The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Moh. Lukman has said some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC are joining forces with its main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, to zone its presidential ticket to the South in the coming general elections.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Lukman stated this yesterday, “APC and Struggle for New Nigeria”.
He accused the opposition party of over politicizing the security challenges the country is facing. He further lamented the decision of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The latter has aligned with the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to fight the APC-led federal government over collecting the Value Added Tax VAT rather than directly engaging the federal government.
He said, “Part of the challenges of excessive politicization is that it also threatens internal unity of APC members and leaders. For instance, extreme politicization in the country is influencing the decision of some APC leaders to push negotiations for the emergence of the party’s Presidential Candidate for 2023 elections outside the structures of the APC. This is now threatening the unity of the leaders of APC.
“Around the whole question of power shift, some leaders of the APC have gone outside the party’s structures to mobilize support for the party to zone its Presidential candidate for 2023 to the Southern Part of the country.
“In a problematic way, the loose partnership is contracted with a section of leaders from other opposition political parties, notably PDP.
“It is essential that all APC leaders are reminded that the campaign for power shift is about writing or respecting the rules of our party. This should be handled within the structures of the APC.
“It is belittling for APC leaders who are statutory members of all the relevant structures of the party that are competent to take a final decision on the matter to go outside the systems of the party and forge a partnership with PDP leaders to compel a conclusion, one way or the other, on the issue.
“It simply means a loss of confidence in the structures of the party, which in this matter couldn’t have been the case.
“It is therefore essential that a strong appeal is made to all APC leaders to develop more confidence to negotiate every matter, including the issue of power shift, within the structures of APC.
“The current trend, which appears to create divisions among APC leaders, must be halted. The question of unity among APC leaders is a fundamental precondition for continuing to win the support of Nigerians, which can guarantee any electoral victory.
“In fact, the confidence of PDP and their supporters is only stronger in campaigning against APC and President Buhari’s led Federal Government, using the false narrative of failure, because unity among the ranks of APC leaders and member is increasingly being broken. Even the reality of reactive and passive communication of APC led government initiatives is further becoming a dominant attribute because unity among APC leaders is getting weaker”.
The DG who also spoke on VAT said it is politically scandalous for an APC state to sue an APC-led federal government.
According to him, “All APC members must strongly appeal to all APC leaders to rebuild confidence and ensure that every issue that should be addressed within the structures of the party are treated so. Perhaps, also concerning the question of the unity of leaders within the party, all governments produced by the party should be able to strengthen internal relations.
“Internal consultative processes should be functionally made stronger such that disputes between governments are well managed, negotiated, and any possible agreement respected. The recent partnership between Lagos and Rivers States concerning the legal argument on Value Added Tax against the Federal Government is, to say the least, very disturbing.
“All party members and leaders should without prejudice to the grievances of Lagos State Government appeal to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to initiate processes of direct engagement with the Federal Government to resolve all issues.
“It is politically scandalous for APC state to sue APC Federal Government. Everything taken together – mobilizing for power shift outside APC and the legal case between Lagos State and Federal Government – require our leaders to be open to themselves. Beyond being open, APC leaders should have both discipline and respect for each other. Unity of leaders will be meaningless, if not impossible, without penalty and reference for one another.
“Leaders will be unable to unite party members and Nigerians if they don’t have the required discipline and respect for one another.
“It is not by accident that public debate in Nigeria is very offensive. Citizens treat each other with disrespect and easily abuse each other in unprintable languages.
“This may perhaps be the true reflection of the quality of relationships among leaders.
“The APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee need to take up the issue of uniting all APC leaders and ensure that relevant structures of the party are being used to facilitate negotiation on all emerging issues, including the question of power shift. All leaders of the party should be reminded that the fundamental issue of changing Nigeria will remain a dream so long as leaders fail to work for the development of the structures of the party.
“Building a party is beyond winning an election, important as it is. Building the party is specifically about ensuring that the structures of the party are competent and capable of facilitating negotiations among members and leaders on every issue.
“Every negotiation should produce an agreement that must be respected by every leader and member.
“For APC to achieve the goal of producing a new Nigeria, first thing first, it must be a party with a leadership that is united, disciplined, and respectful. The process of re-organizing the structures of APC must make the party functionally active in facilitating negotiations among leaders at all levels, and all agreements reached must be respected by all.
“It is the process of negotiation and implementing agreements reached, which should be respected by all that can produce a New Nigeria!
“At this point, it is also important to appeal to the APC Caretaker Committee to conclude the work being done to amend the constitution of the party. Strengthening processes of disciplinary hearings and enforcement of decisions should be prioritized. The capacity of the party to regulate the conduct of members and leaders should be strengthened”, he added.