PGF DG Cautions against Delaying APC National Convention

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Salihu Lukman

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Director-General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has warned the caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, not to abuse the confidence of President Muhammadu Buhari by delaying the national convention of the party beyond June.

He added that under no circumstances should there be any contemplation of extending the tenure of the caretaker committee.
Lukman, in a statement yesterday, urged all party members and leaders to ensure that the caretaker committee is able to complete the task of organising a national convention where new leaders of the party would be elected.

He described APC as the only party where contestation is taking place and leaders recognise the challenges facing the party.
He added that If democracy is about contestation, with all its problems, APC represents the hope for a democratic Nigeria.

Lukman stated: “For that to become reality, APC must pass all its litmus tests. A strong pillar, which is the catalysing element for the party to be able to pass all its litmus tests is the liberal leadership of President Buhari, based on which he doesn’t interfere in the management of the party.

“The caretaker committee must not abuse the president’s confidence by delaying the national convention of the party. No party in Nigeria has the liberal atmosphere provided in APC.
“Whether APC will be able to pass all its litmus tests will depend a lot on whether the caretaker committee is committed to finishing its assignment by June 2021.

“Even if it is able to complete the assignment, processes of internal negotiation to produce leaders of the party, the character and capacity of the new leadership, as well as the scope of membership participation during congresses and national convention will be determining factors of whether the party is conforming to both democratic principles and progressive ideals.”

He lamented that for more than nine months, the caretaker committee has not convened any meeting of any organ of the APC apart from the emergency NEC meeting of December 8, 2020, adding that even the 13-member caretaker committee is hardly meeting.

He said part of the indication was that most decisions taken by the caretaker committee were done by the chairman and the Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
Lukman stated that the needless extension of the registration and revalidation of the party only serves to strengthen suspicions that the caretaker committee is reluctant to organise a national convention.
According to him, based on what has been done so far, the minimum requirement should be that records of members of the party are displayed in all wards and copies made available to local governments, states and national secretariats of the party.

He added: “Under no circumstances should there be any contemplation of extending the tenure of the Caretaker Committee. In order to ensure that no extension is being considered, committees for congresses and national convention should be established without any further delay. Similarly, the dates for congresses and national convention should be decided.”
Lukman stated that once that is done, negotiations and campaigns for the emergence of party leadership at all levels can commence.

He urged the party to elect leaders that can inspire strong belief in members, and by extension Nigerians, warning that once political touts are the new leaders of the party, it will weaken the capacity to resolve challenges facing the party and the challenges may become worse.