The birth of the Reformed APC has set a problem for those interested in the clarity of language, especially the spoilt brat called the adjective. I say so, because this new incarnation will collide with the remainers in the party. After the wave or waves of exit from the APC as we have known it, the faithful to the old order will describe themselves with another adjective: real. They will be the real APC. They won’t need to prefix theirs, but they may feel the compulsion to distinguish themselves.
Purists of the language always warn writers and practitioners of the writing craft to beware of adjectives. They often denote the failure or inadequacy of the noun to express their thoughts or reality. With the imperatives to deploy the adjective to describe that APC is authentic – another adjective -, it is clear that the noun is in trouble. APC now stands more as a word than an acronym, just like GOP in the United States. So APC is, for sure, in trouble both in word and fact.
The bigger problem will be for the R-APC because it has no choice but to set itself apart by using the ‘R.’ But we cannot escape the contest of ‘Rs’ as the electorate tries to come to terms with what version or what group of the party represents their interest.
The APC that elides an ‘R’ will start with an advantage, because it is more familiar. Unless, as the speculations go, the R-APC is a stage in the metamorphosis of the disgruntled in the party. They may morph into another group or a coalition of groups.
If that happens, APC will wriggle free of the ‘R’ wrestling, and also say goodbye to any adjective to say who they are. The adjective could be very powerful, when excavated with the imagination. For instance, Poet Samuel Coleridge says “anticipation is more potent than surprise.” The word potent comes away fresh and unexpected. But we better remember his “water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.” No adjective. When Soyinka wrote the lines in one of his poems, he says, “You must set forth at dawn/I promise you marvels of the holy hour.”
The bard appropriates, in a seizure of genius ,’holy’ from the religious or sacerdotal order and brings it to the secular ritual of existence. But the APC folks may want to learn from John Keats when he wrote the famous first line: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” He had first written: “A thing of beauty is a constant joy.” His editor knew it needed redemption. Until after many toils and many days, they found the immortal lines by ejecting the adjective “constant.”
I am sure the R-APC knows it cannot remain so for long. Just as the nPDP blossomed into APC. But meanwhile, they will want to sell themselves as the authentic APC because they believe that the real APC is not the APC of their dreams but the reformed because the party has lost its way.
The Real APC will say they are the original and there is no point sullying the honey as it is tapped from the hive, however unclear and dirty it looks. There is no upending the original.
So, a Saraki, or more, really, an Eleyinmi, would say his Senate clipped a wayward presidency. A Kwakwanso will yell his role in birthing the party for Kano before a Ganduje and his fellow hunters drove him, out of ingratitude, out of town. But the R-APC is merely a megaphone today. Its backers seem dead from the neck up. Speculations are running riot, but Galadima, their stalwart, is the only one with a throat on the hilltop. But Galadima is not a gladiator, but the garment seems bigger than his puny frame. We want to hear the real voices of the R-APC. But their supporters urge patience. Party intrigue is about strategic daring, not an extravagance of claptrap threats and boasts.
What if they are going nowhere but want to throw the so-called real APC in a wrenching, gladiatorial wrestling-in-the-mud? They may not want any coalition. After all, that will mean they are being swallowed up, their idiosyncrasies lost in the mesh of the new alliance. Will they want to merge with the PDP, still wracked with discord and the flavour of big egos? The real contest is the search for who will overthrow Buhari and win the polls next year.
We have a list, but only a few have declared they belong to the R-APC, or are even ready to challenge Buhari, who is presumably the APC nominee next year. What they are is not R-APC but the shadow of the nPDP. That group of glorified renegades whittled Jonathan’s PDP with their exit and embraced the APC, strengthening its appeal and giving it moral heft.
But how reformed is the R-APC? Maybe the word disgruntled better captures their sentiment. Yet they were able to articulate their grievances. Pity none of the grievances really looked with insights some of the obvious failings and failures of the Buhari administration. They merely focused on patronage. Some offices they did not get, some contracts they did not corner, some egos that were left in the lurch of consultations.
It was about what they could get. It is a reflection of how low our politics has gone that a major political upheaval is about to take place not because of what the masses have failed to eat but what the politicians want to grab.
I had expected some rigour as they broke down where Buhari has erred. Rather than pork, they could have referred to contracts that created ripples and storms, especially with regards to the NNPC. Or about appointments, they could have looked with jaundiced wisdom at the ethnocentric charges. Or at the economic travails of the day. Or proffered solutions on security. They are party malcontents at the moment, until we see any party wheel horse abandon Buhari and pitch their tents with them.
They have tried of late to take advantage of the bungling of the herder crisis, but they have not come with a solution. There is not an ideological breakaway, the sort we see in the west with the birth of the Lib Dems or the revival of the Labour Party in Britain, or the rejigging of the Republican Party in the U.S. under the populism of Donald Trump.
Hence alliances are easy in Nigeria. You are not asked if you believe in their idea. They want to know if you clutch a talisman of victory.
They failed to call themselves nPDP but R-APC, showing that they have identity crisis. Should I stay or should I go? That’s the quandary. What face are we seeing? Is it the new, improved PDP or the reformed APC? The real one will be known in good time just as Odysseus returned home in disguise. He became known when he had almost killed all the suitors who wanted to take his wife when he was away. Will the disguise work for R-APC? Or will it look like Napoleon, who pulled off a spectacular escape from Mount Elba prison but was recaptured at Waterloo, humbled, impotent, detained till his death behind the windswept cliffs of St Helena, where he probably died of poison or neglect.
So, R-APC is still bugged down and boggled by its identity. We shall know in time if its adjective is a plague or blessing. But they should read Albert Camus’ novel, The Plague, where an epidemic disappears at the time a writer perfects a sentence by removing the adjectives.
So, let’s see whether the adjectives disappear or it will be a battle of the “Rs”.
Meanwhile, both APCs are entitled to their own adjectives.