Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Director General of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has lamented that the rising insecurity in the country is diminishing the achievements of the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led federal government.
Lukman disclosed this at the weekend while delivering a keynote address on, ‘Political Contestation in Nigeria: Challenges of Benchmarking Party Manifesto’, during the 2020 Annual General Meeting of APC Press Corps held in Abuja.
He said often, party members make the mistake of imagining that their responsibility is to rationalise decisions of the party and its leaders.
The director general noted that while they need to justify and defend decisions of the party and its leaders to the best of their ability, party members must be in a position to protect the electoral advantages of the party.
According to him, “The strong test of whether we are growing our party such that our leaders remain faithful to the commitment to service is whether we are taking all the necessary steps to respond to the demands of citizens. Inability to respond to the demands of citizens alienate leaders and erode electoral viability.”
Lukman added: “Most times, we imagine that resort to propaganda can resolve our societal and national challenges. This is very wrong. We can do all the propaganda and take over all the media spaces in our constituencies and in the country, it will not change the reality facing citizens. This is mainly because propaganda that is not founded on strategic and concrete responses to our societal and national problems, will not improve the lives of citizens.”
He said beyond propaganda, both as citizens and party members, they have a responsibility to get the leaders to apply themselves very effectively and honestly to resolve societal and national challenges.
The DG pointed out that there was a big public contest of whether the performance of the APC government was below what it offered Nigerians in 2015.
He said while the ruling party has made progress in many areas, there are still formidable challenges.
The DG noted: “Unfortunately, rising insecurity in the country is diminishing these achievements. There is therefore a big public contest of whether the performance of our government is below what we offered Nigerians in 2015. Sadly, many of us are allowing the opposition to set the terms of the debate. We need to be more assertive and able to present a strong political contest that is able to make Nigerians see beyond the façade of the shadow electoral contest, which is designed to promote the opposition to APC.
“We need to remind ourselves that the attraction of Nigerians to our party and our leaders in 2015 was our sincere disposition to finding solutions to all our governance challenges. We should retain that honest disposition based on clear and unequivocal appreciation of the challenges. So far, one can gladly say that many of our leaders are doing that.”
Lukman said any close observer would recognise that although there is a document called party manifesto, party members, including leaders are hardly committed, saying many are hardly conversant with provisions of their party’s manifesto.
To a large extent, he said this accounts for why initiating policies and programmes based on provisions of the manifesto is weak, adding, “How many party members, including leaders have actually gone through the party manifesto? How many party leaders are actually able to develop perspectives, which will highlight policy choices in lines with provisions of the party manifesto?”