The immediate past national vice vhairman, north-west of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has lamented that five months after President Bola Tinubu assumed office, his administration has not been able to define the direction it wants to go.
In a statement issued yesterday, Lukman said it was unacceptable that President Tinubu would inspire party members to fight against the culture of imposition only for him to initiate actions that risk compromising him as a leader who tolerates, if not promotes, imposition within the APC.
According to him, the emergence of APC in 2013 raised the hopes of Nigerians that the party would provide a different model of party administration such that processes of candidates’ selection and party governance could allow for broader membership participation.
According to him, between 2015 and today, the APC has continued to function with most of its structures as provided in the party’s constitution, which is not operational.
He alleged that the powers of these structures were usurped by party leaders, mainly the national chairman and the president, who should be the moral leader of the party and mostly expected to act as the party’s conscience.
“Between 2015 and 2023, during the tenure of former President Buhari, many party leaders and members were able to leverage the ‘‘moral authority’’ of the former president to contest and seek redress of Constitutional infractions by leaders of the party.
“This is largely responsible for many of the internal leadership contestations in APC since 2019. Those contestations resulted in changes of leadership of the party at different times.
“Sadly, experiences since the emergence of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the new moral leader of the APC produce a new reality whereby potential infractions may be created by initiatives directly coming from the president himself.
“A typical example is the case of altering the APC’s zoning formula by arbitrarily moving the position of the National Chairman from North-Central to North-West.
“Even when, for instance, the North-Central remained shut out of consideration from any of the key positions in the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly, the position of National Chairman is being occupied by Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje from Kano State, North-West with North-Central completely marginalised both in the party and in the APC controlled Federal Government led by President Asiwaju Tinubu.
“Intriguingly, APC leaders are calm; not even leaders from North-Central seem to be disturbed by this new reality. What has really taken over President Asiwaju Tinubu?
“Arguably, the situation in APC, after ten years of existence as a party and eight years as a ruling party, is gradually catching up with the low standards set by PDP during its 16 years.
“It is quite alarming that a party envisioned to be progressive will be associated with such arbitrary conduct. All these could be explained with reference to ensuring that structures of the APC are allowed to operate as provided in the APC Constitution.
“If structures of the party are allowed to operate, decisions of party organs would be binding on all leaders, including the national chairman and the president. Why should leaders who claimed to be progressive be opposed to meetings of party organs?
“If APC leaders are not disposed to allowing party organs to meet based on which they subordinate themselves and therefore become accountable to party members, to what extent would Nigerians expect that elected leaders produced by the APC, including President Asiwaju Tinubu, would be accountable to Nigerians?
“If care is not taken, at the rate we are indulging our leaders in APC, tolerating, and accommodating undemocratic conduct and, perhaps, illegality, we would end up betraying all the goodwill of Nigerians and with it also erodes all the electoral viability of the APC.
“As things are, with President Asiwaju Tinubu successful to have his way to produce Dr. Ganduje and Sen. Ajibola Basiru as the successors to Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore, gradually they have returned the APC to business-as-usual whereby all structures of the APC remained frozen.
“Otherwise, what is the explanation that after almost three months since the emergence of Dr. Ganduje and Sen. Basiru as national chairman and national secretary, respectively, the National Advisory Council is yet to be convened and there is no indication that the National Executive Committee and National Caucus will be meeting any time soon.”