Indications emerged yesterday that there may be a crack in the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) about two after it came on board as one of the members, Salihu Lukman, has accused the national chairman of wielding the party back to the Adams Oshiomhole and the Mai Mala Buni eras.
It became obvious that the party could be heading towards a fresh crisis when a letter by the former director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) titled, Rebuilding APC: Need for New Initiative, and addressed to the APC national chairman, Adamu, was made public.
Lukman also accused Adamu of not attending to the conditions of party leaders, including the NWC members, adding that the official excuse given by the national chairman is that he requested a budget.
He said, “After two months now in office, no decision has been taken to pay members of the NWC.
“The specific details of entitlements of NWC members are being reduced to speculations. This is very unhealthy and should be corrected. Partly, this is giving legitimacy to many unethical practices, which would appear to be influencing the conduct of some members of the NWC”.
Accusing Adamu of sliding the party towards the part toed by one of his predecessors, Oshiomhole, Lukman alleged that decisions taken at NWC meetings are not implemented and even if they are implemented, they are done with modifications.
Citing the decision to reorganise the party’s national secretariat as an instance, Lukman decried the manner in which critical duties of the NWC, including the activities leading to the party’s special convention is handled.
He said if not for the adjustment of the deadline for party primaries by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the governing would have been stumbled in fulfilling its obligation to members.
The NWC member noted that he had made efforts to personally meet with Adamu and discuss the issues he raised in the 3-page letter to no avail, necessitating his decision to write an open letter to the APC national chairman.
He stated that the APC was shoddy in handling preparations for the party’s presidential primary, alleging that critical committees that should have handled the arrangements, including the screening committee were not constituted 24 hours to the May 29th date.
Hitting hard at Adamu, he told the national chairman to show leadership in handling the party and relating with party stakeholders.
Lukman stated in the letter: “The big challenge is ensuring that decisions taken are faithfully implemented. The inability of previous leadership under His Excellency, Adams Oshiomhole, and His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni to implement decisions taken were partly responsible for the leadership crisis that confronted the party.
“Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along.
“No doubt, given all the challenges inherited and coming at a time when it’s extremely difficult to control events and almost everything would appear to have been set against the party and its leadership, we need to take every measure to avoid past pitfalls.
“Perhaps, it is important to acknowledge that, as National Chairman, you have raised the expectations of many of us in the NWC, and by extension many party leaders. For instance, the whole idea of setting up a transition committee, which took stock of what we have inherited, was your singular initiative. The report of the committee was, to say the least very shocking.
“Apart from the fact that there were more than 200 employees in the party’s National Secretariat, most of whom without valid letters of employment, there were no standardized conditions of service. Statutory requirements for taxations, pensions and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws are not being respected. There were claims by legal firms about liability owed for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
“All these were partly responsible for why many of the party’s bank accounts were blocked by subsisting court judgements, most of which copies are not available at the National Secretariat, which with your guidance the Party’s Legal Department is able to resolve.
“Partly based on your recommendations and insistence, to reform the Secretariat, the NWC decided to send all the Directors on leave pending the outcome of our investigation. It is clear to every discerning member of the NWC that many of the Directors, if not all, would have to go. it is also clear that. apart from the Directors, there are many workers in the Secretariat that should go.
“However, important and laudable as these decisions would appear to be, is inadequate if it is not matched with initiatives to standardize operational practices in the National Secretariat, especially in terms of ensuring that employment requirement conforms with extant labour laws.
“As the ruling party, this must be guaranteed. As things are, we have suspended every initiative to reform the Secretariat, understandably so given all the challenges of meeting deadlines for electing party candidates for the 2023 general elections.
“The danger is that what we inherited will soon become the accepted practice and new Directors and workers would be employed without any commitment to meeting provisions of the law with respect to employment standards. The other challenge is how as NWC we seem to be handling very critical responsibilities of managing affairs of the party very casually.”