Director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, yesterday cautioned the APC caretaker committee chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, not to allow all his good work be destroyed by heeding to the call to postpone the party’s national convention slated for next month.
“With the emergence of the CECPC in June 2020, His Excellency Mai Mala has done an excellent job by bringing down tension within the party. Sadly, all the good work of the CECPC under His Excellency Mai Mala is about to be destroyed once it yields to the temptation of staying longer than February 2022,” he stated.
In an open letter to all the APC leaders on Monday, Lukman said the party leadership was working on a lie that will end up foisting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) again on Nigerians in 2023.
He noted that the leadership of the party is relying on the fallacy that anybody the party imposes on Nigerians during the party’s presidential primaries will sweep the poll in 2023, adding that such a lie cannot stand.
Lukman stated: “The only reason why some leaders, perhaps including the members of CECPC, are attracted to campaign for postponement for the Convention is the deceptive belief that any candidate who emerged, whether elected or imposed on the party can win the 2023 elections. This is a big lie!”
He said such a lie would only pave way for PDP’s return to power, adding that the ongoing plot to postpone the scheduled February convention of the party will spell doom for the ruling party.
The APC chieftain berated former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and others over calls to postpone the national convention.
He described as ‘illogical’ Kalu’s recommendation for postponement of the convention, even as he warned of a repeat of the Zamfara experience of 2019 if care was not taken.
Warning against a repeat of what happened in Zamfara State in 2019 where the party lost woefully to the opposition PDP, he said it was very difficult to exonerate the caretaker committee from the campaign to postpone the February convention, because if it was not interested in the shifting the convention it will not be difficult for the committee to make formal announcement about the date and venue of the convention.
Lukman said, “It is very difficult to excuse the CECPC from the campaign to postpone the February Convention. If the CECPC is not interested in the postponement of the Convention from the agreed February 2022 date, why is it difficult to make formal announcement about the date and venue of the Convention?
“Statutorily, by the requirement of the Electoral Act, the party is expected to serve at least 21 days’ notice of the Convention to INEC; which basically means that if the Convention is to hold any day before February 28, 2021, the notice to INEC should be given on or before February 7, 2022. That being the case, the temptation could be to argue that there is more time. Some reminders would be necessary at this point.
“Once that is the case, we would have succeeded in making the 2019 Zamfara electoral disaster a national phenomenon in 2023. Is that what the CECPC members under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni want to subject the party to?”
Asking the APC leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing the needed political leadership to the country, Lukman said, “No one should imagine that agendas set in 2014 or 2019 are sufficient to respond to contemporary challenges, which post 2023 governance will be expected to respond to. If anything, it may also be important to emphasise the fact that to respond to contemporary challenges facing the country would require massive investment in human capital development in the country.
“This will call for a deliberate and aggressive policy to mobilise large scale public investment to rebuild public schools at all levels. The correlation between collapse of education since the mid-1980s, rising levels of unemployment and insecurity are very glaring. As a party, we must come up with practically convincing answers, which should form the basis of public support by Nigerians to guarantee victory in 2023 elections.
“The burden of responsibility to strengthen the capacity of the APC to put itself in a vantage position to commence internal negotiation around all these issues is on the CECPC, especially, the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni.
“Inability to discharge this responsibility or avoid it by toying the path of a deceptive campaign for postponement of Convention can only spell doom for the APC and return Nigeria to the hands of those who laid the foundation for all the challenges facing the country.
“By way of an appeal to APC leaders, as much as the question of who emerges as the candidate of the party is very important, it is not only who emerges as a candidate of the party that can win the election. But how united are party leaders behind the candidate will be a more determining factor. President Buhari, with all his mass support in the Northern part of the country, may not have won the election in 2015 without the unity of all APC leaders from every part of the country. All APC leaders must be reminded that, there is no one political leader in the country that enjoy convincing mass support of any region of the country.”