As the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary this July 31st, a former acting National Chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta, says there are indeed, many reasons to roll out the drums at this time.
Etta, who is now chairs the Governing Council of the Institute for Progressive Affairs, an arm of the APC, spoke in Abuja at a press conference soon after he met with the current leadership of the party to discuss the anniversary programme. He was accompanied by the Deputy Chairman of the Council, Mr. Ali M. Ali.
Etta recalled the formation of APC in 2013 by like-minded progressives determined to change the trajectory of the nation’s politics.
He pointed out that the hardworking, determination and consistency of the pioneer members of the party paid off with it wresting power from an incumbent party withing two years, in 2015.
Since then, the APC has sustained and deepened the nation’s democracy ensuring smooth conduct of elections and transition of administration under its watch, he stated.
“It is a good time to celebrate”, said the former party boss stressed that APC was able to give Nigerians an alternative to a ruling party that had arrogantly declared its intention to rule Nigeria unchallenged for 60 years.
“The All Progressives Congress, APC was established on the 31st of July 2013. Exactly one week from today, we will be celebrating it in the political evolution process of the country.
“The party was established in 2013 and by 2015 we have done the unthinkable, we had opposition parties come together and ousted a behemoth of a political party that bestrode the political landscape for 16 years.
“And we have gone ahead to win back-to-back national elections in 2019 and 2023. We have also won several state elections”, he said.
Asked if the celebration should not be shelved in view of the current economic hardship and challenges facing Nigerians right now, the former party boss argued that whether it is celebrated in 20, 30 or 40 years times, there will always be challenges.
His words: “On the 31st of July 2033, we will still have challenges and if we postpone till 2043 when we are 40 years, Nigeria will still have challenges because we are a developing country and challenges will.
“We must celebrate and we will celebrate. We will not celebrate obscenely. Celebration may be a marketplace of ideas where we birth progressive ideas or reform our Progressives platform to be the best. I believe no matter how difficult things are, the progressive ideas in us can make us celebrate.
“This party was founded on Progressive ideas, I remember when we campaigned in 2014, and 2015, we campaigned based on ideas and we will not allow the ideas to die. We may have been disappointed on the way but we will keep to the Progressive ideas.”
He further stated that “there is no research to show whether Nigerians are against the APC or not, but we as politicians the best way to know is through elections because we are set up to win elections. And we just won a presidential election and I assure you, the presidential tribunal will uphold the election”.
While acknowledging the pains of Nigerians following the recent removal of petrol subsidy, Etta appealed to Nigerians to be patient with President Bola Tinubu, as he has the acumen to make the painful policies bear even greater economic fruits for the citizens.
According to him, “there is a consensus in Nigeria that the time had come for subsidy to be removed. I believe there is no section of the country that is against subsidy removal. The question is: What happens after the removal of the subsidy?
“This government is barely 54 days and, even though I will not run away from issues of serious economic dimensions across most homes in Nigeria, I think it is too early to pass a judgment on this government.
“It has removed subsidy but the forces of fiscal and monetary policies will bring everything to normalcy. I don’t believe the price of fuel will rise above what it is now. Even if it happens, I believe the time has come for the President and his team to bring solutions to the many economic problems tied to it for our wellbeing.”