From all indications the APDA is going to be the party to watch in the run up to the 2019 elections. It was the first party to have the courage of the collective conviction of its members to make a pre-emptive debut on the sterile political arena even before INEC announced the new parties after unnecessary delay. Since it had met all the conditions of INEC for registration it took the plunge into the political arena with confidence, shaking off speculations of PDP-offshoot with a parade of new faces on the frontline. But it also had in attendance several bigwigs from PDP and other registered parties who were disillusioned and desirous of new platforms, lending credence to APDA’s posture as the alternative new coalition of youth-driven political initiatives for a fresh push for a new dispensation.
While the other new parties were still in limbo of unpreparedness, the APDA was already discharging some internal combustion sparked by the restless jostling for its reins from within and without, but contained admirably by its interim leadership spearheaded by Chairman Mohammed Shittu, himself a “youthful veteran of Nigerian politics” and no push-over in party power games. Having officially collected the APDA registration certificate from INEC, Shittu secured it firmly even as the jostle for influence pitched the contenders in a battle of nerves.
In the final analysis, there was acknowledgement of the indispensible position of Mohammed Shittu in the formative process for APDA as its primary advocate who coordinated and facilitated the successful emergence of the party on the national scene. The resolution of the power equation by principled recognition of its youth-driven, new generation resolve to take their rightful places in enhancing the democratic dispensation with more dynamism and patriotism, neutralized attempts to redefine the parameters of influence. The reality of generation shift in Nigerian politics made a powerful outing as the live wire of APDA.
With the executive equations amicably balanced, the APDA has since moved on with the arduous but achievable task of mobilization and entrenchment of the party across the land notwithstanding the obvious time tension of proximity to 2019 transition year. Flaunting the ideological identity of social democrats, APDA, according to Chairman Shittu is all about giving overdue attention to the welfare of the youths and masses. ‘We intend to put food on the table of Nigerians, we intend to improve on our social security and housing and also to focus on states as hubs for our industrialization programme drawing from the area of economic advantage of each state”, he told newsmen recently, capturing precisely and convincingly its priorities for human welfare and socio-economic development. It is also concerned about the growing agitations and restiveness of teeming population of unemployed and frustrated youth which intends to address by diverse economic empowerment programmes. With the harrowing impact of APC/Buhari Presidency’s recession-oriented governance ravaging Nigerians at all levels, APDA sure has the right recipe to rekindle dashed hopes of positive change.
Arguably, the greatest challenge awaiting APDA after successfully reining in the forces of “capital cabals” jostling for “ownership” is the assemblage of a new generation of party supporters, members and the faithful to take zealous possession of the party structures across the country and spread the new political culture of “digital democracy” where E-registration/membership, e-payment of fees and dues and e-voting for party offices combine to put political party power firmly in the grasp of ordinary members on a modern, transparent and accountable platform. With this strategic innovation of party administration and processes, APDA is determined to offer the best alternative to the notorious analogue rigging anomalies of old parties, especially the god fathers, money bags, imposition of candidates and governor-takes-all election congresses.
Alhaji Mohammed Shittu explained it this way “we are saying don’t bring a billion to us, just go back to the ward level and start from there to win the hearts of the members at all levels. That way we are filtering them because if you start from your ward, you get a sense of belonging and the members know their powers over you as shareholders not mere joiners and when you get to Abuja you know you must be accountable to them” In fact Chairman Shittu’s APDA is so determined to fight money politics and corruption in democracy that he has unveiled a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly by an APDA Presidency to criminalize the distribution of “essential commodities” during electioneering !
There is a lot more about APDA that sets it far apart from the business as usual analogue parties which is evident in the giant strides it has already made by operating the electronic-systems modules for registration, membership and payment of dues and popularizing other revolutionary innovations which also distinguish its constitution and manifesto from the recycled compilations of analogue parties currently waiting for ambitious billionaires to launder ill-gotten funds through “donations” and “sponsorships”. Its biggest potential stems from the massive response of the majority of youthful E-Nigerians who are more endeared to the digital world and have confidence in the insulation of electronic systems from the corruptive and crude manipulation of oppressive moneybags and powerful elected officials of party and government.
Chairman Mohammed Shittu (MON) has a vast experience and deep insight into Nigerian politics in which he has been involved at influential levels for decades before adopting Abuja as his coordination point since clinching party FCT Chairmanship. The APDA is a product of frank analysis and sincere commitment to righting the wrongs of our democracy and party culture by like-minded patriotic politicians willing to actualize a new era with a new generation.
TIMOTHY SAMSON wrote from Abuja