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A missing strong chain link in the APC

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APC Buni, Buhari & Ize-Iyamu holding the APC Flag.

The strength of any political party derives from the framing of a constitution which provides for equity, fairness, and liberty of thought, choice, and advocacy and compliance by all party organs and members with the constitution.

The state of any nation that practices representative democracy merely reflects the social and legal state of the political parties that hatch its leaders. Accordingly, Nigerians should be interested in what transpires within the political parties that produce the leaders whose decision-making affects their physical safety, social security, and standard of living. As a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who began the collaborative and consultative work for the party in my State (Benue) even before its approved official status in July 2013, I must speak up for my party. Its omissions affect my community, and its success benefits it.

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Article 10 of APC Constitution states that “There shall be seven levels of party organization, namely, (i) The Polling Unit: (ii) The Ward; (iii) The Local Government Area/Area Council;  (iv) The Senatorial District; (v) The State; (vi) The Zone; (vii) The Nation.”

Of all the seven levels above, the Polling Unit (PU) is the foundation. Unfortunately, this very important level of party organization has been ignored and neglected by the leadership of the APC from the Ward to the National levels. But, if the foundation is destroyed, what can APC do?

Article 11 provides that there shall be 14 principal organs of APC, among which is the Polling Unit Committee (PUC), while Article 12.17 gives the composition of the PUC as follows: “There shall be in each Polling Unit a Polling Unit Committee consisting of: (i) Polling Unit Chairman; (ii) Polling Unit Deputy Chairman; (iii) Polling Unit Secretary; (iv) Polling Unit Assistant Secretary; (v) Polling Unit Treasurer;  (vi) Polling Unit Assistant Treasurer; (vii) Polling Unit Women Mobilizer; (viii) Polling Unit Assistant Women Mobilizer; (ix) Polling Unit Youth Mobilizer; (x) Polling Unit Special (Physically Challenged) Mobilizer.

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All members of the National, State, Local Government Area/Area Council and Ward Committees from the Polling Unit.”

In Article 13: Powers of the Organs, the APC Constitution provides in 13.14 (Polling Unit Committee) that:

“The Polling Unit Committee shall (i) Be responsible for ensuring the success of the Party at all elections; (ii) Carry out such assignments as may be given by the Ward Executive Committee.”

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All politics is local, and the framers of the APC Constitution, many of whom are still living, introduced the novel provisions, which I have reproduced above, in order to positively connect with the masters of the Party— the People, and offer them service right where they are. 

Besides, the APC Constitution does not permit the blight of “godfatherism” within its fold. And one way to stop this is to activate and strengthen the Polling Unit Committee (PUC) at each of the more than 150, 000, 000 Polling Units across the country. Then, the PUCs offer philanthropic service to the community, invest in economic-empowering activities, and thereby win the confidence and heart of the people. This trust, hopefully, could endear APC candidates for elections (local, state, or national) to the people. While other political parties wait for INEC-approved campaign periods to engage the Nigerian people, the APC, through the Polling Unit Committees across the country, is always engaging with the people. But our Party has cast off that which is good!

Suppose, on average, each PUC spends N1, 000, 000 a year investing in their community, that would be more than N150 billion worth of investment across the country! If half of this is invested, it would still be significant and impacting.

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I call on the leaders of the All Progressives Congress in Nigeria to return to the path of progressive development, and comply with our Party’s Constitution, and activate Polling Unit Committees at ALL Polling Units across the country. By the way, the APC states that Polling Unit Committees are “responsible for ensuring the success of the Party at all elections.” I would presume that APC leaders desire the electoral success of the Party. 

Is there not a cause?
Shilgba, PhD is Professor of Mathematics, Director of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance, Pioneer Ag Vice Chancellor/President, Admiralty University of Nigeria.

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APCequityfairnessINEC
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