Edo: APC leaders must tell Oshiomhole to ‘calm down’ ― Lukman, DG Progressive Governors Forum

Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has appealed to the leadership of the party to caution the former national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to review his campaign strategy in Edo State.

Lukman in a statement issued on Friday entitled, “Progressive Politics – Which Way APC?, ” argued that the former national chairman of the party has turned the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State to a personal war between him and his estranged political son, Governor Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.

Tribune Online checks revealed that Governor Obaseki defected to the main opposition party having been denied the opportunity to contest the governorship primary of the APC where Pastor Ize Iyamu perceived as the anointed candidate of Comrade Oshiomhole emerged as a candidate.

The DG of the forum of APC governors further declared that the former APC national chairman has since hijacked the campaign in Edo state and sidelined other leaders of the party in the South-South states.

Lukman called on the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni to immediately inaugurate the national campaign committee to be led by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Appraising the campaigns led by Comrade Oshiomhole, he dismissed it as rich in personal attacks and lacking in issues that would endear the Edo electorate to Pastor Iyamu.

He said:” We need to appeal to Comrade Oshiomhole to ‘calm down’. This campaign is not about his person. More importantly, we need to stress the point that part of the political vision of any progressive is that once elected into government, we commit ourselves to issues of agricultural development, jobs creation, education, health, infrastructural development, poverty eradication and rapid technological development.

APC has ruled Edo State since the time of Comrade Oshiomhole as Governor of the state. Up to today, whatever achievement Edo State experienced under Governor Obaseki, between 2016 and now, APC must own it, just like we should be able to accept some of the setbacks. Anything Governor Obaseki is able to achieve must be credited to APC as a party. Our Edo campaign should be able to raise the awareness of Edo people that had Governor Obaseki been in PDP, it would have been impossible for him to record any achievement.

“Based on the personalised way the APC Edo State campaign is being carried out, PDP all of a sudden is coming out very strongly to campaign for votes. If the Edo State APC campaign is to go ahead this way when APC win the election who will run the affairs of the state as Governor? Is it Comrade Oshiomhole or Pastor Ize-Iyamu? If our party want Edo people to vote for our candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu must be very visible and be seen as the face of the campaign.

Comrade Oshiomhole should take a backseat and play the facilitatory role our leaders play in all similar circumstances.
“It is important that Comrade Oshiomhole endorse a situation where the party is able to apply the Lagos model to the Edo State Governorship campaign especially because we want the Edo people to be able to have confidence on our candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and believe that when they elect him, he will be the one that will govern the state.

The responsibility for ensuring that this is done rests with the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee. Good enough, they have set up a National Campaign Council under the leadership of His Excellency, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State. Governor Ganduje’s National Campaign Council should be able to assume leadership and take the necessary steps to redirect the Edo State APC campaign to have a clear progressive bearing.

As part of those steps, it should ensure that APC campaign messages appropriate all development achievements recorded under the APC administration of Governor Obaseki. In addition, we must take steps to also cut the oxygen supply to the PDP campaign, which is presenting our party and our candidate as promoters of violence. Our campaign for the Edo election should, therefore, amplify messages of peace and what we need to do to achieve that.”

The DG, PGF tasked the interim leadership of the party and other stakeholders to show more than passing interest in what he called the diminishing electoral viability of the APC. He submitted that all hands must be on deck to win back the hearts of Nigerians in the 2023 general elections when President Muhammadu Buhari would no longer be on the ballot.

“Perhaps, we need to recall that with the exception of the Presidential election of 2019, in virtually all elections between 2018 and today, in almost all cases where APC won, it was marginal. In Ekiti 2018 Governorship election, for instance, APC won with less than 20,000 votes.

In Osun State 2018 Governorship election, we had to go for rerun before we could win. This was almost the experience in virtually all cases. We lost states like Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo, etc. where it would have been guaranteed since we won these states during the Presidential election with wide margins.

One of the things that should be humbling for every APC leader and member is that whatever is our current electoral credential as a party is on account of the personal popularity of President Buhari. If that is recognised, then we need to check whether we want to take advantage of it, or we want to squander it?”

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