By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has said the recent attempt to accept Chief Femi Fani-Kayode into the fold of the All Progressives Congress APC was a clear attempt by some partisans to manipulate the leadership of the ruling party into doing the wrong thing.
There were reports earlier in the week that Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP was set to join the APC following a meeting with the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni, and Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello who chairs the Mobilization Committee of the party.
In a statement titled, “APC and the Question of Values”, Lukman praised the insistence by many APC members and leaders that Mr. Fani-Kayode “was not welcome to join APC because he doesn’t have the values required to be a member”.
He faulted comments by a PDP chieftain, Dr. Sam Amadi, that “APC has no defined values or defining values. APC is a normless contraption, like Nigeria”.
Lukman noted that “the issue of Mr. Fani-Kayode’s drifted attempt to join the APC is a clear instance of attempts to manipulate some of our leaders into accepting membership of someone who ought not to have been considered a a member of our party. If that was the case in the past, it is better late than never to correct such a mistake”.
He also advised those angry with APC to work hard to form a better party.
“Without going into details, the capacity to test a wide range of political options assisted to create the needed confidence for merger negotiations of our opposition parties in 2012/2013 that led to the emergence of APC. It is important to recognise that for leaders of our legacy parties to successfully negotiate the merger, it meant that they were responsive to the reality that without being able to merge they can’t win elections at the national level.
“You can say that the negotiation only produces instruments for capturing power. What is wrong with that? Would you have rather preferred APC or any preferred party becoming a permanently defeated party? That APC is succeeding in capturing power is the reason why we are having this debate. It is far more encouraging to engage the debate, on our part as APC members, because the party is succeeding in winning elections if you like capturing power. Is there any successful political party anywhere in the world that is not an instrument of capturing power? If your pain is that APC is emerging as a successful political party, the best advice one can give is that those who are opposed to APC should work hard to produce the party that can defeat the APC”, Lukman stated.
‘Not all-comers affair’
The PGF DG also insisted that the APC must not be an all-comers affair, saying only those with progressive credentials should be admitted into its fold in the ongoing nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise.
He said; “The fact of being successful is what is attracting almost everyone desirous of accessing political opportunities to join our party. No doubt, that is not good. But it must be stressed, it will require strong internal contestation to control that. Again, that we are as a party debating the issue of who should join our party or not, represents the qualitative difference between the APC and PDP. If it were PDP, once the National Chairman of the party acts on a matter and backed by a serving governor, members can only grumble.
“I am proud to have my voice guaranteed and affirmed by my leaders in APC. As an employee of Governors, it has been a privileged opportunity to speak out openly on matters within the purview of leadership initiative. Rather than my leaders, including our Governors, relating to me as a subordinate who should only take instructions, they recognise and respect my views as a loyal member of the party. Part of the responsibility that imposes is that we should be able to speak out to protect and defend our leaders and our party.