There would hardly have been anything to deeply excite my spirit passionately had I professed membership of any other political Party, outside the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC) in this age. I am infinitely fascinated by the ululations of its alphabetical combinations , with endearing hagiograpic connotations, particularly the word, “progressives.”
Quite lucidly, I have no scantilla of doubt that the APC is truely a political association of progressives on the mission of mass liberation of Nigerians from the cuffs of crass neglect and kleptomanic and self- centered leadership.
And with President Muhammadu Buhari at the helms as Nigeria’s democratic leader, his focused, purposeful and result- oriented leadership has impinged profound affection of the APC on the pysche of Nigerians as a Party with a difference, evidenced in the breaking of new grounds and exploring fresh frontiers in governance and development of Nigeria.
Definitely, I am neither the only Nigerian charmed by the aura of APC for a rebirth of Nigeria nor merely prodded to praisesing its beauty because I am contesting the 2023 Ado/Ogbadibo/ Okpokwu federal constituency’s seat for the House of Representatives on the APC platform. But nature has taught us that what is good deserves to be embraced and men of good conscience are divinely obliged to to trumpet it.
Truly, I am not of the Nostradamus lineage. But with my little gift of prescience, I foresee the gains of Nigeria from an APC sustained leadership of the country, in greater magnitude in future, than currently experienced today.
Some other Nigerians have also seen this certainty like me, and with even more crystal lucidity than myself. It is raison d’etre the APC has become the most patronised honey for politicians at the moment. It offers the plank for fulfilling dreams or actualising ambitions for both individuals and communities in Nigeria.
That APC’s popularity soars minutely is not delusionary or a mere propaganda hype! Its the reality as attested by the roving tsunamic defections of tens of thousands of opposition Party chieftains, together with their massive support- bases into APC in recent times.
The APC’s nest of membership has stretched to the near of explosion now. But we are excited and prepared to welcome more Nigerians into its fold because APC has dispensed itself as a Party overtly hostile to the ideologies of the bandwagon political undertakers and power hawks in Nigeria. The Party only anchors and plays politics of development, which I believe is a dire necessity for our people.
However, I have sensed an arduous task for leaders of the reigning APC, Africa’s most popular, finely co-ordinated and effective political organisation on the continent. My experience in politics tells me, managing human resources or human political capital is not a storm in a coffee cup, but an enamous responsibility.
This assignment needs gifted leaders who are competent, honest, foresighted and weaponised with all the fundamentally necessary ideas or strategies to succeed. Its not something as easy as a peck off the shelves as others would perceive it.
Therefore, and like others, I eagerly look forward to the upcoming APC national convention to crown a new set of officials to superintend on the affairs of our great Party. I appreciate every Party for the godly support in coming this far in victorious strides, despite circumstantial hiccups.
And from the coterie of topflight Party chieftains vying for the seat of APC national chairman, the Party has technically conceded to the North central region, one aspirant, Dist. Sen. George Akume’s candidacy is outstandingly catchy and plausible in every sense.
I have no modicum of misgivings that the APC deserves to again, overwhelmingly trounce the assemblage of other political parties at all levels in the 2023 general elections. But I also know, ballot victories are not earned on a platter of gold. Its planned consciously, and powered by deliberate strategies.
This sensitive assignment requires the competitive or innate resourcefulness, competence and managerial acumen of a Party’s leaders to puncture the prosecuting mechanism of rivals. Only this approach dismantle serial hurdles to penetrate bulwarks in opposing camps in order to create the desired impact in the masses to attract mass appeal, support and victory.
So, we need an APC national chairman with these expressive capacities and qualities. The expected national chairman, the APC needs now to extinguish the roguish opposition powermongers and permenantly blight their dubious shadows in Nigeria’s leadership temple is someone who is urbane, a shrewd tactician, an administrative prodigy, quiet schemer, an adroit personality, highly connected, versatile in the antics of cosmopolitan politics or power play in Nigeria and its leadership. Most significantly, we need a national chairman with a massive blend of rurality or grassroots appeal, an exceptional conciliator and a dogged spirit of political battles, with an infectious aura of general acceptability beyond Party confines.
These essential qualities are all embodied in the Benue – born, political bulldozer, Sen. George Akume, Nigeria’s current Minister for Special Duties and Intra- governmental Affairs. I am convinced, Akume parades enticing and captivating credentials as a public servant, reputable administrator, consummate politician, tested and trusted public leader of edifying magnificence.
Akume started his public service as a civil servant. He rose to the peak and retired as a Permanent Secretary in Benue state. His first romance with public service and politics was when he served as Sole Administrator of Gboko LGA in Benue state. His foray into active partisan politics manifested when he made the first attempt to contest the governorship of Benue state under the platform of the CNC ( Center for National Consensus) Party, in the aborted Abacha transition to democratic rule.
However, Benue people discovered the immense administrative and leadership treasures in Akume and elected him Governor of the state, upon the restoration of democracy in 1999.
From my personal investigations, a Benue gasping for life desperately needed a leader of Akume’s mien to quench the thirst on the land by berthing succour. Proudly and to his credit, we are alive to testify to his rewarding leadership of the state for eight years.
Minister Akume served Benue as an Executive Governor for eight years. While serving in that capacity, he extended his political outreaches to other parts of Nigeria, cultivating and harvesting friendship across ethnic and religious divides. I know Sen. Akume as an unrepentant democrat, who believes absolutely in democratic ethos. He was one of the few State Governors of his time on the platform of the PDP who galvanized resistant forces to oppose ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo’s unconstitutional third term agenda or what some of us branded as “dubious tenure elongation.”
Thereafter, Akume was elected into the Senate in 2007 under the platform of PDP to represent his people of Benue North West Senatorial district. As first timer in the Senate, Akume vied for the seat of Senate President zoned to the North Central. Amazingly, Akume narrowly lost the highly competitive seat in the contest to a three-time serial Senator, Dist. Sen. David Mark.
Akume lost the seat, but won the hearts of many for the daring and impactful move. I interpreted the action as bold and strikingly, a rare outing, genuinely reflective of Akume’s widespread political outreach and acceptability in the country.
Akume’s sagacity and thickness has made him trudge successfully in seemingly rough political terrains. In 2011, irreconciliable differences pitched him against his successor, now Sen. Gabriel Suswam, the then Governor of the state under PDP. It compelled him to ditch the PDP for the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) predominantly domiciled in Nigeria’s Southwest region. ACN had very faint presence in the North, specifically, North Central. But Sen. Akume pulled the party to Benue, contested and won his 2011 senatorial seat effortlessly. In the Senate, Sen. Akume was unanimously elected Senate Minority Leader. He became the lead parliament voice of opposition parliamentarians of different political Parties in the Red Chambers for four years. Here too, Akume excelled in leadership and deepened his political clout across Nigeria.
Interestingly, Sen. Akume’s 2011 shadows in ACN marked the beginning of the entrenchment of the ACN and opposition politics into the soul of the North Central, a region hitherto almost near exclusive to the party politics of the then ruling PDP. ACN later merged with other opposition political parties in Nigeria to birth the powerful ruling APC.
So, Sen. ( Dr.) Akume is one Nigerian politician, with the blue blood from the lineage of the late political sage, Sen. J . S Tarka, the famous minority rights crusader. It is not strange that Akume survives the hardest and toughest political hurricanes basically because of his infectious democratic credentials and amiability. The personality of Sen. George Akume personifies him as a core grassroots schemer, consummate leader, a humble man and an uncommon philanthropist. A personal perusal of Akume’s persona betrays him as a leader more interested in investing in human resources development than accumulating personal wealth.
In 2019, greater vistas were opened to Sen. Akume, the APC leader, North Central, when he served as Vice Chairman North, All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Council. And despite deliberate political sabotage by the opposition gladiators, APC still still sustained its winning streaks with impressive outings in majority of states in the North, including the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term mandate.
Akume has continued to exalt and expand this political influence in the North and Nigeria. I gleaned this pleasant reality from the array of top leaders, elderstatesmen, Party chieftains, political groups and cultural associations from across Nigeria which paid solidarity visits to Sen. George Akume after his appointment as Minister and member of FEC by President Buhari.
His Abuja Maitama residence ceaselessly hosted these dignitaries for months. This was long before he indicated interest in contesting the national chairmanship seat of the APC. I have seen a replication of such fondness of Sen. Akume more intensely now that he is vying for the APC’s topmost job. It has been another season of terrorents of supports all over Nigeria . The support is overwhelming and the campaigns at his behest to become the APC national chairman are very trenchant.
And Minister Akume earned my eternal respect as an unrepentant and faithful party man in 2015 over a little, but significant political incident. After the presidential and national assembly ballot of 2015, and despite the wind of change blowing across Nigeria with Buhari as President -elect, Nasarawa South senatorial district predominately peopled by Tiv voters, threatened to vote against the reelection of the then serving Gov. Tanko Al-Makura who flew the ticket of the APC in the election.
Irreconciliable political differences caused the chasm, which estranged the Tiv community from Gov. Al-Makura’s reelection gambit.
It took the immediate intervention of Senator Akume to visit and dialogue with the Tiv community in Nasarawa to restore support and return Sen. Al-Makura as Governor for a second term, as their bulk votes to another party would have bruised APC’s chances of state victory. That’s the true spirit of a core party man and leader as examplified by Sen. Akume.
Frankly, Akume is the verdict of a wide spectrum of APC Party stakeholders, I have been privileged to sample their opinions. They insist that with all these qualities, connections and mass appeal going for Akume in every nook and cranny of the country, he neatly fits into that bill perfectly and correctly.
I foresee an added icing of the cake for Akume with the anticipated endorsement of his candidature by President Buhari, the national father- figure of APC in Nigeria . With this step in the kitty, President Buhari would have unwittingly sealed the victorious electoral fate of the APC for another eight years after his Presidency.
Surely, with an Akume APC national chairmanship and his team of competent lieutenants , the electoral pandora’s box would have been unstoppably opened for the perpetual power hawks, scavengers and looters of Nigeria’s commonwealt. I mean, the opposition Party which is already weakened by the scandalous shadows manifest in the disappearance of the over N11 billion Party funds in the fixed deposit account for the building of its national Secretariat, as Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman -elect threatens audit probe. Its shameful!
I have no slight hesitation that if given the opportunity, Sen. George Akume will be fair and just to all party members, and Nigerians.
Agbese is an aspirant for Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal House of Representatives writing from Agila.