‘Why President Buhari Must Not Allow APC To Die’ – ex-FIRS Chief, Onowakpo

A former State Coordinator in the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Hon. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure APC stays in power after his eight years tenure.

Onowakpo made this call in an open letter to the President following the outcome of the concluded governorship election in Edo State where the PDP candidate, Godwin Obaseki defeated the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

He expressed concern that APC political stability beyond 2023 political year could be in jeopardy if the party continue to record failures as it were in some states during the 2019 general election.

Onowakpo who was the APC candidate for the Isoko Federal constituency in 2019, posted the snippet of his 2019 open letter in his twitter handle on Sunday.

He noted that some of the vital things he said concerning why the party recorded glitches in 2019 were still fresh till date, urging President Buhari to ensure that APC does not ‘die’ before 2023.

Onowakpo in the letter had argued that APC recent poor electoral performance was stemmed from failure to institutionalise the party, expressing worried that the party may likely fade away after the completion of Buhari’s tenure of office if things continue the way they are.

He said that Buhari’s “background and core values”, which was seen as a tonic needed to heal the land is what has kept the party going but lamented that things were falling apart.

He maintained that with the way things are going in the polity, only those who “share in your vision and core values on rebuilding Nigeria” would survive the political dynamics that is sweeping the country.

The APC chieftain, in the letter told President Buhari that the party will survive beyond 2023…”if and only if you are able to institutionalise your very core values, which makes you who you are and makes you stand out amongst the lot to entrench a new and better Nigeria.

Onowakpo averred that in 2019 like what happened in Edo few days ago, alot of candidates of the party including key loyalists (Senators, members of House of Representatives, Governors, House of Assembly members) who contested under the APC platform in last general election practically went through hell to be re-elected.

This was so, because, according to him, APC was yet to institutionalise its core values in the conscience of Nigerians even as he said that the party was loosing relevance in the polity.

He said that APC as a ruling party needs more than eight years to be able to make the difference and for these values to be visible and adopted by every Nigerian.

Onowakpo, however, said that for the party to fare well beyond 2023, President Buhari should as a matter of urgency restrategise his team and cabinet by putting square pegs in square holes, by identifying those who sacrificed a lot against all odds to ensure his victory during the 2019 presidential election.

In the letter, he warned; “you may be the very last of an APC President” if the APC fails to neutralize the “institutionalised PDP virus” which has infected every fibres of the country.

“….Will the calibre of persons in the next cabinet be able to produce an APC Government at the centre and win more States for APC in 2023 and beyond?

“I am greatly concerned because, if the above question is not properly answered and the next cabinet is not formed with that question in mind, I have to spell it out to you that, with all your good intents and the selfless services you have rendered this country,

“The consequence if urgent actions are not taken to secure the relevance of the Party is that, most likely, more than half of your supporters will lose confidence in the Party and regard it to be a failure. While the populace are losing confidence, a good number of party men will stray. Why do I feel this way?

“In the last elections, from the Presidential to the Houses of Assembly elections, you will observe that our Party, the APC, which is the ruling Party was at the mercy of the opposition Party. This was so because, the opposition Party is institutionalised and like a virus, every fibre of the society has been infected.

“Remember they were in power for sixteen years and the virus the people were infected with are now deep seated. It will be difficult to totally correct the system and demobilise the virus in a few years.

He alluded that the failure recorded by those in Buhari’s cabinet should be a guide and an eye opener for any cabinet reshuffle and further board appointments.

“If we are to remain in power after your exit, your next cabinet, composition of boards, etc should be a combination of intellectuals, persons with integrity who share your vision and should be core politicians who made your victory possible”.