as National Chairman and National Secretary of the party respectively, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje emerged as the nominee of President Asiwaju Tinubu, taking away the position of National Chairman from North-Central to North-West in a very crude way.

Apart from violating an internal zoning agreement within the APC, moving the APC National Chairman from North-Central to North-West in the manner that it was done was simply contemptuous of the people of North-Central. This is the kind of decisions that can only be taken under a military rule. Having taken such a decision, one expects a review of the internal zoning arrangement within the APC to attempt to pacify the people of North-Central. At the minimum for instance, the position of Deputy Senate President, which is currently being occupied by Sen. Barau Jibrin who comes from Kano State where Dr. Ganduje comes from should have been moved to North Central. Instead, it is just business-as-usual.

Again, at a personal level, I cannot but ask the question, did President Asiwaju Tinubu support the removal of Sen. Adamu simply because he wanted to impose someone like Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman of the APC simply because he needed someone who will not say no to him even when it means destroying the party? Could that be responsible for why President Asiwaju Tinubu has become completely inaccessible to virtually all party leaders? If President Asiwaju Tinubu is commencing his leadership tenure by embracing garrison politics, what will be the coloration of his leadership by the end of his tenure in May 2027? Given such a circumstance, will he be aspiring for a second term?

Perhaps, it is important to recall that former President Obasanjo pretended to be a democrat throughout his first term. The organs of the PDP during his first term were very functional and fully in charge. The dynamics of negotiating a second term in 2003, which compelled former President Obasanjo to have to subordinate himself to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were mainly responsible for the high level of political intolerance that characterised the second term of former President Obasanjo between 2003 and 2007. As an administration that was intolerant, it became more and more unpopular. Being intolerant, it blocked almost every opening for internal debate within the PDP. Imposition of candidates for election took over. Consequently, winning elections was all about vote buying, rigging, manipulating elections, and writing results.

No need to revisit all our ugly electoral past. But APC won its popularity and won the 2015 general elections incontestably because Nigerians trusted the APC when it came with the promise of change. Certainly, under the leadership of former President Buhari, both as Nigerians and members of APC, we were highly frustrated that the promise of change didn’t manifest itself strongly such that the problem of imposition of candidates by political parties, especially by our own party APC is minimised. If anything, instead of changing Nigerian politics, what we witnessed between 2015 and now is that our promising party, APC, has changed to become PDP incorporated in every respect.

If anything, the decision of the NWC dissolving Rivers State executives at all levels confirms this reality. If allowed to stand, stage-managed congresses will be organised to produce new party executives at all levels who will be loyal to Barr. Wike, the new APC leader in Rivers State. Accordingly, in 2027, Barr. Wike will produce the APC Governorship candidate for Rivers State. Since Barr. Wike has already fallen apart with the current Rivers State Governor, Chief Siminalayi Fubara, the prospect of Chief Fubara coming to APC is foreclosed. Therefore, the strategy of APC in Rivers State for 2027 will be to further fragment the people of the state. Rather than working to unite political leaders in Rivers State, based on which APC being an envisioned progressive party will be seeking to unite Chief Amaechi and Barr. Wike to be members of APC, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s garrison politics will only seek to take advantage of the current division between Chief Amaechi and Barr. Wike. In addition, Barr. Wike will have to incur the political cost of separating from his political godson, Chief Fubara. Even if Chief Fubara achieved all that needs to be achieved as Governor of Rivers State, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s garrison politics will emasculate him.

For all these to be imagined under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, who is regarded to be a progressive politician and a descendant of Chief Awolowo will make Chief Awolowo to turn in his grave. Even Chief M. K. O Abiola would have difficulty relating with many of the political decisions taken by President Asiwaju Tinubu in the last six months. At this rate, President Asiwaju Tinubu is practically pushing Nigerians to bid bye bye to progressive politics. With such a reality, it simply means, the structures of APC in FCT will also be dissolved to produce new APC leaders at all levels of the party who will be loyal to Barr. Wike. And any state where APC is led by people who might have opposed President Asiwaju Tinubu will similarly be dissolved. Once the circle of imposing stooges as APC leaders at all levels is completed, which started with imposing Dr. Ganduje as National Chairman, the next level of imposition will spread to all other democratic institutions to guarantee the supremacy of garrison politics, which will then affirm all the political choices of APC under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, whatever that means.

This is anything, but progressive politics. With a garrison brand of progressive politics, problems of political divisions in the country will be entrenched. Addressing challenges of marginalisation, inequality and above all welfare of citizens will not be a political priority. At this rate, it will be safer for the country to conclude that APC, as it is constituted today will be incapable of meeting the expectations of Nigerians. Renewed Hope has invariably produced Dashed hope. This is very unfortunate. APC under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu, as it is constituted today, wasn’t the APC we sold to Nigerians both in 2015 and 2023.

Something must be done urgently to arrest the current drift towards garrison politics in the name of progressive politics. It is either APC leaders take the needed steps to call both Dr. Ganduje, the APC NWC and President Asiwaju Tinubu to order by restoring constitutional order and returning the party to its founding vision of progressive politics, which should be about unity of party leaders and Nigerians, or the party can as well declare an end to progressive politics in Nigeria. So long as the decision of the NWC to dissolve all party executives in Rivers State at all levels is allowed to stand, it simply means that anyone who is alleged to have worked against President Asiwaju Tinubu during the 2023 elections is expelled from the party. With such a declaration, the culture of imposition of candidates at all levels will take over APC. Consequently, elections will not be about the votes of citizens. Winners in elections will only be produced through rigging, vote buying and other manipulative strategies. The earlier every genuine APC leader comes to terms with this new reality and begin the process of mobilisation both within the party and at wider levels of national political mobilisation, the better for the survival of democracy in country. A stitch in time, saves nine!

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