Immediate past Director-General of the forum of All Progressives Congress, Salihu Lukman, has said the ruling party has derailed from its set vision at its inception.
Lukman who recently resigned from his position in a statement entitled, “Politics of Change: APC on the Brink Open Letter to APC Leaders,” maintained that the promises it offered Nigerians in 2014 as the erstwhile main opposition party on the eve of the 2015 general elections have not been fulfilled.
Aside from unfulfilled promises to the electorate, Lukman claimed “APC is being held captive by some few leaders whose interest is only about imposing themselves as candidates for elections.”
He said: “Problems of intolerance to disagreements and criticisms, with some leaders expecting members to be blindly loyal, is becoming a common attribute. Views of party leaders become dominantly 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 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.
“This reality is very disturbing. APC today, wasn’t the APC of the period 2013 to 2015. Perhaps outside President Buhari, there are very few elected leaders in APC who are still committed to the founding vision of the party to provide leadership to change Nigerian politics. Given where the nation is coming from under PDP, changing Nigerian politics would require a departure from requiring citizens to be blindly loyal to elected leaders. It should require that citizens and party members are free to disagree and criticise elected leaders. In other words, politics of change should produce elected leaders who should be highly tolerant and where possible even accommodate disagreements and criticisms as part of the process of decision making.
“This may sound like wishful thoughts. 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. Rather than the envisioned party, which allows for internal debates and disagreements among party leaders and members, based on which there could be negotiations and agreements, APC today has been diminished to only an election platform, which is what the founding leaders and members wanted to change. The commitment to change the profile of political parties beyond being election platforms was precisely part of why Nigerians supported the APC in 2015.”
Ahead of next month national convention, the axed Director-General cautioned the APC stakeholders to be vigilant and ensure that those who will offer selfless leadership and earn the respect of party chieftains are saddled with the responsibility to manage the party.
“Beyond the unbiased leadership of President Buhari, there is the need for all party leaders and members committed to the politics of change to ensure the emergence of party leaders at February 26, 2022, National Convention who must be tolerant to criticisms and disagreements and should not expect members to be blindly loyal. Above all, if APC is to 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. As argued in previous interventions before now, some of the minimum guiding principles to determine the qualification of potential party leaders especially the National Chairman include:
“Potential candidates must have good relations will party leaders at the national level, especially President Buhari.
“Candidate must also have good relations with all party leaders in his/her state, including the having good relations with Governor, where there is an APC government.
“It should be a strong advantage when the aspiring person has played any role during the merger negotiation that produced APC and has been consistent in the party since 2013. This means such a person would have the needed institutional memory to recognise and respect sacrifices made by party leaders and members to make the merger that produce the APC successful.
“It should be a strong disadvantage when any aspiring candidate has records of defection from the party or any of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC.”