Director-general of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, yesterday opposed the zoning of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) offices.
PGF is the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of the (APC.
Speaking at the 2022 APC Stakeholders’ Summit in Abuja yesterday to chart the way forward for the party, Lukman described zoning of party offices as blind trust put in place by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a keynote address at the event with the theme: “Rebuilding the APC of our Dreams,” the DG said, “I do not believe in the zoning put in place by the PDP over the years, what I will call ‘blind trust’. Give people responsibility based on trust and that will not take us anywhere. I think it is high time we started raising issues and with due respect to people who are aspiring for the position of national chairman, I know virtually all of them, they know what to do.
“My preference would be that leaders have to sit down and look at members they have across the country. I tell you there are five critical positions from our last experience. We need to be very clear about that. The two deputy national chairman, any one of them has to be ready to assume the position of national chairman. The national secretary is very fundamental. We need a competent secretary, because without a competent secretary, the bureaucracy of the party will be weak.
“The legal adviser’s office is very delicate. He must be competent. If you don’t take time, courts will be running the affairs of the party. So, if you have a very strong legal adviser, the party will be protected. National organizing secretary has to be good at negotiating the candidates’ selection process.
“National publicity secretary is about communication. Now, if you ask me and I have written severally about it, what is our greatest weakness as a party and as a government, I would say it is that our communication is almost zero. What is going on today is that the PDP is having a voice because we are not communicating. They will tell us we are corrupt. These are people who took $2. 1 billion and shared amongst themselves and they are now having a voice.
“Therefore, we must appeal to our leaders, instead of doing this blind approach to zoning, search for very competent people. Part of the problem where it is almost impossible is because of the fundamental issue; our leaders want people who are loyal to them, that can guarantee their emergence as candidates at different levels.” But we need to remind our leaders that experiences from 1999 to date have indicated that such a system never guarantees political safety,” he said.
On his part, a national chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, said the APC national convention would be held in February.
He said, “Like you all know and I am sure you are well informed about the meetings that are going on in the party. Definitely, the convention will hold but you must allow those who have been saddled with the responsibility to come up with the most appropriate time which I believe they hinted before that it will be in February.”
Another national chairmanship aspirant, Senator Muhammed Sani Musa, cautioned the APC against a return to the PDP era, even as he urged party stakeholders to build on the legacies of the APC.
The convener of APC Rebirth Group and organisers of the summit, Aliyu Audu, implored APC leaders to ensure that the youths are given enough slots.
He said, “The idea is just to assemble vibrant young minds who are members of the party, the youth and the not so young people who have given their all to the party. We have seen some achievements under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari but we have equally seen a lot of disappointments with the way our party has been managed over the years.”