By Emmanuel Aziken
When the All Progressives Congress, APC adopted the broom as its symbol in 2013, it was seen as a sign of the party’s determination to sweep away the rot that had over time stifled the country’s development.
The enthusiasm with which Nigerians craved for cleansing was seen in the way brooms suddenly became a hot commodity anywhere the party had a rally.
When the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP held a rally in a town, it became the fashion for APC stalwarts to sweep the streets of the town the following day as a practical demonstration of sweeping away the perceived evils of that party.
Party leaders including Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Bukola Saraki, Rabiu Kwankwanso, Tom Ikimi among others who probably had not held a broom for years suddenly started wielding brooms in public to demonstrate their antipathy for the PDP.
After the party came to government, the sight of party stalwarts sweeping the streets, however, became a little bit out of style.
Even more, the party’s slogan of change has also become a sort of confusion for party apparatchiks. Indeed, at the party’s national convention last June, what to do with the slogan “change” turned into an embarrassment.
Before it came to power, it was the fashion for party faithful to respond with the chorus of change to the denunciations of corruption, bad governance and other ills as supposedly spread by the PDP.
At the APC convention last June, as the Masters of Ceremony shouted APC, the response of Change raised some inconvenience among some of the conventioneers. The puzzle for some was what and who were to be changed? As the government in power for the last three years, the APC it was thought should not be propagating change again. “Are we to change ourselves,” some officials may have asked themselves.
It was at that point that one clever party official climbed to the rostrum and said that instead of “Change” that those present at the convention ground should shout “Progress.” Indeed, the announcement caused some newspapers to immediately report that the party had officially changed its slogan as encapsulated in Article 4 of the party’s constitution.
Whatever progress, the official meant, it actually did not rub off well among some of the conventioneers. Indeed, the APC was to show that perhaps even more than the PDP, that it had made more progress in political schism when it entered the convention with the party split in more than 20 of its 36 state chapters.
Perhaps it was the realisation of lack of real change that made another official at the convention to announce that the party had not officially changed its slogan and that the slogan of Change should continue!
In fact, the aptness of retaining change as a slogan was demonstrated there on the convention ground when factions from some states, notably Delta and Imo States, fought among themselves over sitting positions among other issues.
The embarrassment at the national convention about the slogan arose from the fact that the party had not had a prior occasion since it came to power to hold a national convention when the issue of the slogan would have been addressed. Even the June convention happened unexpectedly given the multiple crises that preceded it.
Indeed, since the convention no word has been mentioned about changing the slogan of the party from “Change” to “Progress” as was feebly mooted at that time.
If anything, some of those who had been calling for real change have forcibly enforced it by changing party affiliation. Among them are Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governors Aminu Tambuwal, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Samuel Ortom among others.
The APC came to power promising to change the narrative of impunity, corruption, insecurity among other vices that 16 years of PDP administration foisted on the country. That promise was conveyed by the readiness with which the leaders wielded the broom as a symbol of their readiness to sweep away the rot.
However, as the developments in Benue, the siege to the homes of the Senate’s presiding officers, among other power flexing attitudes show, the broom may have been changed for the baton. No wonder the likes of Tambuwal, Kwankwanso, Saraki, Ortom have now burnt their brooms!