By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja

Since the successful merger of some “legacy parties” which culminated into what is now known as the All Progressives Congress APC, Salihu Moh. Lukman had held forth as Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF.

The PFG is the think-tank for governors of the ruling APC. But what is a think-tank? On the surface, it is a tank of thoughts; of ideas. But it does appear that the “tank” is now leaking following the exit of its “maintenance officer”, Lukman.

According to Wikipedia, a think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture.

That is exactly what the PGF under Mr Lukman had done over the years for the APC. It had stimulated a peer review mechanism among the states and also constantly drew the attention of the governors and even the party leadership to stick to the party manifesto.

For several years, the PGF secretariat had also advocated a review of the manifesto ahead of the 2023 general election. Indeed, it was the thinking of Lukman that a party must review its manifesto before every general election in order to be able to assess itself and see programmes that can be improved upon.

Apart from working underground to provide thoughtful contributions to the governors, Lukman had in his personal capacity as a member and a chieftain of  the party constantly made resolute inputs whenever the party was on the precipice.

Indeed, there is an Igbo proverb which says that “an elder does not sit at home and watch a tethered goat deliver”. Perhaps, that was what Lukman had often done, an action which pitched him against some powerful forces who forced him to resign his appointment on on Monday.

From the Presidency to the Governors, the party leadership and its members, Lukman has never spared anyone who ran foul of democratic principles. Even the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP was in Lukman’s estimation not worthy of being called an “opposition party”, because it lacked credible ideas.

Governors of the party had met on Sunday night at the Kebbi state Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro where they passed a vote of confidence on the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the party, with a caveat that the national convention must hold in February.

At the end of the meeting when the governors came out to address the media, Lukman stood among them and there was no inkling that his matter was discussed at the close-door session.

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The next day, other stakeholders of the party woke up to news of his resignation.

At the Sunday meeting, the governors were said to have been sharply divided on the fate of Lukman. While a few wanted him sacked, majority of those in attendance were said to have defended his right to freedom of expression.

However, in confirming his resignation, Lukman said his sole motive for speaking truth to power was to ensure the return of APC to the vision of its founding fathers.

“I have privately responded to many inquiries from party leaders, friends, family members and clarified that it is true that my decision to resign my position is to enable me to continue with the campaign to return APC to its founding vision, which is to build a party that is not only democratic but also oriented based on social democratic principles”, he stated.

Lukman recalled that since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contests in the ruling APC began to degenerate.

According to him, some leaders became intolerant and conducted themselves almost as tyrants, while every campaign to get the leadership of the party to commence the process of internal reform was resisted.

“Some party leaders in the bid to emerge as candidates of the party for offices became hostile. Party campaign drifted to almost war situations in many instances. Organs of the party stopped meeting as required by the constitution. Views of party leaders became decisions of the party”, he said.

Concerned APC Stakeholders under the aegis of APC Rebirth Group were however quick to react to news of the resignation, berating the governors of the party for instigating the forces that led to his exit.

The stakeholders in statement signed by Engr. Aliyu Audu said there was nothing progressive about the action of the progressive governors.

According to him, the stakeholders received with sadness, the news of the resignation of Mallam Lukman, who they said was a moral compass for the party.

“While we hail Lukman for his decision to tender his resignation as the honourable thing to do in the present circumstance, we are not unaware of the fact that the governors of the All Progressives Congress at their meeting on Sunday orchestrated the resignation because of his position on the state of affairs of the APC, and particularly his calls for the conduct of the national convention which is long over due.

“Our disappointment is in the fact that a party that prides itself as a progressive party, more so governors elected under its platform, would be so intolerant to opinions that are not in agreement with their desires”.

The major casualties in Lukman’s resignation are democrats within the APC for whom he was a potent voice. However, if Lukman would continue in the trajectory he has set for himself, and if one should consider his statement that this (resignation) is just the beginning, then the passive democrats in the APC may have no need to worry.

Lukman, is a highly cerebral politician and his wife, a top rated developmental scholar. So, his arguments about the negation of internal democracy by his party, the APC, should have been seen for what it was – a lone moral compass. If anything, his interventions portrayed him as the moral conscience of a party that has done more to lose its mass appeal, than encouraging more average Nigerians into its fold.

While it is a truism that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, it does not preclude the fact that when there is a snake invasion that one must not throw stones in order to exterminate the snake. An understanding landlord or parent should be more concerned about the fact that his people were saved by that act, than making fuss over a broken glass.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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