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…Asks PDP to fix itself rather than focusing on 2023

By Omeiza Ajayi

Ahead of the yet-to-be scheduled national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has asked the party to focus on issues of national unity and the current security challenges.

In a statement issued Monday in Abuja, he said the ruling party should outline how it wants to continue to respond to insecurity, and that its forthcoming national convention must be seen as an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to change Nigeria.

Lukman however took a swipe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP which held its national convention at the weekend, saying rather than trying to mobilize Nigerians ahead of 2023 using lies, the party should focus on resolving its problems.

He said; “As APC prepares for its National Convention, issues of the unity of the country and responses to national security challenges should be priorities. Just like election of leaders, how APC wants to continue with the task of responding to challenges of insecurity should be part of the agenda of the APC National Convention based on which a decision is taken at the Convention by way of adopting an amendment to the party’s manifesto through majority votes by delegates.

“Once that is done, it will assist the APC, its leaders and especially candidates for 2023 elections to mobilize Nigerians to vote the party. At the same time, it will potentially prepare the party to be capable of neutralizing PDP’s toxic politics of promoting hatred with the high probability that it can produce ultra-right-wing candidates for 2023 elections.

“As much as it should be recognized that PDP was able to open itself to negotiations leading to the emergence of new leadership, to the extent that it failed to take advantage of the National Convention to simulate some internal negotiations within the party about how challenges facing the country should be responded to by a PDP government suggests absence of any commitment to work for a new Nigeria. May be as part of the efforts by the new PDP leadership to start a new beginning, they will initiate new processes of negotiating these issues. If that is to be the case, it will be necessary that the new PDP leaders take their bearing by taking responsibility in terms of honestly accepting their errors when they had the opportunity to rule Nigeria between 1999 and 2015. Anything short of that will expose the PDP and its leaders as being dishonest.

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“APC must therefore use its National Convention to demonstrate its commitment to change Nigeria. Apart from electing leaders, the manifesto of the party should be subjected to amendment debate. As part of the commitment to change Nigerian politics, APC must unambiguously commit itself to the unity of Nigeria based on governance initiatives founded on the principles of fairness and equitable access to resources and opportunities by all Nigerians from every part of the country. In addition, APC must commit itself to developing the productive potentials of every Nigerian and every part of the country. The issue of national development must be oriented based on clear strategies to develop the economy of every part of the country. Issues of industrialization, human capital development through correspondingly aggressively high public and private investments in education and health sectors of the country must be prioritized. This should mean that commitment of political leaders to issues of development planning must be strengthened, and the Nigerian public service must be appropriately reformed and rebuilt to manage initiatives for national development”.

He said from all indications, PDP leaders have only moderated themselves and submitted to processes of internal negotiations up to the National Convention because they are out of power at the Federal level.

“It can be predicted that had PDP been the ruling party in the country, the approach would have been different. Probably, as was the case with all previous PDP leaders, new leaders would have emerged without any negotiation and the National Convention would have been reduced to window dressing ritual, legitimizing the instructions of a serving PDP President. Perhaps, everything leading to the PDP National Convention happened because there is no serving PDP President acting as the leader of the party. Good enough, being out of power, PDP leaders had to respect democratic process, which raises the hope of especially PDP members that the party is being reformed.

“The worrisome issue is that notwithstanding some of the departures from the old abrasive PDP, just as Nigerians would want to wish PDP well, it must be pointed out that many of the speeches of PDP leaders at the Convention demonstrated lack of commitment to take responsibility. This is largely because, as far as PDP leaders are concerned all the problems facing Nigeria today is the creation of APC.

“Almost all the speeches of PDP leaders during the Convention were about winning election in 2023 and returning to power. Sadly, there is no indication, at any point during the Convention, showing how the party intends to solve Nigeria’s challenges. Not even a reference by any PDP leader during the Convention to any provision of the party’s manifesto, which must have gathered dust in the cabinet of INEC. Perhaps, apart from the few founding members of the party, almost all the delegates to the National Convention have never seen the manifesto of the PDP.

“It may be necessary to also request the newly elected leadership of PDP under Dr. Iyorchia Ayu to perhaps investigate the management of funds mobilised for the construction of the 12-storey PDP National Secretariat located on Muhammadu Buhari Way, Central Business District, Abuja, which is now abandoned as a demonstration of commitment to rescue Nigeria. Having mobilised close to N30 billion and expended over N16 billion, a born-again PDP leadership committed to rescuing Nigeria should be able to fix its internal problems first. Like it is often said, charity begins at home. A party that is committed to rescuing Nigeria should first and foremost rescue itself from its internal adversaries”, he added.

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