Babajide BalogunTuesday, July 8, 2014
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Ibafo, Ogun State, Nigeria




ne important lesson for leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to learn from the governorship election in Ekiti State is that there is a very thin line between policy and politics.

Renowned political scientist, David Easton gave a very lucid definition of politics as, “the authoritative allocation of values in a society.”

Policy on the other hand is defined broadly as a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business or individual.

Whereas politics is the process through which political actors get into public office, policy is what political actors do when they get to public office.

Therefore, politics and policy are two sides of the same coin; and more often than not, there is a clash between politics and policy in the life of any administration. A politician might have his or her policy direction correctly, and still lose re-election if the politics is wobbly. This is the thesis that the Ekiti election provides.

That is why it is commendable that the APC leadership has initiated some peace moves and it is also good that the reconciliation committee in Ogun and Oyo State is headed by former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.

It is clear that the APC did not lose the election in Ekiti State on account of under-performance by the incumbent administration. What went wrong was the way the administration played its politics.

Atiku, with his vast network and political experience will do a lot to help reposition the APC and mend the cracking walls within the party.

His intervention to quell the impeachment plot against the Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, particularly shows that Atiku is a deft politician who knows where to make a fix whenever the political engine comes under overheat.

The two states in the Southwest where the APC engine is under a serious overheat are Oyo and Ogun State. In the case of Oyo State, speculation is rife that the two APC senators, Ayo Adeseun and Femi Lanlehin are already on their way out of the APC to join the PDP and Accord party respectively.

In Ogun, the no-love-lost relationship between Governor Ibikunle Amosu and former governor Olusegun Osoba is posing a huge threat to the unity and strength of the APC in the state.

Obviously Atiku has a huge job to do in these two states. It is difficult for a political party to win in a governorship election when senior members of the party in the state are not united.

In the Ekiti episode, whereas the APC got not less than two hundred and twenty registered members during the recently concluded membership registration exercise, that party ended up with a little more than one hundred and twenty votes in the governorship election is a clear indication that almost 50 per cent of party members boycotted the election.

The APC learnt a tough lesson from Ekiti, and it doesn’t have to wait for too long before it mends the faults in its own house.

But it must be known to leaders of the party that a major component of allowing reconciliation in the party is giving room for internal democracy in the party.

The idea that state governors are automatic leaders of the party is an idea borrowed from the PDP and it is an idea that stifles the principle of internal democracy in a political party system.

Atiku is a strong advocate of internal democracy and he has also been a victim of arbitrariness in a party system. He knows where the shoe pinches.