APC and party supremacy

After much measured agitations by some members, the National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has scheduled the meetings of the party’s National Caucus and the National Executive Committee (NEC) for.July 10 and 11 2023, respectively

The opinions of members of the two party organs are vital in managing the electoral success of the party and sustaining it as an efficient election winning machine; and the more important task of governing the country and delivering a balanced national development that meets the expectations of the Nigerian electorate.

One of the issues that may top the agenda at the two meetings is the NPN-era type of doctrine of party supremacy and its official introduction for adoption and enforcement at all levels of the APC structure.

Put simply, party supremacy implies that elected members of the APC in both the executive and legislative arms in the three tiers of government should align their policies, programmes, legislative activities and all affairs of governance with aspects of the party’s manifesto.

This means that the National Working Committee (NWC) would directly or indirectly constantly monitor and assertively enforce compliance and ensure that the policies and activities of the administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all APC-led states and local governments are based on and flavoured by guidance from the party leadership.

The 1999 Constitution as amended has guaranteed autonomy and independence for the elected executive and legislative arms of government, therefore the supremacy of the party should not be so overwhelming as to breach the constitutionally given independence of the two institutions.

The presidential system of government has tacitly separated those elected to manage the three tiers of government from UPN-style control by their political parties. This is dissimilar to the practice in parliamentary system where there is a strong linkage between the ruling party and parliamentarians elected under its banner.

But it can be assumed that even under the presidential system, a genuine need exists for unity of purpose and helpful consultations between the party hierarchy and its members who were elected to administer the country.

This is because it is impossible for those who were elected to public offices to get through without the party, regardless of the flaws in the process of their nomination as candidates.

Besides, the votes won by candidates were for the party. That is why ballot papers do not bear the names of candidates seeking elections. They bear the names of political parties and their logos. This gives political parties an apparent edge in the supremacy debate.

Nevertheless, some observers argued that even though the party was the platform on which those elected into public offices contested and won elections, the candidates went round canvassing for votes under their own steam and persuaded people to vote for the party. Without this effort, not every political party can be successfully sold to voters.

However, the party has recently demonstrated that the doctrine of party supremacy can be invoked to influence major decisions. The national leadership of the APC successfully recommended those who should be the top-most leaders of the National Assembly.

Given that success, the party may be able to consolidate its strong voice in the selection and nomination of other leaders of the national and state houses of assembly, ministers of the federal republic. ambassadors, members of the boards of government agencies and more.

This could be achieved more easily if the 22 senators elected in the name of the party are persuaded to drop their alleged threat to switch from the APC to another party. There are other simmering crises in the party that should be doused. Countless aggrieved and sulking senior party loyalists across the country ought to be placated.

The need for reconciliation and unity in the APC should be paramount in the minds of those participating in the forthcoming meetings. A peaceful atmosphere within the party will make it easier for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, all APC governors legislators and party cadres to work without distractions.

The contributions of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to national development deserve acknowledgement and applause at the meetings.

Members of the rested Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) deserve a standing ovation during the two meetings. Without their selfless efforts, steadfastness and support from Muhammadu Buhari as president in resolving damaging intra-party crises and expanding the national spread of the party, the APC could not have recovered its strength and successfully retain its ruling-party status.

Salisu Na’inna Dambatta was APC national spokesman.