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Adekunle Bakare argues that Sani Musa stands a good chance of clinching the chairmanship

The merger of four political parties in a mega opposition to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2013 was a radical step taken to salvage the country from ruin, despair and hopelessness as a result of a lack of internal democracy, colossal corruption in key government institutions and a brazen disrespect for the rule of law.

The urgency to redeem Nigeria’s dwindling global image as a haven for lawlessness and corrupt practices heralded the coming together of these political parties –– the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

In retrospect, this alliance achieved its stated aim of taking power from the men who supervised the illegal sharing of our national assets to their cronies; weakened the armed forces through the diversion of funds approved for arms procurement, and the mismanagement of the country’s foreign reserves.

The adoption of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 was hinged on his impeccable record of integrity, his simple approach to life and his background as former military ruler. The odds were in his favour and this goodwill was extended to more than 80% of the candidates that contested elections under the party – as they recorded a clean sweep in their various elections.

Much has been achieved by the ruling APC since it took power in 2015. The need to sustain the legacies bequeathed to the party by President Buhari on account of his goodwill and the events that occurred during and after the 2019 general elections has given more compelling importance on who emerges as the national chairman of the Nigeria’s foremost party, APC.

In recent times, the media has been inundated with an x-ray of the candidates jostling for the national chairmanship position. As at the last count, close to 10 aspirants comprising of former governors, former and serving senators have directly or indirectly indicated interest to contest the vacant chairmanship position.

Based on their recent activities related to the chairmanship position, Senators Tanko Al-Makura and Mohammed Sani Musa, former governors Abdulaziz Yari and Ali Modu Sheriff have stepped up their engagements within the party and in the media.

It is commonplace to have the prospective candidates engage with party stalwarts and members of the fourth estate of the realm before making a formal elaborate pronouncement.

As earlier reiterated, these candidates have enriched the outlook of the APC as a national party in their various states either during its formative years or at its later stage.

Among these contenders, Senator Sani Musa’s candidacy makes for an interesting read as he does not belong to the class of the former governors who are often regarded as the ‘heavyweights’ as far as the party chairmanship position is concerned. However true this may be, political analysts privy to the workings of the restructuring currently being undertaken by the APC are of the opinion that the body language of President Buhari and top leaders within the party echelon are unenthusiastic at the possibility of a former governor’s emergence owing to the haughty and overbearing attitude of some of these former governors.

One analyst once described the former governors as “arrogant bunch who believe that based on the enormous powers they possess as chief executive of their states, they can run a political party as if it were an extension of the states they previously governed”. This assertion, if it is anything to go by, may work in favour of the Niger East Senator, Sani Musa and other candidates who are not former chief executives of states.

In addition, if the criteria for the sought-after party chairmanship position were based on the altruistic and humanitarian services, then – Senator Mohammed Sani Musa stands tall on account of his numerous selfless activities in and out of the party. Even while he didn’t hold a major public office unlike the other candidates despite being a founding member of the APC; his philanthropic record remains indelible on the sands of time as far as party funding and donations to charitable courses are the benchmark.

Being a member of the APC, ideological conviction takes the centerstage. It comes as no surprise that Senator Sani Musa has been consistent since 2014 on his contribution to the development of the party both at the state and national level. In the buildup to the 2015 general elections, Sani Musa furnished and maintained the biggest campaign office in the country in Niger State which served as the campaign headquarters of Presidential and other elections in the state.

As the highest individual financial contributor to the APC in Niger State during and after the 2015 and 2019 elections, he presented election materials, vehicles for easy transportation, branded billboards and other souvenirs alongside radio and television jingles that conveyed the party’s message to the remotest parts of the state. Having single handedly funded the campaign trips and rallies in support of the party in both the Presidential and gubernatorial elections, as well as the state, and federal house elections –– the overwhelming victories recorded across board further cemented the acceptability of the party in subsequent elections.

As a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria representing Niger east Senatorial District in the ninth National Assembly, Sani Musa has distinguished himself as a loyal party man with the requisite leadership acumen to carry on and sustain the legacies of President Buhari for the All Progressives Congress.

In every sense of the word ‘progressives’, Senator Musa possesses all the right qualities to lead the party as its chairman devoid of the highhandedness synonymous with former governor’s handling of the party as if it were their personal fiefdom.

He is cosmopolitan and highly respected among his peers. A strong advocate for inclusivity, he can serve as the bridge between the young and the old. His emergence on account of his leadership prowess will not only bring resounding victory to the party but galvanize the APC into uncharted territories.

In the buildup to the national convention and the 2023 general elections, the APC will find in Senator Mohammed Sani Musa a master-strategist, a shrewd mobiliser who is not only passionate about the wholesome development of the nation but has the capacity to manage diverse people and interests irrespective of tribe and religion.

Bakare, a political analyst, wrote from Lagos

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