Why Ndigbo May Not vote APC in 2015

KayCee
By KayCee July 9, 2014 00:53

If the 2015 elections were held today, and President Goodluck Jonathan was on the ballot as a candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, the result will be the most humiliating defeat of the All Progressives Congress in the South-East zone. Very few people in Igboland will vote for the APC. The South-East is the highest support base of Jonathan and his party and I will tell you why.

It is not because Jonathan has performed creditably in the zone. If you speak with many of the political leaders in the zone privately, they will express their disgust for the President’s unresponsive leadership style. However, despite the initial promise shown by the APC, it has simply refused to carry Ndigbo along. This attitude might have been borne out of the initial permutations about 2015 within the party.

Conventional wisdom will propose that if the APC manages to win the majority votes in most of the states in the North and South-West, it may not need to bother so much about the South-South and the South-East, yet, the party can hope of defeating the President. However, the surprise from the last Ekiti election has changed everything. With a considerable incursion into the expected APC votes in the South-West, and the uncertainties in the North arising from insecurity, the permutation needs to be adjusted for the APC to defeat the incumbent President. The fate of the 7,577,212 votes of Ndigbo may become the game-changer. Many people take it for granted that these votes will go to Jonathan. Why?

The APC does not seem perturbed how it is perceived in other regions apart from the North. For those who are on the ground in Igboland, the party is still being perceived rightly or wrongly as a Northern party. Many conservative Igbo voters are very reluctant to join such a party. Although some individuals within the party such as Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Senator Chris Ngige are popular, such popularity has yet to be transferred to the party.

The second point is that many people still feel that the APC has links with the Boko Haram insurgents causing mayhem in the North. This may just be mere perception that cannot be substantiated, yet, it has eaten deeply into the fabric of our society. For some reasons that are beyond the scope of this writer, many of the victims of the Boko Haram attacks have been Christians and their worship centres. And many Igbo, who are mainly Christians, are domicilled in the North while a majority of the abducted girls from Chibok are Christians. The prevailing narrative in the South-East therefore is that Ndigbo and Christians are being targeted by the insurgents. Though it could be propaganda, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has continuously pointed accusing fingers at the APC. Anyone who thinks that such crucial perception issues will not affect the pattern of voting in 2015 is only being naïve.

Interestingly, the APC as a party has done nothing except occasional denials to challenge some of these perceptions. Even among many Yoruba in the South-West, the prevailing narrative about the religious portrayal of the APC could affect the direction of their support especially in the Presidential election. That is why the whole idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket will be an error. Now, as a person, I really do not care about the religion of any political leader. It matters less to me. However, as a student of pragmatic politics, I know it matters much for many Nigerians especially with the continuous bombings and killings linked to the extremist Muslims.

Now back to Ndigbo and the do-nothing approach of the APC, there are two incidents that have portrayed the party as insensitive to the South-East which, obviously, would affect its electoral fortunes. The first is the massacre of 14 Ndigbo traders who were attending Adazi town hall meeting in Mubi, Adamawa State some years back.

The second is the forced surreptitious “deportation” of some people of Igbo extraction to Onitsha Bridge. Since the Adazi incident, many of the widows have been forced to flee into their home state. There were media reports how those women were finding it difficult to find their feet because of the manner of their exit from Mubi. Many waited to hear that one of the APC leaders paid a solidarity visit to Adazi to commiserate with the widows let alone arranging any form of support to them even if for the sake of politics. For the deportation incident, after a widespread condemnation of the action by many patriots, Governor Babatunde Fashola was forced to offer a half-hearted apology.

On a final note, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and some prominent leaders of the APC have been portrayed in the media as religious zealots. Even if Buhari is not one, there are many people who will find that difficult to believe among the South-East electorate. That singular perception may potentially cause problems for the party in the forthcoming elections.

There is a consensus among the Nigerian public that the ruling PDP has not performed. The people seem prepared to vote the party out in the next elections. However, it is not automatic. Many Nigerians have waited endlessly for the APC that it could be relied upon to deliver a real change to the people. That has not happened. If it does not happen soon through a reach-out strategy that challenges some of these perceptions, then the hope of displacing the PDP may continue to be wishful thinking.

However, if Nigeria is to fulfil its developmental potential, it is time to play politics beyond those narrow fixations and peddling of untested preconceived ideas but ignoring Ndigbo could become a risky adventure that may lead to perilous outcomes. The addiction of the APC leadership for control should give way to a clear road map of how to govern Nigeria differently.

The party could still be the vehicle for change only if its leaders will urgently evolve an inclusive strategy and a clear policy departure from business-as-usual pattern of the PDP. They should wake up from their slumber or forget the Presidency in 2015.

culled from the Punchng.com written by Uche Igwe

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KayCee
By KayCee July 9, 2014 00:53