The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) youth wing has disclosed the rationale for the creation of the “Jagaban army” in support of Bola Tinubu, the party’s presidential candidate.
Thisweekng has learned that over the weekend, social media erupted as Dayo Israel, the APC’s national youth leader, officially launched a political organization named the “Jagaban Army.”
He claims that the Jagaban Army is a group of young people who will organize and cast the necessary ballots for Bola Tinubu in the upcoming election.
However, the army’s introduction was met with criticism and widespread condemnation, with some online commenters claiming that the creation resembles the Tinubu campaign’s military force.
The APC National Youth Leader responded to the incident in a series of tweets on Monday, saying that the Jagaban army is a democratic, nonviolent organization of grassroots campaigners for Tinubu/Shettima and the ruling party.
According to him, the word “Army” in the name has nothing to do with the armed forces or the paramilitary, and the branding was inspired by the “public perception of political canvassers as foot soldiers.”
Israel said the unit was ready to work with others “preaching the message of Asiwaju and winning new converts for the party through peaceful and strategic engagement”.
He wrote: “The Office of the APC National Youth Leader wishes to restate the following for the sake of clarification and to clear all Ignorance that the Jagaban’s Army is a sub-directorate of the recently-inaugurated APC National Youth Wing Campaign Council. Its branding as an ‘army’ was informed by the popular regard of political canvassers as ‘foot soldiers’.
“Nevertheless, it is a peaceful and democratic organization of young canvassers whose task is to facilitate support and ensure the poll success of the APC in the General Elections, beginning with the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima.
“That the branding of a vote mobilization unit as an ‘army’ is neither an anomaly in democratic politics nor a deviation from democratic norms.
“Naysayers spreading malicious interpretations — including sensational claims of a ‘violent militia’ — are referred to President Barack Obama’s 2008 branding of his local organizers and campaigners as his ‘peacetime army’.
“Just as it would be ridiculous to accuse America’s 44th President of attempting to topple the country’s democracy at the time, similar insinuations about the Jagaban’s Army are to be viewed in the same light.
“That just like Obama’s Army, the Jagaban’s Army is a rebirth of participatory democracy, infused by the energy of millions of Nigerian youths at home and in the diaspora.
“The ceremonial outfit worn by the leadership of the ‘Army’ at its inauguration bears no semblance to that of the armed forces nor does it purport to be representative of it. It’s no different to those adorned by civil & church societies, particularly those tasked with evangelizing.
“That it is an ‘army’ to the extent that it is a body of persons organized to advance a cause, in this case the peaceful and democratic cause of preaching the achievements and goodwill of the APC and her candidates to bring about electoral victory.
“That the operations of the Jagaban’s Army are fully democratic and centered around well-established democratic persuasion methods in every electoral campaign season.
“This fact is evidenced by the design and deployment of the Canvassers’ Record Sheet, a key tool of the ‘foot soldiers’ meant to aid data collection and test message effectiveness.
“That the ‘army’ remains focused on its goal & welcomes the enthusiasm and dedication of members and affiliates of the party who are already hard at work, preaching the Renewed Hope message of Asiwaju and winning new converts for the party through peaceful and strategic engagement.”