Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has defended the internal operational mechanism of his ruling All Progressives Congress APC, saying contrary to certain opinions, the APC is ‘radically different’ from the country’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
In a statement titled, ‘Seductiveness of Conventional Politics and the Challenges facing APC’ which he dedicated to Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, a founding member of the APC and one of its Presidential Aspirants in 2014, Lukman also urged the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC to concentrate on rebuilding the party rather than its current resort to issuing dry press statements against a fumbling PDP.
He conceded that after the 2015 elections, leadership disagreements within the APC became the source of electoral strength for the PDP and other opposition parties.
According to him, most of the electoral defeats experienced by APC since 2015 was on account of its inability to develop and strengthen processes of consensus-building within the party, including issues of candidates’ selection.
“It is clear that the return to the conventional approach to politics in APC commenced during the merger negotiations of 2013 and got consolidated with the electoral victory of 2015. Unlike what happened in PDP between 1999 and 2007 however, the dynamic in APC didn’t allow any power bloc to monopolise the control of the party.
“It is very easy to dismiss the APC as being the same as the PDP. In truth, however, the APC is radically different from the PDP. For instance, while the PDP leadership is still in denial that there are challenges facing the party requiring internal reforms, the APC leadership since 2018 in fact recognised the need for reforms. It was the recognition for reforms that led to the decision to change the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun leadership, which brought in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s leadership. Unlike in the PDP, there was internal debate about whether to change Chief Oyegun’s leadership or not.
Instead of the conventional approach of forcing Chief Oyegun to resign, which is the practice in PDP, Chief Oyegun’s leadership was democratically changed at a National Convention”, Lukman stated.
He said there is a need to take every step necessary to ensure that the reforms going on in APC strengthen internal democracy within the party.
“This will require that all activities of membership registration/revalidation, congresses, and national convention are carefully planned. To achieve this will require that members of His Excellency Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee are taking the necessary steps to strengthen the capacity of the APC National Secretariat to implement all decisions.
“This is largely about taking responsibility and communicating decisions to party members and the public. Although considerable progress has been achieved, it is important to appeal for more consultations, coordination, and better communications of initiatives and all the internal reforms process.
“Poor consultations, coordination, and communication make party members be contemptuous of every decision taken, which strengthens the confidence of those opposed to internal party reforms.
“The solution to all these lies in the ability of the 13-member Caretaker Committee to work harmoniously with the required professional competence. The Secretary of the Caretaker Committee should be able to facilitate the process of planning and one of the 13 members should be able to lead the process of members’ and public mobilisation.
“Therefore, instead of some of the dry press releases throwing banters at PDP leaders who are struggling to bounce back to pollical reckoning, the messages from the Caretaker Committee and the party should be about rebuilding the party”, Lukman counseled.
On the decision of the party leadership to commence membership registration and revalidation by next month, the PGF boss the action had become necessary to allow for the recruitment of new members and at the same time revalidate old members “so as to resolve any possible contention about who has left the party or not from the old register”.