- BY SEGUN TOMORI
As the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) brace up for its proposed National Convention in June, permutations and consultations are already on-going across the country. Considering the crisis that engulfed the party early 2020 and inadvertently led to the dissolution of the former National Working Committee (NWC), the need to have someone at the helm who is a unifier, a pacifier and a renowned administrator that is level-headed cannot be overemphasised. No wonder a name is ringing bells, and featuring prominently in the projections of party leaders – Sen. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
Sen. Al-Makura, a serving Senator representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District, is also a former two-term Governor of the North-Central State. Not many know that Al-Makura has been involved in politics from his youth, in the hey days of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic. In 1980, he became the Youth Leader of the defunct NPN in the old Plateau State and was elected member of the Constituent Assembly representing Lafia-Obi Federal Constituency of what is now Nasarawa State (1988-1989). His political trajectory continued into the ill-fated Third Republic where he emerged the Plateau State Secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC) from 1990 to 1992.
At the advent of democracy in 1999, Al-Makura was a foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but later left to join forces with President Muhammadu Buhari and other progressives to form the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). His political dexterity and mass appeal came to light in 2011, when he defeated the incumbent PDP Governor to emerge the Governor of Nasarawa State where he served meritoriously for two terms. It will be recalled that Nasarawa State as the only CPC-controlled State provided the platform for CPC to negotiate its merger with ACN and ANPP to form the broad-based APC.
Since the emergence of the APC, the party has produced Chairmen from ACN and ANPP blocs respectively, the odd one out is the CPC bloc. Former Chairmen Chief Bisi Akande and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole belong to the ACN bloc, while Chief John Oyegun and current interim chair, Mai Mala Buni emerged from the ANPP bloc. With the seeming consensus that power will return to the South in 2023, and with ACN holding the ace in that region, major stakeholders are now looking in the direction of the CPC bloc to produce the next National Chairman. That is where Sen. Umaru Al-Makura comes in.
Sen. Al-Makura comes into the race as an experienced party administrator, a successful businessman and a suave Politician who can unite the diverse interests in the APC. With the fissures in the APC becoming more pronounced after the dissolution of the defunct NWC, a man like Al-Makura endowed with a calm temperament, imbued with diplomatic niceties and renowned for his experience as a performer and a bridge-builder, holds the ace.
The National convention scheduled for June will just leave the new Chairman with barely a year before electioneering activities for the 2023 General Elections kick off. Within that one year, APC must solidify its ideological base, galvanise the major blocs of the party for its common purpose and entrench justice and fair play - with focus on a reward system in the party. Sen. Al-Makura has been identified as “the square peg, in the square hole” to lead that charge, and more. With him, the task of repositioning and reforming the governing party becomes a joint task!
Segun Tomori is an APC stakeholder and political analyst based in Abuja.NaijaBlog.ng