The Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum- the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has admitted that contrary to expectations, successive National Working Committees (NWC) of the party since 2015 lacked the capacity to give policy directives to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Lukman in a statement on Sunday titled, “Seductiveness of Conventional Politics and the Challenges facing APC,” attributed the predicament of the party’s leadership to the tendencies of certain power blocks within the party to bypass the party national secretariat to seek appointments for their cronies in government which he said “undermined the capacity of the party to be able to exercise strong influence in many of the decisions of President Buhari’s administration both during his first term and now, in this his second term.”
The DG further revealed that the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate in 2014 was not to the knowledge of the Chief Odigie Oyegun led NWC. maintaining that the alienation of the party leadership had undermined party-building since the inception of APC as the main opposition party.
He said: “Once the party is able to produce candidates at all levels for the 2015 general elections, which ended with December 10, 2014, National Convention that produced President Buhari as the party’s Presidential candidate, attention shifted to winning the 2015 election at various levels. And having won the 2015 elections at federal and 22 states, attention shifted to lobbying for appointments into both Federal and State Governments.
“The business of party building was practically suspended. In fact, once President Buhari emerged as the Presidential candidate of the party, negotiation for the selection of running mate was done outside the formal structures of the party. This is perhaps, one of the steps taken, consciously or unconsciously by power blocs within the party that undermined the capacity of the party to be able to exercise strong influence in many of the decisions of President Buhari’s administration both during his first term and now, in this his second term.
“Informal demands and choices of party leaders became the decisions of the party, depending on which section of the leadership is making the demand.
“The compromise, therefore, was the consolidation of APC as the governing party since 2015 without the corresponding internal mechanism for political negotiations to produce appointees for various positions in government.
“For some strategic reasons, many leaders of APC opted for informal negotiations to access opportunities for appointments into government.”
Justifying the party’s National Executive Committee’s resolution at its meeting last Tuesday to dissolve the executives of the party at ward, local government, state and zonal levels for caretaker committees, Lukman said that the decisions would ultimately help to foster party cohesion, inspire confidence in the new leadership that would emerge at its national convention slated for June next year.
“With the appointment of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee, the expectation is that the process of reorganisation and party-building starting from membership registration/revalidation will commence. This means the recruitment of new members at the same time with the revalidation of old members so as to resolve any possible contention about who has left the party or not from the old register.
“The process of membership registration/revalidation is expected to be followed immediately by processes of leadership formation at all levels.
“From all the internal debates so far, one of the underlying objectives is to resolve the challenge of electing new party leaders in the same year when general elections are to take place.
“Electing party leaders in the same year when candidates for general elections are to emerge only re-enforce the desperation of aspiring politicians to control structures of the party. With all the rebuilding process expected to end in June 2021, it then means that APC can have almost two years before the 2023 general elections to negotiate landmark political challenges and possibly produce some internal consensus, which should be able to throw up a credible candidate for the 2023 general elections at all levels,” Lukman said.