Former Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has stated that any leader working to undermine the national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slated for February 26, 2022, should be sanctioned.

Lukman stated this in an open letter written to APC leaders, which was titled: ‘Politics of Change: APC on the Brink’, and was made available to journalists yesterday.

He noted that unlike in the buildup to the 2015 elections, where there was a relatively fair contest in APC which strengthened the confidence of Nigerians in APC’s commitment to change Nigerian politics, mismanagement of internal contests in APC was rampant prior to 2019 elections.

The APC chieftain stressed that unlike in the case of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whereby overbearing behaviour of the president was the source of the problem, it was imperial conduct of national leaders of APC, especially the national chairman, that was the challenge.

Lukman noted that over time, this has damaged the profile of the APC to the point whereby, based on the conduct of leaders and some elected representatives of the party, it was difficult to associate the APC with its founding vision of change.

He said: “Problems of intolerance, disagreements and criticisms, with some leaders expecting members to be blindly loyal are becoming a common attribute. Views of party leaders have become dominantly the decisions of party organs.

“Even when consultations take place and there is a clear decision, so long as the decisions are not what some few party leaders want, those decisions will not be implemented. It doesn’t matter whether President Muhammadu Buhari was part of the consultations, and in agreement with the decision. Propensity to disrespect decisions and party leaders, including the president, is very high today in APC.”

He said beyond the unbiased leadership of President Buhari, there was the need for all party leaders and members committed to the politics of change to ensure the emergence of party leaders at the national convention, who must be tolerant to criticisms and disagreements and should not expect members to be blindly loyal.

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The party chieftain added that if APC would return to its founding vision of driving the process of change in Nigeria, it must produce leaders who would be able to compel elected representatives produced by the party to be accountable to Nigerians.

Lukman stated: “The truth, however, is that our dear APC is being held captive by some few leaders whose interest is only about imposing themselves as candidates for elections. So long as that is the case, it means what we have as APC today wasn’t the party negotiated and produced out of our legacy parties.

“Any leader working to undermine the national convention should be sanctioned. Party members need to appeal to party leaders at all levels to return APC to its founding vision, which encourages internal debates and negotiations based on which agreements are reached and respected. APC, being a party of change, encourages members to be critical. A party of change must promote internal debates. Leaders of the party should not expect ‘anticipatory obedience’ from members and Nigerians.”

Lukman pointed out that every founding leader and member of the APC must rise to challenge and arrest the drift in the party.

He said few individual leaders of the party must not be allowed to continue to impose themselves and destroy a party with potential to provide the needed democratic platform for negotiated resolutions of all the problems of Nigeria.

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