In the wake of his resignation as the Vice-Chairman (North-West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman warns that the party may be setting itself up for “destruction” with the potential emergence of former Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as its National Chairman.
The position was made known in a statement on Thursday, barely 24 hours after the APC stalwart resigned as a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) rather than become what he described as a source of distraction for the new administration of President Bola Tinubu.
This came after the recent resignation of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore as the National Chairman and National Secretary, respectively.
Lukman, who has long been a critic of several of the party’s internal issues, argued that the party’s constitution provides that the duo’s replacements emerge from their respective states.
“If Osun State is debating possible replacement of Sen. Omisore for the position of National Secretary of APC in line with provisions of our party’s constitution, why is Nasarawa State not treated in the same way? Why the double standards?” he queried.
Referring to Tinubu as the moral leader of the APC, Lukman said, “If the scheming to have Dr. Ganduje emerge as the next National Chairman of APC succeeds with all the legal and moral questions, as a party, we would have set the stage for the destruction of our party and God forbids, we would have laid the foundation that will make President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our elected representatives unpopular.”
See the full statement below:
Resignation from APC NWC: Explanatory Note
Salihu Moh. Lukman
All Progressives Congress
North-West Zonal Office
Since the news of my resignation from APC NWC broke out, I have received so many queries and responses, all expressing disappointment in one way or the other. My common explanation is that I am just tired having to remain in the fighting mode, campaigning for the reform of the APC. First, it was against the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was my boss and in many respect my mentor for more than sixteen years. Not long after we thought the exit of Comrade Oshiomhole and the whole NWC under his leadership would provide the opportunity to reform the APC and return it to its founding vision of becoming a progressive party did we come to the sad realisation that we had to wage another bitter struggle to get the Caretaker Committee led by His Excellency Mai Mala to organise a National Convention to produce a new leadership.
From a tenure of six months, it was almost an impossible task to push His Excellency Mai Mala to organise a National Convention in 27 months. With the emergence of our NWC led by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, all hopes were dashed when with every passing day we were confronted with reigns of impunity whereby it was as if the constitution of the party was suspended. Almost all organs of the party were frozen and as leaders of the party we were forced to accept illegality as normal and acceptable. Ordinarily, it should be expected that the departure of Sen. Adamu and Sen. Iyiola Omisore should provide a window of opportunity to return the APC to constitutional order.
Sadly, the turn of events in the last 10 days since the resignation of Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore suggests to the contrary. Members of the NWC were left in suspense. A meeting of NWC with PGF scheduled for Wednesday, July 19, 2023 was cancelled without any explanation. Suddenly, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, in his capacity as Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) converted himself into a receiver manager for the party and begin to act almost as the party’s NWC. Speculation about nomination of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as nominee of Governors and President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu then started and became stronger each day. Efforts to highlight legal and moral issues which should require a rethink was simply ignored. The dominant view among leaders is that once President Asiwaju Tinubu has decided on an issue, we should just simply work for its success even with all the legal and moral questions.
May be at this point, we should publicly state both the legal and moral questions. The legal question is straight forward. Article 31.5(i) of the APC constitution dealing with what to do when there is vacancy clearly stipulate that ‘in the case of a National/Zonal Officer, the State Executive Committee shall propose a replacement to the State Congress and Zonal Executive Committee for endorsement. Thereafter, the name shall be sent to the National Working Committee, which shall be forward same to the National Executive Committee for approval.’ No section of the APC constitution gives anyone, including President Asiwaju Tinubu the power to act in any contrary way. Therefore, if this provision of the APC constitution is to be respected, Nasarawa State Executive Committee of the APC, which is where Sen. Adamu comes from should have the right to propose replacement, which should be endorsed by the State Congress and the Zonal Executive Committee. Following which the name shall be forwarded to the NWC for onward transmission to NEC and approval.
Related to this is the fact that negotiations for leadership of the National Assembly ceded the position of National Chairman of the party to North Central. For whatever reasons, to proceed to act arbitrarily and move the position of National Chairman to North West will be unfair and unjust. It simply amounts to taking the people of North Central for granted. Just imagine if the South West where President Asiwaju Tinubu comes from is to be treated by any leader of Nigeria that way. The related moral question is the choice of Dr. Ganduje. Sincerely, it simply means that we don’t attach any importance to the party if with all the corruption allegation against Dr. Ganduje, we find him about the only one in the North West to be recommended. Perhaps, it needs to be stated without fear of any contradiction, if leaders of the North West are asked to nominate five people for consideration to serve in the capacity of National Chairman of APC, I am confident, Dr. Ganduje will not be one of the five nominees.
That we are even debating these issues is worrisome. At the risk of sounding very personal, I have made my small contributions to the struggle for democracy in Nigeria. I have also made my modest contributions to the development of APC as a political party in Nigeria. We started campaigning to end military rule long before June 12, 1993 under the leadership of late Alao Aka Bashorun. It will be recalled around April 1991, late Bashorun attempted to convene a National Conference in Lagos, which was blocked by the military government of former President Ibrahim Babangida. That gave birth to the emergence of Campaign for Democracy (CD) under the leadership of Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti. I was privileged to serve as the founding Deputy General Secretary of CD.
As young Nigerians passionate for the democratic development of Nigeria, we committed ourselves to those struggles for more than three decades. Having joined partisan politics in 2010 and being a member of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), it was clear to me after the 2011 elections that the only way opposition parties can defeat PDP is through merger. Having come to that realisation, I was among the few who began public advocacy and campaign for merger. Today, all that is history. My hope is that President Asiwaju Tinubu being privileged to come from a background of struggle for justice and democracy in Nigeria as someone who was in the trenches during the NADECO day, he should not be associated with any decision that will be illegal or immoral not talk of being unjust to any section of Nigeria.
If Osun State is debating possible replacement of Sen. Omisore for the position of National Secretary of APC in line with provisions of our party’s constitution, why is Nasarawa State not treated in the same way? Why the double standards? I wish I can pretend to be dumb and blind on these issues. Unfortunately, I cannot. Painful as it is, I want to appeal to President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our leaders to resist the temptations that would project our party and our leaders as champions of illegality and repression. I hold the strong conviction that President Asiwaju Tinubu will not only succeed but lead Nigeria to a new era of unconstrained democratic development. As members of APC, we must provide the critical support to President Asiwaju Tinubu such that rule of law in all its ramification will define his tenure for the next four years. Achieving that would require unwavering commitment to build the APC to develop every needed capacity to function as the regulatory authority holding every leader of the party, including President Asiwaju Tinubu accountable.
Perhaps, it is important to clarify that this is not in anyway questioning the authority of President Asiwaju Tinubu as the moral leader of the party. Being the moral leader of the party doesn’t give him the power of exercising statutory functions of organs of the party or unilaterally changing provisions of the party’s constitution. It will amount to setting President Asiwaju Tinubu for failure in the worse possible way to proceed to encourage him to act in a manner that is illegal and immoral. If the scheming to have Dr. Ganduje emerge as the next National Chairman of APC succeeds with all the legal and moral questions, as a party, we would have set the stage for the destruction of our party and God forbids, we would have laid the foundation that will make President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our elected representatives unpopular. God in his infinite mercy will guide President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our leaders to return our great party APC to constitutional order and its founding vision.
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