Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
National Vice Chairman, Northwest, of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Salihu Moh. Lukman has described candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar and that of the New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as election merchants in the mold of Labour Party LP candidate, Peter Obi.
Describing the trio as lacking in ideology, Lukman in a statement on Sunday told Obi supporters to also recognize his shortcomings and not present him in borrowed garbs.
He said; “With reference to the so-called Obidient, as much as we respect their choice, we also must appeal to them to honestly recognize the shortcomings of Mr. Peter Obi as a politician and Labour Party LP as a political party.
“Recognizing these shortcomings will be important in convincing Nigerians that they are engaging the contest also as a strategy to reform both the person of Mr. Peter Obi and the organisation of LP as a political party. In terms of the person of Mr. Peter Obi, so far, his characteristics is that of a typical Nigerian politician who is more of an election merchant presenting himself every four years for election, even if it means changing political party.
“Being an election merchant connotes obvious lack of commitment and discipline to be loyal to any political party. This partly explains why Mr. Obi moved from All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA to Peoples Democratic Party PDP and now LP between 2015 and now. What is the guarantee that his candidature of LP also bears a commitment to develop the LP and get it to overcome all its challenges. Noting that it is a public knowledge that LP has been embroiled in leadership crisis, how is Mr. Obi using his campaign to negotiate the resolution of LP crisis. From a distant point of view, Mr. Obi is in fact indifferent to the crisis facing LP”, he stated.
Lukman noted that beyond being indifferent, Mr Obi is clearly alien to any ideological standpoint that can bring him close to the working class, which is the primary constituency of LP.
He said; “Some of us are privileged to have been intellectually and organically connected to that constituency. In fact, I am privileged to have managed the project which conceived and facilitated the initial negotiation between Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and its partners, notably civil society, which produced the LP in 2003. Part of the reality facing LP had to do with the close shop mentality of labour leaders, which blocked the party from being open to other Nigerians outside the mainstream labour movement”.
He said apart from Obi, any other politician with the characteristics of changing political parties for the purpose of contesting elections, is not what Nigeria needs today.
“Without prejudice to my respect for Alh. Atiku Abubakar and Sen. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, they are both in the same category with Mr. Obi. Alh. Atiku has been either a Presidential candidate or aspirant in every election in different parties since 2007. Sen. Kwankwaso has moved from PDP to APC, back to PDP between 2015 and 2019, before finally forming New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in 2022 and presenting himself as the Presidential candidate of the party for 2023 election.
“Out of all the leading candidates, the only one that has never left his party to any party is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is the only one that although he has been a national political leader since he left office as Governor of Lagos State in 2007 that is presenting himself for the first time as a Presidential candidate for the 2023 elections. In addition, he is the only contestant who together with other leaders of APC envisioned the political roadmap for the defeat of PDP. Together with President Muhammadu Buhari they provided the inspirational leadership that successfully negotiated the emergence of APC in 2013. The formation of APC was the first successful merger negotiation of opposition parties in Nigeria. It was also the first opposition to defeat a ruling party in 2015”, he declared.
According to him, it is interesting for anyone to suggest that a Mr. Obi who within a week of his exit out of PDP and joining LP can inspire any hope of emerging as an accountable President.
He said in the case of Atiku, the level of intolerance and mismanagement of internal leadership disputes should frighten every patriotic Nigerian about entrusting the leadership of the country to such a person.
“Sen. Kwankwaso’s politics present him as philosopher king which only revolves around his person and any opposition will not be allowed.
“The emergence of Asiwaju as the Presidential candidate of APC was the product of open internal contest in APC. Unlike most of the Presidential candidates of the other opposition parties, Asiwaju was not a product of imposition. It can also be argued that Alh. Atiku also won PDP primary. However, the difference between Asiwaju and Alh. Atiku is the ability to successful negotiate and win the support of other party leaders who contested against him. Today, all those who contested against Asiwaju in APC are working for his victory”, he contended.
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