By: Emmanuel Couson
The Director General (DG) of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman said any attempt to postpone the February 5, 2022 National Conversation of the ruling All Progressive Party APC, will spell doom for the party.
This was disclosed in a letter written to the Chairman of the PGF. Gov Abubakar Atiku Bagudu dated January 5, 2022 titled “APC National Convention: Urgent Matters for the Survival of APC ”
The letter stated that “On Monday. January 3, 2022, I sent an open letter to all APC leaders titled Plausibility of February 2022 APC Convention. The letter highlighted some of the reasons why the APC National Convention should not be postponed. Leaders of the party must understand that the survival of the party is what is at stake”
Continuing he said ” any attempt to continue to contemplate postponement of the Convention means gambling with the future of the party, which is unacceptable. APC leaders need to act decisively to ensure that the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) under the leadership of Hrs Excellency, Mai Mata Buni ss implementing all agreed on decisions faithfully. Failure of His Excellency, Ma: Mala Buni led CECPC to implement decisions that makes APC leaders compact and therefore agreeable to acts that are injurious to the survival of the party”
“Your Excellency. part of the reason that informed the decision to make the January 3, 2022 teacher open is mainly to protect the public image of Governors and the leadership of the Forum, especially your person as the Chairman. The situation in the public is that the reluctance of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni to proceed with implementation of the decision to hold the APC National Convention on February 5, 2022, as agreed is because Governors want to continue to control the party, which to the best of my knowledge is not true. Some commentators both within the party and in the public have argued that there are deliberate efforts to prevent the Convention from holding on February 5, 2022, which is why the CECPC did not make any public announcement or begin to make any preparation. As it is, already, some members of the CECPC are alleging that they are only shadow Caretaker, the actual members of the Caretaker are Governors. With all these, once things go wrong with the party, the Governors and especially the leadership of the Forum will be damaged politically”
Futhermore he said “more worrisome is the fact that we would have all succeeded, both leaders and members, to have contributed to damaging the political credentials of President Muhammadu Buharn beyond. APC leaders should imagine the consequences of ruining the electoral potentials of the party in 2023 such that beyond losing the Federal Government, self implicated legal challenges are created to weaken the electoral prospects of the party simply because of actions or inactions of the CECPC, especially the Chairman, His Excellency, Ma: Mala Buni and the Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe”
The letter was copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, Chairman, APC CECPC , Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President. Sen Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Progressive Governors, Chief Bisi Akande, former APC Interim National Chairman, Chief John Odigre-Oyegun, former APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshomhole, former APC National Chairman, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC National Leader, Ogbonnaya Onuh former National Chairman of ANPP
And Members of the CECPC.
“Already, some media reports are suggesting that the work of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu’s Reconciliation Committee will determine whether the Convention should hold in February or not. Sen. Adamu himself has argued that they will conclude their work and reconcile those that can be reconciled by the end of January 2022. It needs to be however stated categorically that so long as the party exists, there will always be leadership disputes. And the higher the electoral strength of the party the sharper will be the disputes. Therefore, anyone suggesting that reconciliation should determine whether February Convention will hold or not, ts simply working to block the Convention from holding. it is the responsibility of the leaders, in this case, the CECPC under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mata Buni to ensure some negotiated agreements among disagreeing parties, even if it is temporarily to confer legitimacy of the Convention. Once leaders are not able to guarantee this, it means the inability to handle leadership responsibility” He said .
Lukman stated that “given all the danger signals about the possible inability of the CECPC and especially, the Chairman, His Excellency, Ma: Mala Bun and the Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, to discharge the responsibility of organising the APC National Convention, there is the need to take steps to protect Governors, Forum, your leadership and more importantly, prevent any attempt to sabotage President Buhari and party leaders. majority of Governors and party leaders, based on objective assessments of realities of poor management of the party under the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC), supported both the dissolution of the NWC and the emergence of the CECPC. As the Chairman of the Forum, you had to take very difficult internal initiatives to unite Governors and party leaders. You were able to earn the confidence of President Buhan and party leaders based on your leadership ability to ensure that all Governors are united to support the work of the CECPC”
The DG said “Your Excellency, it would appear that both the CECPC Chairman, Hts Excellency, Mai Mala Bunt and Secretary, Sen. john James Akpanudoedehe are taking the support of Forum for granted to the point of working to sabotage the decisions of holding the APC National Convention on February 5, 2022, based on the recommendations of Forum. This is a very dangerous trend. Some of the speculations as the reasons for that include the alleged ambition of His Excellency, Mai Mata Buns to manipulate his emergence as the substantive National Chairman of the party. Ideally, there should be nothing wrong with this once he can satisfy the requirement of the law. If true, however, the assumption that he will provide neutral leadership, which is required to guarantee a level playing field that was the basis of vesting him with the responsibility of serving as the Chairman of CECPC has been eroded. Should it be confirmed that His Excellency, Mai Maia Bunn is aspiring to be the substantive National Chairman of APC, in whatever way possible, elementary logic required that he should be immediately replaced as Chairman of CECPC? This is further strengthened by the fact that being a serving Governor, he is disqualified to aspire to hold any position, which the law only permits him to hold to hold on temporary basis”
He said *as things are, the APC National Convention is to hold February 5, 2022, as decided, by January 15, 2022, notice of the Convention must be transmitted to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as required by the Electoral! Act. in which case, details of the agenda of the Convention and Venue should have been decided. If this is not the case, it should be taken that the CECPC chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni and Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe have decided not to implement the decision to hold the Convention on February 5, 2022. There is nowhere in APC Constitution or any law for that matter, that confer prerogative of whether an important decision such as holding the National Convention should hold or not on the party Chairman and Secretary. At best. if there are challenges, they should present the challenges to superior organs of the party. It may be necessary for party leaders to therefore consider convening emergency meetings of the Navona! Caucus to review all these developments and perhaps allow the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mata Bun and Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe to explain whatever difficulty they may be having””
Salihu stated that “It may also be necessary to appeal to both His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni and Sen. john James Akpanudoedehe in the event that superior organ of the party. possibly the National Caucus is unable to meet before January 15, 2022, they should take the path of honour and honourably resign if by that date they have not concluded preparations for the Convention and appropriate notice to INEC duly served as required by the law. Should that be the case, Your Excellency may again have to provide the leadership to facilitate consultations with President Buhari and all party leaders to choose necessary replacements from among members of the CECPC or in whatever way possible”
Furthermore he said “Your Excellency, at this point, given experiences first with the Comrade Oshtomhole led NWC and now with the His Excellency, Ma: Mala Bum led CECPC, there is the glaring issue of political leadership recruitment challenges, which if not resolved will continue to undermine the capacity to produce competent political leaders in the country. APC, being a party envisioned to drive the process of political change in the country, continuing this path of blind loyalty can only produce the same results. Yesterday. it was Comrade Oshiomhole, Today, it is His Excellency, Mai Mala Bum. Tomorrow (after the Convention) may not produce anything different, except # leaders are courageous to undertake an honest review and ensure a new framework to guide the process of electing new leaders for che party. For instance, once the new members of the NWC to be elected at the February Convention is based on the approach of getting leaders to endorse people loyal to them, it simply means a waste of ome as we may end up with very greedy leaders who can sacrifice their souls for whatever material benefits from aspiring political leaders for elective offices.
Your Excellency, without questioning the component of all our leaders, we need to make the passionate appeal that there must be minimum value recognition in terms of determining the quality of people to serve as members of the NWC of our party. Similarly, the qualification of candidates to contest on the platform of our party for all positions must be upgraded beyond the capacity of mobilising financial resources. Being a party envisioned to be progressive, the value credentials of potential candidates, how they make their money, their service experiences, etc. must be considered. For the position of the National Chairman and National Secretary of the party, party leaders must rise above the narrow interests to nominate persons with good service credentials of public service, good relationships and capacity to facilitate political negotiations, especially during elections. Anyone, for instance, who has a record of mismanaging political Negotiations to the point of losing an election should be disqualified. At another level, people who are politically unstable concerning being members of the party must be similarly disqualified.
These are issues that are eto be deliberated upon in the process of producing new leaders of the party at the February $, 2022 APC National Convention if at all leaders want to resolve many of our political leadership challenges. There is an urgent need to recognise that a lot of ume has been lost. To maintain the political credentials of our party as truly the party of change, there is the need to assemble a very competent and skilful team to emerge as members of the NWC. In addition to a good Chairman, we need a very competent National Secretary. With due respect to the current Secretary of the CECPC, his inability to manage effectively the Secretariat has thrown us into a very shameful embarrassing reality whereby after investing so much ume and resources on membership registration and revalidation exercise, it is difficult to confirm with any certainty that we have a membership register. It may be worthwhile to demand that as proof to the contrary, the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mata Buni and Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe present copies of the membership register to the President and party leaders. Your Excellency, we are at 3 difficult political crossroads. Urgent steps are required to guarantee the electoral survival of our party as we approach 2023. Continuing to freeze the activives of the party and expect that the CECPC under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni can discharge the responsibility of providing leadership to the party beyond February 5, 2022, is simply suicidal. Honest and where necessary unembellished leadership is required to return our party to its founding vision. Any leader who betrays trust must not be excused. The leadership of CECPC under His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni are not living up to the trust invested in them by party leaders. It is important that chis are not condoned. tam confident that Your Excellency will be able to provide the needed leadership, as always, to check the excesses of the CECPC, facilitate the return of our party to its founding vision and elect competent leaders to take the party to the NEXT Level at the February 5 2022, Convention “