By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, has earned that if the All Progressive Congress (APC) must rise above personality if it wishes to win the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Salihu Lukman said to win the election, APC must do things that require that people get inspired to believe the party represents their interest for the future, pointing out that this is why he is concerned about the messages that are coming out of the campaign.
“It is basically almost about libellous statements and interestingly, the flagoff of the campaigns on Saturday, especially for those who watched it, several times, Comrade Adams was speaking, got interrupted by disclaimer messages from the TV station because the statements were too libellous.
“Now, that is not the kind of campaign that will inspire voters to believe in our party. I think as a progressive party and I feel very strongly about it, and I will emphasize that I do not speak as the Director of the PGF, I am speaking as Salihu Lukman, who is a member of APC and a Nigerian, that is committed to the belief that this country and her politics can move forward and that we can have contest without conflicts and that is what is required and that is what APC should represent.
“I think we need to convey the message and I want to appeal to all our leaders and I want to convey the message through you; the campaigns in Edo must not be approached as a do-or-die affair. We must approach it based on the conviction that we want to earn the trust of the Edo people to vote for us and I don’t want to labour too much on that”, he said.
He expressed more worry that from all indications, they are having a situation whereby the politics of the party is becoming polluted by so many acts of blackmails and bullying, saying even the statements of Senate spokesman, Senator Bashiru, is a blackmail.
“Their approach is to get those of us who are critical to keep quiet. If you don’t keep quiet, it means you are engaging in anti party activities. I think we must summon the courage and say, no we are not doing anti party activities, but we cannot keep quiet and allow the party to be damaged.
“I believe President Muhammadu Buhari is giving the party the right leadership to get all the crisis resolved. But for us to succeed and get the party crisis completely resolved, we need a situation whereby the old conflict should not continue to hunt us”, the PGF DG said.
He said the APC politics is no longer about comrade Adams Oshiomole, adding that the party should not be dragged back to a situation where members are either for Comrade Adams Oshiomole or they are against him, arguing that to win Edo should not be based on whether they are supporting Oshiomole or they are against him.
“We have passed that stage. This is the time we should work as a united body and to work towards the fact that we are really ready to win the elections. And for that to happen, the caretaker committee under Mai Mala Buni must be left to work and that is why I thought we really need to put out some proposals and the proposals are there.
“In allowing it to work, I think we still need to appeal again that the situation that was obtained under Comrade Adams must not be allowed whereby the main business of the party must be all about Edo. If you remember especially under comrade Adams, for months immediately after the 2019 election, everything about the party was about Edo, the conflict between him and Gov. Obaseki.
“Now, we are facing the election and as far as I am concerned, it is not about Obaseki because he is out of the party. Our business is now to win elections. So, let us work as a body but while that is going on, the caretaker committee should be allowed to function without the distraction of what is going on in Edo since they have set up a campaign council, lit drive it.
“I have raised the issue that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole should not be the face of the campaigns because we have a candidate. We already have a model and Lagos is a model and we can borrow from there”, he said.
“The last point I want to raise is that, you see now that blackmail has taken over and for whatever reason, Edo is taking precedence over every other problem we have in the party. Our leaders have been blackmailed into adopting a campaign format that compromise the health and safety of the edo people. I think the appeal at this point is that if Comrade Adams and what he is doing in Edo compromises the health and safety of the people of Edo, our party should be able to correct that”, he said.