Those desperate to hijack APC structures are against Governor Buni ― PGF DG, Lukman

Amidst the agitation for the dissolution of the interim national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, a chieftain of the party has said that those desperate to seize control of the party structures and organs, ahead of next general elections were behind the push to oust Governor Buni team.

Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman made the declaration at the weekend in a press statement.

The party is sharply divided over demand for tenure elongation for the Governor Buni-led Caretaker Committee and its move to conduct national membership register for its faithful across the 36 states in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Those opposed to the membership register continue to insist that the update of party membership register was not necessary and a ploy for tenure elongation.

But Lukman in a statement entitled, “Nigerian Democratisation and Internal Party Contest for Leadership,” argued that certain chieftains of the party determined to foreclose healthy competition within the party were against the conduct of party registration.

“Most of the public speculations around internal dynamics in APC today is basically informed by some strategic political expectations and leadership permutations. Unfortunately, a lot of these permutations seems to be oriented based on an approach that seeks to strengthen the capacity of some leaders within APC to conquer the structures of the party.

“When members and leaders of the party, for instance, demand that issues of membership register of the party are resolved such that the party is able to have a credible and verifiable membership register, it is being interpreted to mean that some leaders of APC want to take over the party to promote their political ambition for 2023. Take over from who? Does it mean that those who claim to be in control of APC now have any credible and verifiable membership records? Why are they not able to make such records accessible to all party members and leaders?

“There is no short cut to democratisation. Internal contests for leadership based on a transparent process are irreducible minimum. Once any party cannot guarantee the existence of credible and verifiable membership records, which is up to date such a party cannot serve as a vehicle for the emergence of democratic leadership. This is the underlying factor facilitating all the current contestations going on in APC.

“Such contestations are at best marginal in other political parties including the PDP. This means that while in other parties established leaders have conquered all semblances of democratic openings for any possible exercise of power by ordinary party members, in APC, no leader can impose himself/herself as the conqueror.”

In an apparent reference to the suit instigated by the former national vice-chairman of the party, Honourable Eta, Lukman argued that the absence of an internal mechanism to resolve crisis and pacify aggrieved chieftains were responsible for recourse to Court to seek redress.

“Once we are able to institutionalise internal leadership contests in APC, some of the avoidable distractions based on manipulative strategies using both legal and extra-judicial strategies can be avoided. Absence of democracy within our parties has not only blocked open leadership contests but is criminalising political aspirations. Most of the needless court cases within our parties, including the APC, are initiated based on the anger that open and transparent leadership contest are blocked.

“A simple legal audit of all the legal cases by party members and leaders against their parties will show that the objective is mainly to negotiate leadership positions.

“Even the recent suit instituted by Mr Hilliard Eta, former APC National Vice Chairman, South-South, against the APC Caretaker Committee, it is basically aimed to negotiate the return of Mr Eta to the leadership of the APC.

“A major unfortunate collateral casualty of many of the legal cases against parties is the process of democratisation. With a daring mindset of must-win, litigants engage in legal contestations basically to destroy any electoral advantage of the party if they can’t get what they want.

“This was the case in Rivers and Zamfara State during the 2019 general elections. Today, we have so-called party leaders who engineered the APC’s electoral disaster of 2019 in Rivers and Zamfara States, proudly threatening the party leadership with more litigations every time the fear of not being able to win recognition as leaders of the party. Instead, of projecting themselves as democrats ready to contest and win or lose elections, we have politicians who are members of APC that are permanent plaintiffs in our courts.”

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