Alwan Hassan, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State, was a member of the Presidential Campaign Committee of the party in 2019. The public policy analyst who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Greycube Dynamics and Alsad Integrated Resources, in this interview with ‘Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor, warns the leadership of the ruling party to change its ways of doing things or face dire consequences. He also spoke on a number of other issues. Excerpt.
The federal government and the organised labour were able to agree and prevent a strike action. What’s your take on the threat of strike, the issues behind it and the agreements reached by government and labour?

As long as we have a country to run, whichever government that is in place will always have to find a way to manage the expectations and demands of the workers in relation to the policy directives of the government. The issues behind the recently averted strike, for instance, is a matter of economic policy restructuring, which I think the stakeholders in the labour unions felt they were not adequately carried along during the process leading to that decision. Of course, like the rest of us, the leadership of the labour unions, are also Nigerians who are quite familiar with the arguments put forward by the government.

And that is why I’m happy that the complaint of labour was not about the decision the government has taken per se, but the issue was about not being carried along. In any case, the agreement between government and labour to temporarily suspend the implementation of the new tariff would afford both parties the opportunity to look at the implications of the new charges, the measures being proposed by the government towards cushioning effects, among other details.

APC lost the Edo gubernatorial election. Many people have said the party failed to get its act together going into that election and lost expectedly. Do you share this view?

After the results of the Edo election, which was lost by our party due to the internal wrangling, I gathered my thoughts and tweeted the following: “Clearly, we need a new way of doing things. Clearly, the young people of our party are unhappy with yesterday’s loss, which was precipitated by the old way of doing things. Now, we need solutions! 2023 is a heartbeat away!” These thoughts came to the fore after experiencing a whirlwind of emotions that stemmed from the backlog of work put into not only the Edo election, but also the creation of the vibrant youth base of the APC.

Since its formation, many of us have supported and sacrificed for the APC. This is because we believed, and still believe, that it is currently the most viable vehicle for change in Nigeria. However, after Edo, it is clear that this child that we helped to birth, nurture and push into power needs to correct course before it completely veers off track and brings to naught everything that millions of its young supporters believe in. The first thing that comes to mind is our dysfunctional party system, which hurts many and benefits a selected few while allowing for factionalisation and permitting the indiscriminate suspension of members.

This is the system that allowed a Ward Chairman to suspend the National Chairman of the party easily and without due process. One wrong was done, another was allowed to follow, and Edo became a culmination of that spiral effect. Our party’s loss in that election is a clear indication that things, if left unchecked, will continue to precipitate out of control. To check this, the APC must stop being a party of arbitrary antics. The processes that govern everything, from the pre-primary activities, to the candidate selection and disqualification process must be revamped. Otherwise, we risk alienating those that have a good chance of winning on our party’s platform, but may experience internal opposition from some strongmen in our fold.

How exactly do you want the party to revamp the process?

We must institute and institutionalise a reward and discipline system that ensures that no one is seen to be above the party. Those who perpetuate personal vendettas, using the instrument of the party, need to be called to order and sanctioned publicly. This will help to set precedence, as well as send a message to other potential detractors that this is not a party that tolerates the nonsense that has been seen in the past in other political parties. This is why, as we move forward, as the young people of the party, we must begin to push for internal reforms. We must begin to ask that a party registry is established months before any primaries. This will ensure that those that are eligible to vote in our internal primaries are those that actually vote, instead of mercenaries who do not have our party’s best interests at heart.

Again, if we are to continue this journey for good governance on this platform, we must do things differently, and this must come with the urgency of now. As I said in my tweet, 2023 is only a heartbeat away. This is why our internal reform must be embarked on expeditiously and without fear or favour. Moving forward, all that I ask is for the young supporters of the party to come together and bring its influence to bear on the National Caretaker Committee to ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken. Additionally, I plead with our leaders to not continue to take our support for granted. We want change. We want a system that works. Most importantly, we are ready to work with all of you that truly believe that this is the best approach to strengthening our party ahead of the next general election.

Do you think it will be easy for the ruling party to really get its acts together before the 2023 elections, given how troubled the APC appears to be currently?

I admit it will not be easy. However, which process that is worth fighting for, ever is? In a democracy where various opinions exist, there will always be a conflict. However, the most important thing that we need to do moving forward, especially with the Caretaker Committee, is to ensure that these internal conflicts are properly managed so that consensus can be formed, and we can move forward as a united front going into Ondo and all subsequent elections.

Nigeria at 60: would you say we have fared well? Looking back at the efforts of our founding fathers, where exactly do you think we got it wrong? How can we remedy the situation?

Nation building is a work in progress. Can Nigeria achieve more than it has done? Yes. Have we made progress in the last six decades? Again, the answer is yes. But for a big and extremely diverse country like ours, one of the key factors to consider in measuring the progress we have made so far would probably be our success in keeping this country together for this long. In terms of physical development and economic growth, the jury would always be out on how well we have fared in that regard, considering those are never ending pursuits.

Of course, talking about where we got it wrong would lead to pointing accusing fingers at those who did or failed to do some certain things right, which is not what I’m happy to do. Whatever failings we think our founding fathers may have had, the reality is that they have bequeathed to us a country, no matter how unsuitable we think it is. The challenge is now for us to make it greater and better, which brings me to the question of leadership. The best way to remedy the challenge of developing this nation into a geographical space we all can be proud of is to ensure we answer the question of leadership recruitment as best as we can.

As long as we have a country to run, whichever government that is in place will always have to find a way to manage the expectations and demands of the workers in relation to the policy directives of the government. The issues behind the recently averted strike, for instance, is a matter of economic policy restructuring, which I think the stakeholders in the labour unions felt they were not adequately carried along during the process leading to that decision. Of course, like the rest of us, the leadership of the labour unions, are also Nigerians who are quite familiar with the arguments put forward by the government.

And that is why I’m happy that the complaint of labour was not about the decision the government has taken per se, but the issue was about not being carried along. In any case, the agreement between government and labour to temporarily suspend the implementation of the new tariff would afford both parties the opportunity to look at the implications of the new charges, the measures being proposed by the government towards cushioning effects, among other details.

APC lost the Edo gubernatorial election. Many people have said the party failed to get its act together going into that election and lost expectedly. Do you share this view?

After the results of the Edo election, which was lost by our party due to the internal wrangling, I gathered my thoughts and tweeted the following: “Clearly, we need a new way of doing things. Clearly, the young people of our party are unhappy with yesterday’s loss, which was precipitated by the old way of doing things. Now, we need solutions! 2023 is a heartbeat away!” These thoughts came to the fore after experiencing a whirlwind of emotions that stemmed from the backlog of work put into not only the Edo election, but also the creation of the vibrant youth base of the APC.

Since its formation, many of us have supported and sacrificed for the APC. This is because we believed, and still believe, that it is currently the most viable vehicle for change in Nigeria. However, after Edo, it is clear that this child that we helped to birth, nurture and push into power needs to correct course before it completely veers off track and brings to naught everything that millions of its young supporters believe in. The first thing that comes to mind is our dysfunctional party system, which hurts many and benefits a selected few while allowing for factionalisation and permitting the indiscriminate suspension of members.

This is the system that allowed a Ward Chairman to suspend the National Chairman of the party easily and without due process. One wrong was done, another was allowed to follow, and Edo became a culmination of that spiral effect. Our party’s loss in that election is a clear indication that things, if left unchecked, will continue to precipitate out of control. To check this, the APC must stop being a party of arbitrary antics. The processes that govern everything, from the pre-primary activities, to the candidate selection and disqualification process must be revamped. Otherwise, we risk alienating those that have a good chance of winning on our party’s platform, but may experience internal opposition from some strongmen in our fold.

How exactly do you want the party to revamp the process?

We must institute and institutionalise a reward and discipline system that ensures that no one is seen to be above the party. Those who perpetuate personal vendettas, using the instrument of the party, need to be called to order and sanctioned publicly. This will help to set precedence, as well as send a message to other potential detractors that this is not a party that tolerates the nonsense that has been seen in the past in other political parties. This is why, as we move forward, as the young people of the party, we must begin to push for internal reforms. We must begin to ask that a party registry is established months before any primaries. This will ensure that those that are eligible to vote in our internal primaries are those that actually vote, instead of mercenaries who do not have our party’s best interests at heart.

Again, if we are to continue this journey for good governance on this platform, we must do things differently, and this must come with the urgency of now. As I said in my tweet, 2023 is only a heartbeat away. This is why our internal reform must be embarked on expeditiously and without fear or favour. Moving forward, all that I ask is for the young supporters of the party to come together and bring its influence to bear on the National Caretaker Committee to ensure that necessary reforms are undertaken. Additionally, I plead with our leaders to not continue to take our support for granted. We want change. We want a system that works. Most importantly, we are ready to work with all of you that truly believe that this is the best approach to strengthening our party ahead of the next general election.

Do you think it will be easy for the ruling party to really get its acts together before the 2023 elections, given how troubled the APC appears to be currently?

I admit it will not be easy. However, which process that is worth fighting for, ever is? In a democracy where various opinions exist, there will always be a conflict. However, the most important thing that we need to do moving forward, especially with the Caretaker Committee, is to ensure that these internal conflicts are properly managed so that consensus can be formed, and we can move forward as a united front going into Ondo and all subsequent elections.

Nigeria at 60: would you say we have fared well? Looking back at the efforts of our founding fathers, where exactly do you think we got it wrong? How can we remedy the situation?

Nation building is a work in progress. Can Nigeria achieve more than it has done? Yes. Have we made progress in the last six decades? Again, the answer is yes. But for a big and extremely diverse country like ours, one of the key factors to consider in measuring the progress we have made so far would probably be our success in keeping this country together for this long. In terms of physical development and economic growth, the jury would always be out on how well we have fared in that regard, considering those are never ending pursuits.

Of course, talking about where we got it wrong would lead to pointing accusing fingers at those who did or failed to do some certain things right, which is not what I’m happy to do. Whatever failings we think our founding fathers may have had, the reality is that they have bequeathed to us a country, no matter how unsuitable we think it is. The challenge is now for us to make it greater and better, which brings me to the question of leadership. The best way to remedy the challenge of developing this nation into a geographical space we all can be proud of is to ensure we answer the question of leadership recruitment as best as we can.

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