OPINION: Time to Distinguish Between Pirates and Princes

Senator George Akume

“If we are to have a ruler, we should know, who that person is, otherwise, there would be no distinction between pirates and princes” _ JOHN LOCKE {1632-1704}

A few months from now, the All Progressives Congress Party will be holding its 2021 National Convention. As expected, local, state, regional and frontline national political stakeholders are building up their respective political strategies, permutations and allied interests-aggregations, on how best to reposition the fortunes of the party. These unfolding developments are coming, ahead of the 2023 presidential and general elections whose roadmaps are already being laid by the leadership of the APC, who understand the dynamics of power-game, power-play and balance of power.

For the All Progressives Congress, sustaining and retaining her hold on the three-tiers of governance is of utmost concern. However, one leading political figure, who understands, applies the principles and laws of political power and deploys same to very good advantage across population-sizes, population-patterns and population-distributions, is a former Governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume, who is currently Nigeria’s Minister of Special Duties & Inter-Governmental Relations.

This urbane man of all seasons has the emotional, cognitive, investigative and social intelligence infrastructure, as well competencies to function effectively as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress Party, if offered the opportunity to do so or chosen by a collective consensus of the party leadership and esteemed members.

This is even as the All Progressives Congress is very much mindful of the potent powers and strengths of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, from whom it snatched political power in the 2015 and 2019 general elections, respectively, dramatically ending the latter’s 16 year-old on governance at the centre.

Already, there are growing numbers of seemingly qualified candidates, who have indicated their interest in the position of national chairman of the APC. This move makes the context healthy, even as it is an expected norm across board in all political parties at a time like this. The degree of interest shown in the position may have been informed by the fact that the majority of those warming up to contest for it are merely seeking political visibility or relevance.

The present APC leadership at the national level, no doubt, has faced some challenges, which were traceable to personality clashes, that almost put the party in disarray. All segments of the party were enmeshed in different shades and colours of crisis, from the ward, local government, state, zonal to national levels, culminating in litigations, both genuine and frivolous.

A prominent member of the All Progressives Congress Party and seasoned political analyst,  who favours anonymity,  captures these experiences and lasting impressions most vividly when he said,  “almost everybody who is somebody in the APC hierarchy were not happy about the last administrative leadership style of the Comrade Adams Oshiomole led NWC and  approach to crucial matters of political interests-aggregation in the not too distant past before the emergence  of the current caretaker committee chairman of the party, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.

“These administrative leadership dysfunctions and lapses at the national level, hopefully, have now been corrected by Buni, who had been midwifing the affairs of the APC national leadership with discipline, good culturing and civilised behavior”.

To quote Comrade Frank Ezike, “before the All Progressives Congress was rescued from its crisis laddered state by Governor Buni, the issues of behavior- discrepancies and disconnect between the national leadership of the APC as a party and the various states chapters in the federation, resulted in major stakeholders of the party  either directly or indirectly being denied democratic licence or access to express their electoral optional choices, guaranteeing fairness, equity and justice for all”.

It is the candid opinion of Ezike that, “a well-balanced and consummate political leadership figure” like Akume be endorsed via election or general consensus as the national chairman of the APC, in order to give the party a “well-defined direction and positive sense of purpose”

Alhaji Bashir Salisu, an influential APC member from Kano State, who also doubles as the North-West Zonal Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, says that, in view of the fact that the North-Central geo-political zone’s strategic political significance in determining the electoral successes of the APC in the forthcoming 2023 presidential and general elections, having a strong political personality like Akume in the position will be an added advantage to the party.

According to Salisu, the North-Central geo-political zone is the most strategic geo-political zone with multi-cultural and multi-ethnic electoral investment opportunities. It is populated by almost all the major and minor ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.

Arguing further he remarked, “The capacity of all elected representatives to successfully manage the gains of their electoral successes, remains the most vital component of all variables or factors that define, determine and shape the functionality of any good governance infrastructure or system as exemplified by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

“It is on this plank that I will appeal to all the All Progressives Congress  chieftains and members of the National Working Committee, all elected representatives at the three tiers of government to give due consideration to adopting Senator George Akume as the next National Chairman of the APC”.

Also, describing Senator Akume as an amiable political leadership figure, grassroots mobiliser, skilled technocrat and a team player, a former Chairman of the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in 1997, Ben Agbana, noted that the former governor would usher in a new sociology of voting behaviour that will place the APC on positive electoral advantage, being a balance between the North and the South, if given the leadership opportunity to serve as national chairman of the party.

Perhaps, for the All Progressives Congress, the days of political rascality or infantile experiments, which almost brought the party to the level of street behaviour, are over. Stakeholders of the party nationwide are excited that Akume has a knack for displaying excellence, high standards, quality service delivery, deepening good relational rapports and sustaining cordial relationship profiles in any task that he is assigned to.

Buni has, at least, restored confidence amongst the stakeholders, after the seemingly turbulent days of unstructured behavior and discrepancies witnessed in all the facets of the party.

John Locke once observed in his intellectual property documentation that, “God made the earth’s resources available to man and directed man to use his reason and senses to exploit the earth and its creatures for his benefit.”  He also stressed that government is established to “preserve man’s property from the violence of others.”

Emboldened by this principle, it then stands to reason that the All Progressives Congress should, therefore, do what it can to help the Federal Government plough back its promised return on  electoral investments, which ushered the political party into the corridors of power in 2015 and 2019, respectively.

The All Progressives Congress, having realised its monumental administrative and emotional errors, in managing the social contract between it and the voting electorate, may well ponder over the noble thoughts of John Locke, when he observed, “if we are to have a ruler, we should know, who that person is, otherwise, there would be no distinction between pirates and princes”.

If all the APC faithful are to look at the individual identity in political life, more so, as a product of the larger Nigerian society, Akume fits into the thoughts of renowned German philosopher and sociologist, Georg Simmel in social conflict and individual identity as these TWO concepts, are always present in all spheres of partisan political interests ‘aggregations that will play out, ahead of the June 2021 All Progressives Congress special national convention.


Dr Ibrahim is the National Coordinator, APC Patriotic Ambassadors of Nigeria