BY ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Moh Lukman, has taken a swipe as some party stalwarts, saying some party leaders always use court cases to negotiate their return to power.
Apparently reacting to the recent court case instituted by the former national vice chairman of the APC in the South-south Helliad Eta, Lukman said there is no short cut to democratisation, adding that internal contests for leadership based on transparent process are irreducible minimum.
The PGF boss also declared that no Nigerian politician controls five million votes compared to President Muhammadu Buhari’s twelve millions ready voters.
The APC chieftain further said the fact that President Buhari is serving his last term, requires some strategic succession arrangement within the APC, especially in order to guarantee the retention of all the electoral advantages.
The PGF boss believed that once APC is able to institutionalise internal leadership contests some of the avoidable distractions based on manipulative strategies using both legal and extra-judicial strategies can be avoided.
“ A major attribute is that political leaders are conquerors, while party members and ordinary citizens are the would-be conquered. Arguably, while in other parties, including the PDP, this is a well-established order, in APC, it is being highly contested. This is because since the emergence of APC, apart from the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari, no leader can be sure of emerging as a candidate of the party for any election. In the case of President Buhari, he has such a personal blessing that made him to attract at least 12 million votes in all the elections he contested since 2003. No leaders, whether in APC or out of APC can claim to be in control of 5 million votes.
“With President Buhari clearly out of the race for the position of Presidential candidate of APC in 2023, there is clearly a potential for a big internal contest in the party. The question is whether any of the power blocks within the party will take step to block internal contest and therefore emerge as the conqueror. In which case, the issue is really whether the APC leadership will allow the process of democratisation to ensure that leadership emergence both within the party and at wider political levels are determined based on the choices of party members and citizens.
“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 seek 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?