APC Convention: Between the caretaker and the undertaker
Since the garb of the director general was unceremoniously removed from his neck, the erstwhile Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has decided to untame his pen of fury against the leadership of the party again. This time, he wrote as a “Freelance APC Campaigner”. Foul breath of bitterness oozed from his latest attack on the party through a supposed open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari. Since discipline and respect to party authorities are not his forte, it is important to school Lukman since he is idiosyncratic in attacking the party hierarchy.
The claim by Dr Lukman, a hired gun of the 3rd Force proponents bent on killing the party, that there is no sign of a convention is not only laughable but indicative of the fact that the erstwhile PGF DG is a confusion merchant. The Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) rolled out a timetable towards actualising a convention to remember. The committee has received reports from the Reconciliation Committee and has issued Certificates of Return to the state chairmen.
On the setting up of sub-committees ahead of the convention, the date for the release of the list of sub-committees was slated for February 19. But Dr Lukman was already crying wolf on February 15.
Regularly, the secretary of the CECPC, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, has been briefing reporters on the level of preparedness of the committee for the convention. But Lukman said the committee has not been communicating. How else do you communicate? APC is an organised party and not a confused circle like the orchestrators of the 3rd Force mirage.
There is no truth in the speculations of postponement and a grand plan to ensure the convention does not hold. It is also wrong to accuse the CECPC chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of sit-tightism and an agenda to self-perpetuate. These allegations are frivolous, malicious, unintelligent, narrow and indicative of the scheming by the hirers of Lukman. Buni has been the best thing to have happened to our dear party at a tumultuous time. He has grown the party to 41 million members, nine million more than the entire population of Ghana. He has digitalised the party and brought in high profile members into the party. He has successfully conducted congresses at the wards, Local Government and state levels. And he has reconciled the party significantly as well as set the stage for a great convention. He would be remembered by history as one of the greatest leaders our party got to know.
On the issue of zoning and sale of forms, we are very much aware of the fact that our forms are ready. But party leaders are working on the issue of the possibility of zoning. The issue of whether the party will adopt zoning or not must be resolved before the aspirants would know what forms to buy. You can’t make people buy forms and then zone the positions away from their zones. If there won’t be zoning, aspirants will know what to do.
The fears of Lukman are the fears of his paymasters who drove him into trouble, ran him out of PGF Secretariat, ran him into disrepute and now running him against the tides of time. APC has never been stronger than it is now. We have 22 governors that are committed to the party and leaders across the geopolitical zones are poised to ensure the party remains unplugged from her support base which is populated by the masses of Nigeria.
It is characteristic falsehood that the party is waning. We are waxing stronger. It is expectedly discomforting to Lukman that the party is not heading to the doom he prophesied two years ago.
Buni had blended the talents and political sagacity of members of the caretaker committee to successfully revive the APC “which is now revving on high turbocharger as the leading, largest and winning political party in Nigeria.”
The committee has successfully discharged its basic assignments beyond expectations.
Regardless of the short-lived squabbles over the recent ward, local government and state congresses, the APC is the most sought-after political party in the country. This is an additional highpoint achieved by the Buni-led committee.
More than 40 million Nigerians have registered as its partisans. There are many reasons for the mass rush into the party, including the most Buhari’s purposeful leadership, the good deeds of APC progressive governors and the good performance of legislators elected under its banner.
Buni corroborated the claim on January 13.
“The APC conducted a very successful membership registration and revalidation exercise. We now have over 41 million registered members across the country, with full details of every member.
“APC remains Africa’s largest political party and Nigeria’s ruling party with a population that will always win elections,” he said.
The APC has at least one member elected on its platform in more than 90 per cent of the states of the federation. It has absolute majority in more than half of the 36 in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. This is not a sign of a party heading for the undertaker. In fact, it shows a party under a good caretaker.
The party is clearing political bumps, settling internal disputes and extending its arms to millions of Nigerians to join its fold.
When the Caretaker Committee presented its report to him at the State House, President Buhari said: “With the work done by the committee, the party has bounced back to life.”
Another achievement of the committee was the winning for the APC family, three sitting state governors and scores of parliamentarians from other political parties. The ruling party has in the Buni era gained a lot of political capital from the political misfortunes of the PDP.
Significantly, President Buhari is working with the caretaker committee and other stakeholders of the party to build APC into a fortress. The likes of Dr Lukman should jettison their doomsday prophecies and embrace the ambience of peace and greatness that Buni has built around the party.
Party members and leaders need to keep supporting the Buni-led CECPC in order to pilot the party into triumph come 2023. The caretaker is certainly not the undertaker.
Ayegbege writes in from Ojoo, Ibadan, Oyo State.