•Says Eta’s suit against party a bargaining chip
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has called on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to put in place strategic succession arrangement in order to guarantee electoral victory in 2023.
Lukman has also stated that the recent court case instituted by Mr. Hilliard Eta, a former APC National Vice Chairman, South-South, against the APC Caretaker Committee, is basically aimed at negotiating the return of Eta to the leadership of the APC.
Lukman in a statement issued yesterday and titled: “Nigerian Democratisation and Internal Party Contest for Leadership”, said part of the challenge facing Nigerian politics today is the difficulty in institutionalising and mainstreaming political competition within political parties.
The director general explained that most of the public speculations around internal dynamics in APC was basically informed by some strategic political expectations and leadership permutations.
Lukman said unfortunately, a lot of these permutations seem to be based on an approach that seeks to strengthen the capacity of some leaders within APC to conquer the structures of the party.
He noted that when members and leaders of the party, for instance, demand that issues of membership register of the party are resolved such that the party is able to have a credible and verifiable membership register, it was being interpreted to mean that some leaders of APC want to take over the party to promote their political ambition for 2023.
“Take over from who? Does it mean that those who claim to be in control of APC now have any credible and verifiable membership records? Why are they not able to make such records accessible to all party members and leaders?” he queried.
Lukman said once the ruling party is able to institutionalise internal leadership contests, some of the avoidable distractions based on manipulative strategies using both legal and extra-judicial strategies can be avoided.
The director general said the absence of democracy within political parties has not only blocked open leadership contests but is criminalising political aspirations, adding that most of the needless court cases within parties, including the APC, are initiated based on the anger that open and transparent leadership contest are blocked.
According to him, even the recent court case instituted by Mr. Hilliard Eta, a former APC National Vice Chairman, South-South of the party against the APC Caretaker Committee, is basically aimed to negotiate the return of Eta to the leadership of the APC.
Lukman emphasised that most of the political leaders are highly resistant to competition, adding that for them, competition should be mainly reduced to endorsement of their leadership and their decisions, including the leadership choices they make.
He said since the emergence of APC, apart from the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari, no leader can be sure of emerging as a candidate of the party for any election.
The director general noted that in the case of President Buhari, he has such a personal blessing that made him to attract at least 12 million votes in all the elections he contested since 2003, adding that no leaders, whether in APC or out of APC can claim to be in control of five million votes.
Lukman stated: “The fact that President Buhari is serving his last term, requires some strategic succession arrangement within the APC, especially in order to guarantee the retention of all the electoral advantages. With President Buhari clearly out of the race for the position of presidential candidate of APC in 2023, there is clearly a potential for a big internal contest in the party. The question is whether any of the power blocks within the party will take step to block internal contest and therefore emerge as the conqueror.
“In which case, the issue is really whether the APC leadership will allow the process of democratisation to ensure that leadership emergence both within the party and at wider political levels are determined based on the choices of party members and citizens.”