The Director General of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman, has called on party committed party members and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rally behind President Muhammadu Buhari in support of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for Thursday in order to reset APC back to its 2013 orientation of inclusive and participatory politics.
A factional acting national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Giadom, had announced that with the support of the President the NEC meeting of the party would hold Thursday.
However, Lukman in a statement issued Wednesday described the crisis rocking the ruling party for the last few months as show of ‘indignity’, adding that some drastic steps are required to restore some order and sanity in APC.
According to him, “With all the confusion as to who is our presiding officer, coupled with the fact that the most important structure that is saddled with the responsibility of convening meetings of all organs of the party is fractured and entangled in webs of legal cases, it is either the confusion is allowed to continue and eventual end with the demise of the party, or our leaders find a way to save the party.”
Lukman said given such a situation, one would expect party leaders to be united in saving the situation.
He stressed that to demonstrate the irony of the kind of leaderless situation party members found themselves, they are being told that the constitution disqualifies a Deputy National Chairman from acting as National Chairman with reference to the section of the country he comes from.
The DG noted that while the party’s constitution continues to gather dust somewhere in the archive of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), courts and judges continue to entertain themselves with cases requiring all manner of judicial pronouncements.
He said with the approval of President Buhari, a meeting NEC has been called, while asking if the so-called leaders acting as blacklegs would undermine the moral authority of the President as the leader of the party.
The DG also said a national newspaper owned by one of the leaders of the party has dismissed a meeting held by the President with the governors of the party as ‘Anti-Oshiomhole governors submit position to Buhari’.
Lukman queried, “Is this headline a reflection of the position of the leader? Is the message underlining this headline going to serve as the basis of opposition against the initiative by the President the ensure that a NEC meeting hold? With the way the President’s name is presented using just his first name, isn’t that already indicative of some measure of rebellion?
“All committed party members and leaders should rally behind President Buhari in support of the scheduled NEC to hold so that we are able to reset the APC back to its 2013 orientation of inclusive and participatory politics. To achieve that, the public debate should be about proposals to ensure that the NEC succeed rather than attempting to throw up legal blockades!”
While lamenting the current situation in the party, Lukman said: “Today, even something as basic as who is the presiding officer of the APC is in courts to the extent that we lost count of the number of cases involving more litigants, far more than the number of party members that aspired for the position at our last National Convention. To demonstrate the irony of the kind of leaderless situation we found ourselves or we impose on ourselves, we are being told that our constitution disqualifies a Deputy National Chairman from acting as National Chairman with reference to the section of the country he comes from. Yet, we call ourselves progressives. No need to look for anybody who is a reactionary with some of progressive leaders we have in APC. Our leaders have degenerated to pseudo-ethnic champions. Are we heading for a merger with Arewa, Afeniferi, Biafra and all the known ethnic groups?
“It is such a mess that almost every passing day, we just keep descending lower and lower. Not only that members get more and more frustrated, but also that Nigerians become more and more disappointed and some of our leaders with mandate to govern the country are daily being distracted. Instead of facing the business of government and strengthening the capacity of APC governments at federal and states levels to deliver on their campaign promises, it is a case of leadership conflicts all over the place.
“Rather than have party leadership making efforts to resolve these conflicts, they become the major disputants and litigants. If the dispute turns out to be between these party leaders and elected functionaries of government, once the circle of election come, these functionaries should be ready to be thrown out no matter their records in government. Professors and all manner of clownish supporters will be recruited to defend and present actions of these party leaders as decisions of party structures and therefore reflective of the supremacy of the party.
“With the NEC meeting scheduled to hold in less than 48 hours, if it is reflective of rebellion, both the Newspaper, the television station owned by the leader and all his support base may be activated to attempt to block the NEC meeting, including boycotting the NEC. How could such a strategy help the leader? Without any debate, this is one leader that certainly enjoy high measure of respect across the party and is perhaps a leading contender to succeed President Buhari. If such a leader, work for or tolerated his media companies and supporters to inadvertently work for the demise of the party, how does that serve him? Could it be that he has decided to work against any possibility of succeeding President Buhari?
“Be that as it may, how will leaders or blacklegs relate with the NEC and the decisions it will take? Will they seek to take advantage of the NEC to reset the process of party building back to the point whereby it become possible for meetings of party organs to hold and through those meetings seek to resolve all our internal problems, including reconciling all our leaders and repositioning it for undisputed electoral victories? The days ahead will confirm whether we have party leaders or blacklegs.”