By Dada Olusegun
In 2013, the All Progressives Congress rose like a phoenix from the ashes of three legacy political parties each of which subscribe to a progressive brand of politics and ideology. The new party that emerged offered Nigerians a pathway to people-centered progressivism. Millions of Nigerians came on board the APC train and in 2015 unseat the PDP from power.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a highly principled socialist mounted the saddle of leadership, inheriting a country almost in comatose with insecurity, a crumbling economy and pervasive grand corruption. With an empty treasury and poor revenue due to low crude oil prices, the chances of a magical turn around in Nigeria’s economic and national security reality was slim.
The opposition and their many allies, still shocked and bitter about the ouster of their favorite party from power descended on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari with uncommon venom, spewing fake news after fake news and normalising propaganda against the APC-led federal government.
Fortunately, the APC had in its fold a mass of fiercely patriotic followers who took to the social media to wage an epic war against every form of propaganda and fake news against the government of Buhari. We were so effective that the opposition baptised us and named us BMC (Buhari Media Centre) and even allocated an imaginary 30k monthly salary to us but we wore the label with pride.
The opposition could not fathom how we could sacrifice time, energy and resources to defend the government against their propaganda without any financial motivation. They simply lacked one crucial ingredient that we had in abundance – patriotism! We moved like a united family. We showed our undying devotion to Nigeria and did our best to help the government succeed. When we criticised the government, it was from a place of patriotic objectivism.
Fast forward to this moment and it appears there is a huge crack in the foundation of unity upon which the progressive fold had blossomed and thrived. For some reasons bothering on affiliation to different blocs within the APC, progressive brethren in recent times have been engaged in a cold war which is fast simmering into open hostilities between people who were brothers and sisters in arms in defence of the progressive agenda.
Issues of governance are usually the trigger for these intra-progressive confrontations which take the form of pro-Buhari versus Pro-Tinubu. Some individuals from both sides seem to have created an imaginary competition between former President Muhammadu Buhari and his friend and successor, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Policies, actions or mistakes of President Bola Tinubu are immediately placed on a comparative table with those of the Buhari administration.
It is on this note that I want to passionately appeal to everyone on the progressive side to take a moment and reflect on the journey we embarked upon together in 2015, reinforced in 2019 and which we are set to consolidate in 2023 and beyond. Let us recall the battles we have fought together for Nigeria against forces that would rather see this country disintegrate. Let us retrace our steps back to that motivating factor that made us become progressives in the first place.
The administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is just over five months old and still consolidating on the foundation that President Muhammadu Buhari erected. Certain policy changes may be made, policy reversals may even occur, however it is necessary to point out that these are not in any an indictment of any sort on the previous administration. It is simply the natural flexibility that comes with governance.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has always acknowledged that he inherited the assets and liabilities of his predecessor. He also stated that he is bound to make mistakes but will listen to the people and make swift corrections where necessary. It is therefore necessary to appeal to the progressive family regardless of any intra-party affiliation to close ranks and stop viewing policies and actions of the Tinubu administration from the prism of a Buhari vs Tinubu duel. There is no rivalry.
The task of delivering a Renewed Hope to Nigerians is one that requires all patriots especially the progressive patriots to move in unison. Any remnant of bad blood existing between different progressive blocs should be filtered out. It is time for all progressives to rally round the President as he meticulously undertakes this complex task of creating a country that delivers shared prosperity to all its citizens.
Let’s make a firm commitment going forward to reawaken that fire that yearns for a great Nigeria. Dear progressives, this is the moment to take a deep breath of patriotism and reconnect. The cold war must end. Love and tolerance must take center stage!