Says, no consultations, conditions required to conduct exercise
Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has again slammed the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC for making excuses as to why it cannot conduct its national convention as scheduled until certain conditions precedent are met.
Lukman in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja cited media reports which alleged that the convention could be shifted to June.
“Shortly following the news of the alleged postponement, the Secretary of the CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe issued a statement of rebuttal, calling on the general public to ‘completely disregard fake news on the reported suspension of the planned National Convention’.
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“The statement further informed the public that the CECPC ‘is already embarking on consultations with party stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.’ Sadly, the statement, like previous ones from the CECPC didn’t announce any date and venue for the National Convention. Very disappointingly, the statement said ‘sub-committee on budgeting and other substructures will be set up in due course.’
“This is a slap on the faces of Nigerians and an insult on party members. How can a statement from ‘a focus-driven, process-oriented political party’, make such a scandalous statement allegedly assuring that a Convention scheduled to hold in February without indicating a date and venue for the Convention? If subcommittees, whether for budget or anything are to be set up, to perhaps mobilise funds for the Convention, why are they not set up with just about two weeks to the end of January?”, He queried.
According to Lukman, it is now somehow difficult not to conclude that the CECPC is intentionally promoting speculations around the APC National Convention by claiming to embark on ‘consultations with party stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.’
He said; “Recall that on November 22, 2021, the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led a delegation, which include the CECPC Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, to President Muhammadu Buhari to finalise consultations on the date of the Convention. Immediately after the meeting with President Buhari, His Excellency Bagudu announced the agreement reached with President Buhari to the effect that the Convention will hold in February 2022.
“With such an agreement, the responsibility of the CECPC is to go ahead and start organising the Convention. With almost two months after, the CECPC has not issued any notice of the Convention to anyone. Not even the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which by the provision of the Electoral Act as amended is required to be given at least 21 days’ notice. It is very difficult not to conclude that both the Chairman and all members of the CECPC have no respect for President Buhari, which is responsible for why they are doing everything possible to sabotage decisions validly taken to hold the APC National Convention in February after consultation with the President.
For whatever reasons, it would appear that the leadership of CECPC are enjoying all the public speculations maligning Governors and some other senior leaders of the party as working to stop the APC National Convention from holding in February 2022. This is most unfortunate.
The truth must be told, the responsibility of organising the February 2022 APC National Convention rests squarely with the CECPC.
At this point, it will be necessary to remind all members of the CECPC and by extension all leaders of APC that part of the reasons that made it very necessary to dissolve the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) was the disrespect for leaders and members of the party, especially by Comrade Oshiomhole, the former National Chairman of the party.
It was on record that during the tenure of Comrade Oshiomhole as National Chairman, the recommendations of party leaders and members were hardly considered.
“The CECPC leadership have returned the party back to mode of open disrespect for any recommendation given. It is even worse now given that the CECPC is ready to sacrifice the future of the party. Clearly, what is steering us in the face is that all the bad leadership records under Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC is about to be met and outstripped by the present CECPC.
“This clearly raises question about political leadership recruitment approaches in the country.
“Unless this is addressed, as a party, APC may continue to change leaders, but the problem will remain.
“APC, being a party envisioned to facilitate the process of political change in Nigeria, must appropriately use the present challenges to begin to introduce changes to the process of political leadership recruitment in Nigeria.
“However, the first challenge now is to ensure that the CECPC has no option but to organise the APC National Convention in February 2022 as decided based on all the consultations that has taken place.
“The CECPC must be told that all consultations about organising the Convention ended with the meeting with President Buhari on November 22, 2021 and therefore the CECPC leadership should stop lying to Nigerians and APC members.
“The CECPC should also stop claiming that it is waiting for the meeting of Progressive Governors before it takes all the necessary decisions to commence the process of organising the Convention.
“Such a claim is not only dishonest but also taking the support of Progressive Governors for granted, which is why Progressive Governors have been reduced to punching bags of all party members regarding all the challenges facing the party.
“Progressive Governors, like all party members will not associate themselves with any act of disrespect to decisions validly taken in consultations with President Buhari.
“They will not take the responsibility of actions or inactions of the CECPC.
“Every responsibility of organising the Convention is vested with the CECPC.
“Therefore, in the event that the CECPC is unable to implement the decision to hold the Convention in February 2022, as decided, the leadership of the CECPC should honourably resign to save the APC, its leaders (including Progressive Governors) and members from the current spate of avoidable public embarrassment, simply because the leadership of the CECPC have decided to disrespect the decision to hold the APC National Convention in February.
“At this point, we must appeal to all APC leaders to take the issue of leadership recruitment beyond the question of loyalty.
“Given that already, 2023 electoral atmosphere is gradually setting, the temptation that choices of leaders of the party will be based on permutation for 2023 will be very significant.
“Once that is the case, the probability will be high that the soul of APC will be sacrificed in the process of assembling new leaders.
“The more the party continues to allow the leadership of the CECPC to continue to hold everyone captive and refuse to commence the process of organising the February APC National Convention, the more party leaders would have supported the CECPC in weakening the electoral prospects of the APC.
“Largely on account of delaying the implementation of decisions to organise the February APC National Convention, there is hardly any internal party preparation for the 2023 electoral contest beyond individual leaders declaring their personal aspirations for offices.
“Without any prejudice to the aspirations of leaders, it is important that the party is able to set some minimum standards for the 2023 campaigns so that individual aspirants can orient their internal party mobilisation around those minimum standards.
“APC must not make the mistake of orientating its internal party mobilisation for the emergence of candidates for 2023 elections, especially Presidential Candidate only based on personality contest.
“Personality contest will only weaken the APC and undermine the capacity of the party to link its 2023 electoral contest with the achievements of the party, especially the Federal Government led by President Buhari.
Once that is the case, the party will be strengthening the false opposition narrative about the failure of APC and President Buhari.
“If APC want to unassailably win the 2023 elections, it must take all the necessary steps to correct this false narrative.
“This can only start happening if everyone, APC leaders and members, rise to the challenge of ensuring that the CECPC faithfully implement the decision to organise the APC National Convention in February 2022.
“A major indicator for this would also include a review of the APC manifesto at the Convention.
“Unless the CECPC has given itself the new responsibility of being the political and electoral undertaker of the APC, it must stop promoting some subversive campaigns suggesting that it is undertaking ‘the immediate task of addressing contestations within the Party, litigations, fallouts of recently conducted Congresses and generally reposition the Party ahead of the National Convention.’
“Once this is the case, it simply means the CECPC’s new objective is probably to take APC to its political grave.
“This should not be acceptable!”, Lukman declared.