In time of crisis of the magnitude Nigeria is experiencing, party ideologues and publicists ought to be the frontier heroes. Comrade Salihu Lukman’s attempt to subject position the All Progressives Congress, (APC) as, indeed, a party in power with capacity to think and enact government and governance would seem to be perfectly in order. This is more so in view of the need to strive towards accommodating all narratives rather than decide, ab initio, that only some views are good and otherwise. What critics are pointing out, however, is whether any political party exists in Nigeria that deserves to be publicised after what many are calling the 16 year disaster of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) followed by six years of President Buhari’s tragedy.
In their capacity as self-proclaimed party leaders, each of the two warlords – Chief Obasanjo and Gen Buhari – simply set out to restructure each of the bouncing babies handed over to them in the image of the commandist and hierarchical structure of their military profession. It must have been the most painful reality watching Obasanjo dismantle the PDP’s Board of Trustees, (BOT), for instance. The BOT is the mechanism aimed at checkmating a sitting president’s temptations to dictatorship. Dismantling it was exactly what Obasanjo did by routing each of the original members of the board one after the other between 1999 and 2004. These were individuals who, by pedigree, were expected to be above the lucre of money, contracts, women or appointment; individuals who could tell the president to his face that a particular line of action could only lead to ruination. Buhari had done nothing less than borrow Obasanjo’s script though in a different way. The generalised belief is that the APC died immediately after Buhari’s victory in 2015. The military’s contempt for politics and political parties as noisy distractions came full circle in both Obasanjo and Buhari.
This is why Comrade Salihu Lukman, the author of the book on the cover picture of this story, is either such a determined ideologue to roll out the sleeves for any political party in Nigeria today or just enacting an interesting but opaque agenda in consistently arguing the APC case. If the APC were to, magically, overcome its current crisis of mission and escape Nigeria collapsing on it, then he would have earned a space for himself in the party’s Hall of Fame and even in Nigeria by documenting his punditry on the party. If the opposite happens, then he would have successfully documented his complicity in mass suffering brought about by the party since 2016 to date.
Whichever of these possibilities happens to be the case, we are, in the meantime, compelled to read this book in spite of the context of its emergence. This is because we cannot make a more nuanced assessment of the text, the party and its government without doing so, especially in terms of that conclusive rating of the government now generally regarded as bungling all the way. So, can we reconvene here after a very context sensitive reading of Comrade Lukman’s text as offered in The APC’s Litmus Test?