Opinion: ADC, Kingsley Moghalu And Pat Utomi – By Simbo Olorunfemi

I am not one of those shocked at the loss by Mr Kingsley Moghalu at the ADC Presidential primaries. Not because I have always seen him as a Featherweight insisting on boxing in the Heavyweight category. Not that.

I had the hunch such could happen, having had the opportunity to watch a programme by the Party last week (I think). A manifesto night, I guess, by Presidential aspirants on the platform of the party. First thing that struck me was that this was definitely not one of the ‘struggling’ parties to have been able to pay for hours of live transmission on Channels TV. So I paid attention.

Whereas many had assumed Kingsley Moghalu as the big man of the party, with the presidential ticket of the party already tied with his shoe lace, only awaiting coronation, I found then that what was afoot did not quite have semblance with preparation for a coronation ceremony.

First, I found that there was a long list of aspirants. Some papers reported 12. Also, that they had paid as much as N25 million each to obtain forms. I was particularly struck by one of the aspirants, Chike Okongwu. Physically challenged, the wheel chair had nothing on him. I was struck by his confidence. I had to do a quick check on him.

Then, one of the aspirants, who happened to be one of the founders of the party. Here was a founder with no sense of entitlement to the ticket, as we are used to seeing with many of the one-man parties, where founders often automatically assume positions of Chairman and Presidential Candidate onto themselves. The founders were content building and managing the party. I concluded there and then this was not going to be a tea party for Mr Moghalu, if he ever thought it so.

When reports then filtered in from Abeokuta that Mr Moghalu had indeed lost, I was not shocked. What I find surprising though is the tag of ‘unknown name’ on Dumebi Kachikwu. Perhaps relatively less known in the political space and social media world than Moghalu, but the man has been around as well.

What I find strange though is the explanation of Moghalu’s loss to the alleged distribution of $100 to delegates by the winner. I do not have the details and cannot speak to it, but I have a feeling that cannot be the full picture, if it is a part of it in the first place.

Contrary to the assumption many have, ADC is not quite one of the regular briefcase parties. It has been around since 2005. In fact, Prof Pat Utomi was the Presidential Candidate of the party in 2007, coming fourth with about 50, 000 votes in the election. The party has been around. It once had representation in the House of Representatives, with 5 members. There is even said to be a connection between President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Party.

The ADC does not strike me as one of the cheap platforms, as it has been characterised, where desperate delegates would have sold off presidential ticket to an unknown, just because he dangled $100 before them, thus depriving Nigeria of the much-vaunted intellect or capability of our dear Mr Moghalu. In fact, I doubt that there was any party that placed as much premium on tabling what the aspirant had on offer as the ADC.

Of course, that is only one side of the coin. But a party which priced its form at N25 million and had as many as reported buying was definitely not one where someone would expect to stroll in on the strength of twitter feed or name recognition to pick the ticket. I think. This talk of scam and scammers. Well.

I will advise Mr Moghalu to dig in and help strengthen the structure of the party. Our emerging political elite are becoming more defined by their huge ego and Messiah Complex. As I have always argued, what is missing in the drive for disruption is the unwillingness on the part of many who mouth it to die to self and invest in building, without necessarily being the front man. Professor Utomi, a veteran Presidential aspirant, did the right and smart thing, yielding the floor to Mr Peter Obi for the 2023 dance. There are lessons in that gesture I believe Mr Moghalu might find useful. I think. Who knows what song tomorrow might sing us?

– Olorunfemi is a respected writer and author

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