The Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has chided the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN, for reducing to politics and legality, the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari, on measure to tackle the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) proposed national convention to elect a new set of national officers, the interim leadership led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni is expected to deliver a credible membership register before the convention.

Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Dr Salihu Lukman gave the suggestion in a statement he issued at the weekend in Abuja.

PGF is the forum of governors on the platform of the ruling party. The scheduled convention to produce a substantive national working committee to replace the sacked national officers led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has been tentatively fixed for November.

Lukman in a statement entitled, “The Future of Progressive Politics in Nigeria,” argued that the only way to ensure that governorship and presidential aspirants for 2023 general elections did not hijack the party structures at states and national secretariats was a credible membership register which would ultimately hand over the party to the people, unlike the subsisting arrangement where the party leaders and their cronies decide who pick tickets for elective positions.

He said: “Given that the most important mandate of the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is to organise a National Convention where new leadership will be elected, what are the steps required, which the Mai Mala Buni Committee should take to ensure that the national leadership of the party that will emerge are not nominees of potential Presidential candidates?

“The best way to check whether new leaders are nominees of potential Presidential candidates could be perhaps whether they emerge from electoral contests. “How fair was the contest and to what extent could the issue of credible and verifiable membership register support the process of selecting the new leadership of APC at the coming national convention?

“A very credible process should be recommended to sprout from membership registration/verification. This should mean that immediately following the membership registration/verification, party Congresses at the ward, local governments and state levels hold to elect new leadership. This will have the advantage of ensuring that some levels of political negotiations are activated within the party to facilitate the emergence of new leaders.

“It is possible that the process may still tilt in favour of some of the emerging power blocs within the party. However, if managed very well, it will be almost impossible for any single power bloc in the party to comfortably dominate the structures of the party across all the 36 states of the country and FCT. This will help to humble all the potential aspirants, especially for the 2023 Presidential election, thereby democratising power in the APC.

“Because power is democratised, no one person can monopolise leadership and therefore impose himself/herself as the presidential candidate of the APC. As a result, the issue of monopolising membership register such that it is the candidates that produce party members will begin to be minimised. Also, the party can bounce back and become appealing to citizens.”

Dr Lukman further suggested an amendment of the APC 2014 Constitution before the convention. He noted that certain provisions in the document needed to be amended to curb what he called perceived excesses of party officials that would emerge at state chapters and the national secretariat.

“Given all the experiences, so far, it is only logical that the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is able to set up a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.

“Beyond proposals for a constitutional amendment, there is the urgent need to consider developing proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party as bylaws to regulate the conduct of party leaders

“This is necessary in order to prevent situations whereby officials of the party will not abuse his/her office and conduct himself/herself in manners that could undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying to include the deployment of state law enforcement machinery and officials against fellow citizens and party members.

“The Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee need to be given every support within the party and by extension patriotic Nigerians sympathetic to the APC to be able to put APC on the path of progressive politics. As it is today, APC is the only party with the potential of promoting progressive politics based on ensuring that the party is able to put in place credible and verifiable membership register as the basis for membership and citizens’ participation. The management of the membership must be such that it makes it easy for records to be updated and accessed. For the party to guarantee participation, processes of leadership emergence should be transparently democratic involving the wider scope of members. Beyond electing leaders, the internal rules of the party should be strengthened to ensure that all party organs are made functional and the conduct of party leaders, including elected and appointed officials, are regulated to ensure that the project truly progressive conducts and credentials.”

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