Former member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Moh’ Lukman, has expressed confidence in the ability of President Bola Tinubu to reform the governing party to achieve the visions of the founding fathers.
He also denied insinuation that he was against the administration of President Tinubu and the leadership of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the National Chairman of APC.
Lukman’s vote of confidence for Tinubu was contained in a statement titled, “Why Political Parties in Nigeria should be Reformed”, he released to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
The former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) noted that the ruling party is lucky to have as its leader President Tinubu who was part of the pro-democracy struggle that brought an end to military rule in the country in 1999.
Debunking the allegation of his opposition to President Tinubu-led administration, the former National Vice Chairman (North West) of APC, said having been actively involved in all the contestations within the party leading to the emergence of Tinubu, he decided to document some of the experiences, which is now contained in the publication “APC and Transition Politics.”
Shedding light on the book, Lukman said: “Part of the motivation is also to clarify many of the allegations against me that I am against the leadership of President Tinubu. I must say very clearly, that I disagreed with President Tinubu’s decision to nominate Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman of APC but I respect and accept the fact that Dr. Ganduje is today the National Chairman.
“I also have strong concerns about the direction taken by the Federal Government under the leadership of President Tinubu. Under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu, we have sadly produced an irritating political reality whereby the North-Central region is marginalised. I fear that at the rate we are going, with all the lowly rating of former President Buhari, if care is not taken, he may turn out to be more progressive.”
While recalling his experiences as a pro-democracy activist, Lukman explained that his calls for reforms in the ruling party were responsible for the tag of being controversial to some persons within the party.
He said: “We are not and we will never abandon the campaign for democracy in Nigeria. Whatever is responsible for the current orientation can be surmounted and should be conquered. We will not degrade ourselves to becoming antagonists of our party and President Tinubu.
“We are confident that our party is blessed with leaders who are capable of initiating processes of reform to return our party to its founding vision of becoming a progressive party. We are also confident that President Tinubu is a committed Democrat and truly a progressive politician. We were never wrong in our estimation that out of all the 23 leaders who aspired to become our Presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections, he was best qualified.
“Therefore, as party members and leaders we must continue to engage him to live up to all the promises we made to Nigerians since 2015. We must work hard and make all the necessary sacrifices to ensure that both President Tinubu and the APC succeed in moving Nigerian democracy forward. Moving Nigerian democracy forward is about promoting political competition in the country.
“A situation whereby a few people have taken over our party, APC, and are doing everything possible to block internal competition within the party is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. This was, and still is, the problem of PDP. It was one of the fundamental issues APC promised to change in 2015, which won the support of Nigerians.
“As Nigerian citizens committed to democracy, we must go back to the drawing board and begin the campaign to reform our political parties in Nigeria to guarantee internal political competition. It is only when internal political competition is achieved within political parties that wider national competition can be achieved. Once we fail to guarantee internal competition within parties, the current reality of excessive manipulation, through the rigging of elections, vote buying, and other criminality would continue.”