By; Ahmad G. Shu’aibu
Even with its ultimate registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was preceded by the fusion of some opposition parties and its subsequent victory during the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is apparently still undergoing evolutionary process. Some existing gaps and loose ends are certainly not the usual features of a full-blown political party.
Although the newness of the party and the conflicting tendencies of the groups that collapsed into it are valid excuses for the existence of the gaps, there is still the expectation that conscious and concerted efforts will continue to be made towards the re-enforcement of the party’s conceptual, structural and operational frameworks. The desire for the formulation of the effective strategies for the strengthening of all the organs of the party cannot be more compelling.
In Kaduna State, just like in many other states where the APC is in control of government; there have arguably been both a seeming structural deficiency in the party and a determination by some concerned stakeholders to address it. While many of the complaints by some groups and individuals in the Kaduna State APC are suggestive of the existence of such a deficiency, certain steps being taken by the state government particularly its machinery which handles political matters indicate a strong resolve to tackle the prevailing challenges.
By organizing town-hall meetings on monthly basis and facilitating regular inter-face between government functionaries and officials of the party at all levels, the office of the Special Adviser on Political Matters, Uba Sani, is clearly responding to the natural demand for the adoption of viable approach to the management of party affairs and governance process. It, in fact, appears that the APC and the government in Kaduna State are summoning the courage to face all those challenges that have constituted a threat to their operations.
The town-hall meeting which is rotated among the three senatorial zones and the 23 local government areas of the state and which is attended by Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufa’i provides an excellent opportunity for the government officials and the ordinary people in the state to rub minds and shoulders. As stated by the Political Adviser on April 30, 2016 at the last town-hall meeting in Kachia, it is an event that makes it possible for issues to be put “on the table for discussion.”
Every town-hall meeting, of course, comes along with it some challenges and corresponding benefits. The exposure of the governor to such a situation in which even opponents are granted the chance to publicly probe the activities of the State Government is definitely an interesting challenge that the office of the Political Adviser always struggles to handle.
The manner in which during such meetings, commissioners take turns to respond to questions not only gives practical expression to the definition of democracy as “the government of the people, for the people and by the people” but also creates the impression that they are fully aware of the accountability element of their assignment. It, moreover, shows that the era of crude denial of people’s right to information about the activities of government is over.
The Kachia town-hall meeting, for example, was characterized by expression of concern by the people over lack of water as well as security challenges in Southern Kaduna and hitches in salary payment caused by the verification of workers and a re-affirmation of determination by officials of the state government to address the issues raised. No any other kind of interaction would have guaranteed such a mutually beneficial exchange.
The idea of town-hall meeting has evidently already been dubbed by the federal government because it very much appears to be significantly helpful to the twin processes of governance and politics. It always has the potential to create a win-win situation for all the parties involved in it.
One other initiative that can also make APC much stronger in Kaduna State is the regular interface between the State Governor and the leaders of the party at local government and ward levels. Already, the first of such meetings which took place at Kaduna Government House between 1st and 2nd May, 2016 has begun to, simultaneously, erode suspicion and strengthen confidence between some leaders of the party and officials of the state government.
Although there are other key elements of the party who are outside the leadership structure and were not therefore among those who participated at the meeting, the initiative has created the hope that the engagement process will reach everywhere and everybody. The office of the Political Adviser must have by now developed some more ideas about the co-ordination and management of such an interaction.
Constant consultation between the party and the government which such meetings naturally guarantee will definitely result in the full appreciation of the inherent linkage between politics and governance. And it is only when such an appreciation comes about that there will be smooth governance from which the ordinary people will benefit.
Almost all the existing gaps which are giving birth to complaints in some quarters are direct products of inadequate consonance between the party and the government. This particular reality is what makes the effort being made in this regard by Kaduna State Governor’s Political Adviser tremendously remarkable.
What is therefore now required is the adoption of positive attitude by all the party stakeholders in the state so that all the initiatives that have so far been churned out can be strategically utilized for the benefit of the party and the people of the state. It is, after all, only when issues are positively approached that all the perceived and real shortcomings of machineries of either the party or the government or both can be effectively tackled.
The prevailing scenario within the APC especially in relation to the operation of the state government supports the argument that the challenge of co-ordination as well as re-defining and implementing plans is a challenge for everybody in both the party and the government it controls. By playing the role of facilitator of all those processes, the office of the Political Adviser is already doing enough to ensure that the loose ends are tightened and the gaps are filled.
Shu’aibu can be at email@example.com
By; Ahmad G. Shu’aibu