Oye, APGA and Nigeria at sixty ~ By Collins Opurozor
Nigeria is now sixty years as an independent nation. But, unarguably, debates about the country’s nationhood still rage on. For many, we cannot but see ourselves as members of various communal and tribal groups who only for international delineation call ourselves Nigerians. For them still, if the concept of patriotism really exists, it is primarily, or even solely, to the primordial groups, and allegiance to any supra-ethnic formation known as Nigeria is only an illusion.
With the drumbeats of secession and vociferous calls for ethnic security outfits, the centrifugal forces in Nigeria seem very strong. Deliberate efforts are made to amplify Nigeria’s fault lines, and indeed use those fault lines as point of departure in arguing for the unworkability of Nigeria. The public sphere is now people
There is further a dwindling of hope among most Nigerians, a sapping of confidence and a nagging fear that the development expectations of an independent Nigeria have been betrayed by the political leaders.
One interesting thing, nonetheless, is that the political space in Nigeria is getting redefined by some emerging political actors who embody the passion for a united and progressive Nigeria. They are detribalized, represent integrity at its peak, believe in the prospects which a functional and renascent Nigeria holds for all of its citizens, irrespective of tribe, tongue, creed and station in life. Leading this category is the National Chairman the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ozonkpu Dr. Victor Ike Oye.
Leafing through the feats recorded by APGA in the last five years, one is left with a strong conviction that a new Nigeria is possible. One is also refreshingly left with a conclusion that with visionary and accountable leadership, the agonies and woes of the country would be dumped permanently in the museum of history.
APGA under Dr. Oye has become the flagship political party for national unity in Nigeria. A party he met in power just in Anambra State, Dr. Oye has mobilized Nigerians across ethnic lines to share the notion that APGA’s mantra of “being your brother’s keeper” is far from connoting sectionalism, and that it is, rather, a charge to all Nigerians to see and treat one another as brothers and sisters.
In this way, APGA has begun to record resounding victories in every part of the country, especially in the North where the party had hitherto been perceived solely as a political offshoot of the Igbo ideology. This is one way political parties can foster national unity and strengthen the centripetal forces that hold Nigeria together.
In his Independence Day message to Nigerians, Dr. Oye acknowledged that, “Our dear nation is in dire straits – grappling with numerous challenges, ranging from dwindling economic fortunes occasioned by fluttering global oil prices to biting inflation, unemployment, insecurity and corruption.
“What hope then does the occasion hold for Nigerians?
“This is where we need to rekindle hope in Nigeria and not bow to the pressure of life and the devious machinations of some disgruntled persons to put a cog in the wheel of progress.
“We must think out of the box and continue to work for the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.
“The level of suffering and frustration among Nigeria is palpable and tasks the capacity and determination of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to restore hope, law and order.
“Having gone through the synopsis of the working documents of the Steering Committee for the production of the Mid Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025 and the Nigeria Agenda 2050, there is a flicker of hope for Nigeria. Nigerians, particularly teeming members of our great party, APGA, should not be fazed by the many problems troubling our nation at present.
“Instead they should continue to trust in God, believe in one another, and eschew acts capable of truncating our fledgling democracy and destroying the few gains recorded over the years. There is no doubt that there is light at the end of the tunnel. For this reason, we should not lose hope.”
It is this hope in brighter days ahead for all Nigerians that animates Oye’s passion for excellence and exemplary leadership. It it his faith in the progress of Nigeria that has underscored his commitment to refined, reformed and redefined politics, which is a tool for national development. Nigeria will certainly exceed expectations and reemerge as the undisputed Giant of Africa when more and more leaders who ardently share the vision of Dr. Oye begin to take a center stage in the public sphere.