From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has warned the ruling party against electing an emperor as the National Chairman of the party in the forthcoming National Convention.
In a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday, Lukman chided the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) for insulting party members and Nigerians with the laxity it has been approaching the proposed National Convention scheduled for February next month.
Questioning the credibility of the aspirants for the position of the National Chairman, he advocated looking beyond the current aspirants.
“Unfortunately, reckless party leadership is diminishing all these excellent political credentials. APC leaders must wake up to the responsibility of resolving the leadership challenges facing the party. Part of what is required at this point is to commence leadership engagement towards consensus building on a number of these issues and assess all the so-called aspirants.
“Where necessary, APC leaders may wish to stretch the search for a National Chairman beyond current aspirants. APC need a National Chairman who is humble, with very good relations and respect among both party leaders and members. Steps must be taken to ensure that APC National Chairman and other members of the NWC do not reduce themselves into extorting parting leaders, especially aspiring candidates.
“APC leaders must take every step to avoid vesting the responsibility of the National Chairman of the party on another ‘emperor’ who will end up conducting affairs of the party with absolute disrespect and contempt for decisions taken. APC need a National Chairman who can provide every level playing field for the internal party electoral contest for 2023.
“Any new National Chairman of APC who can lead the party to electoral victory in 2023 must not be a surrogate to any aspirant for 2023 Presidential contest. Similarly, such a person must be ready to control other members of the NWC from demonstrating bias in favour of any candidate for 2023 Presidential contest within the party.
“Being a humble National Chairman, such a person must be ready to subordinate himself/herself to party leaders at local levels. A situation whereby as National Chairman, the person become overbearing to leaders at state level must not be acceptable. There should not be any debate or contest about who should exercise leadership at state level.
“The model should be what exists between President Buhari and leaders of the party in Katsina State. However, the National Chairman and party leaders at state level should be encouraged to develop structured processes of consultations to ensure that the political interest of the National Chairman is protected in the state.
“Similarly, the National Chairman must also accept to protect the political interest of other leaders from the state, especially any serving Governor of his home state,” he said.
“Beyond the National Chairman, APC leaders must also take every necessary step to elect very competent Deputy National Chairmen (North and South). It is important that the two Deputy National Chairmen to be elected are people with integrity.
“In addition to Deputy National Chairmen, positions of National Secretary, National Legal Adviser, National Organising Secretary and National Publicity Secretary must be head hunted,” he noted in the statement.
Enumerating other criteria for the national leadership positions, the PGF DG wrote: “Any potential candidate must have good relations will party leaders at national level, especially President Buhari.
“The candidate must also have good relations with all party leaders in his/her state, including the 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 parson 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.
“Finally, public service experience will not only be an advantage but a measure of determining the democratic credentials of the candidate. Any candidate with public service experience at whatever level without incontestable records of achievements, such a person can not inspire any party member and by extension Nigerians into believing that his/her leadership can bring any good electoral fortune for the party,” he wrote in the statement.
Writing earlier, Lukman warned that the Buni-led Committee ‘ll get Oshiomhole’s treatment, he noted: “it will be necessary to remind all members of the CECPC and by extension all leaders of APC that part of the reasons that made it very necessary to dissolve the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC was the disrespect for leaders and members of the party.
“The CECPC leadership have returned the party back to mode of open disrespect for any recommendation given. It is even worse now given that the CECPC is ready to sacrifice the future of the party. Clearly, what is steering us in the face is that all the bad leadership records under Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC is about to be met and outstripped by the present CECPC,” the statement read.
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