Avoid Oshiomhole’s pitfalls, Lukman warns APC Caretaker Committee

•Says Convention must hold in June

Director-General of the forum of governors on the platform of all Progressives Congress, Salihu Lukman, has cautioned the All Progressives Congress Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, (CECPC) led by Yobe State governor, Mallam Mai Mala Buni to avoid the mistakes that led to the ouster of the National Working Committee of the party under the leadership of former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Lukman gave the warning in a statement he issued to newsmen, on Monday, in Abuja titled, “APC’s Litmus Tests.”
National Secretary of the APC CECPC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe last week announced the extension of the membership registration and revalidation exercise by three weeks, fuelling speculation that the tenure of the CECPC expected to terminate in June could be extended.

The APC National Executive Committee at its meeting held last December at the Presidential Villa had extended the tenure of the Governor Buni team till June this year for it to convene a national convention and conduct an election where new set of national officers are expected to emerge.

Lukman in his statement said the signals from the CECPC was disturbing and warned it not to shift the conduct of the gathering of the highest organ of the party, the national convention beyond June.

The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum expressed concern that the Governor Buni team, like the Comrade Oshiomhole APC NWC before it has been sidelining statutory organs of the ruling party in decision making.

He said: “Part of the expectation is that the 13-member Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Working Committee appointed by the emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of June 25, 2020, led by His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, will take steps to begin to resolve challenges facing the APC, which was difficult to achieve under the dissolved NWC. With initial tenure of six months, which was extended by another emergency NEC of December 8, 2020, to June 2021, the work of the Caretaker Committee is expected to end with a National Convention where another leadership should emerge to manage affairs of the party for another four years.

“All party members and leaders should prioritise ensuring that the Caretaker Committee is able to complete the task of organising a National Convention where new leaders of the party will be elected.

“The first test, therefore, is whether the challenges leading to the dissolution of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC are being resolved by the Caretaker Committee. To what extent, are the resolution of challenges facing the party conforming to both democratic principles and progressive ideals?

“Conforming to democratic principles require that initiatives being implemented by the Caretaker Committee are based on decisions taken by competent organs as provided in the constitution of the party.

“Progressive ideals would require painstaking approaches to guarantee the wider participation of leaders and members in the process of decision making. Both democratic principles and progressive ideals are not mutually exclusive and could be achieved by guaranteeing that meetings of organs are taking place as provided in the constitution of the party.

“Absence of meetings of organs partly contributed to most of the disaffections in the party during the tenure of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.

“To what extent has the APC Caretaker Committee distinguished itself from the old characteristics of managing the affairs of the party without meetings of organs as provided in the party’s constitution? This is the fundamental operational question, which, however, considered, would have implication in terms of whether APC leaders are taking the necessary steps to rebuild the party based on any considered vision of progressive politics.

Somehow, the reality is that in terms of convening meetings of organs of the party, for more than nine months, the Caretaker Committee has not convened any meeting of any organ of the APC apart from the emergency NEC meeting of December 8, 2020. Sadly, even the 13-member Caretaker Committee is hardly meeting.

“Part of the indication is that most decisions taken by the Caretaker Committee were done by the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni and the Secretary, Sen. Akpan Udoedehe.

“The good thing is that the major challenge of ensuring that the party is able to have a verifiable membership register is being resolved.

“But without organs meeting, as provided in the constitution of the party, where progress reports are given, what is the guarantee that the old problem of having inaccessible membership register will not be replicated.”

Lukman further warned that using the membership register as an excuse to delay the much expected national convention portends dire consequences for the party ahead of the next general elections. He advised the Governor Buni team to avoid the temptation by setting machinery in motion for the national convention.

“Given all the development in APC, especially against the background that most of the expectations around the Caretaker Committee are yet to be met, it will be important to review challenges facing the party and perhaps appeal to APC leaders to get the Caretaker Committee to urgently conclude the membership registration/verification exercise.

“The needless extension of the exercise only serves to strengthen suspicions that the Caretaker Committee is reluctant to organise a National Convention where new leadership of the party will be elected. Based on what has been done so far, the minimum requirement should be that records of members of the party are displayed in all wards and copies made available to Local Governments, States and National Secretariat.

“With membership records displayed, a timetable for Congresses and National Convention should be set. Under no circumstances should there be any contemplation of extending the tenure of the Caretaker Committee.

“In order to ensure that no extension is being considered, Committees for Congresses and National Convention should be established without any further delay. Similarly, the dates for Congresses and National Convention should be decided.”

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