By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, at the weekend said it has become easier to conduct general election in Nigeria than for the All Progressive Congress (APC) to hold its organs’ meeting, especially National Executive Committee (NEC), due to sycophancy.
According to a statement he issued to lament the leadership crisis in APC, Lukman said “We need to recognise and appreciate that, in APC, sycophancy has weakened the capacity of our leaders to convene meetings of organs.
“It is easier to hold general elections in Nigeria today than for APC to hold NEC meetings. APC National Conventions would appear to only take place when the tenure of leaders expires after four year, notwithstanding the fact that APC constitution also makes provision for mid-term convention after two years.”
He also observed with disappointment that the party is supposed to have Board of Trustees, yet seven years after the emergence of APC, it is yet to be inaugurated, adding “In truth, one can argue that part of the functions of APC leaders, especially members of NWC is to undermine the APC constitution and be able to mobilise APC members and other Nigerians to defend such actions…these issues are being ignored in the whole assessments of problems of the party.”
While he condemned the politics of intolerance in the party, Lukman said given all the leadership problems of APC at the moment and against the overriding consideration of producing the type of tolerant leaders who should ‘live in the present, with one eye on the future’ as well as ‘right-brain and left-brain’, through democratic process, the first requirement is for APC to ensure that all organs of the party are made functional and that they accommodate all shades of opinions of members.
He cautioned that leaders of the party who preside over the organs should be challenged to develop skills to facilitate debate and build consensus out of those debates, assuring that by doing so, APC can aspire to be able to produce a leader who can build on President Buhari’s liberal candour of allowing the party to exercise its independence without engendering leadership crisis.
He warned that anything short of that, the party should be prepared to produce authoritarian leaders who will always interpret disagreement as subversion, adding that party leaders must not allow platforms provided by APC organs to be reduced to centres for legitimising authorization.
“When party leaders are criticised for these infractions, it is being translated to mean agenda for 2023. Rather than therefore allow distractions based on highlighting issues of contractual relationship that have no bearing on the challenges, the focus should be on problems of intolerance, which is the source of the leadership crisis in APC.
“In terms of how it manifests in APC, it is two-fold. The first is, what is it that should be done to ensure that the APC is able to democratise itself and based on its democratic credentials, produce the kind of leaders Nigerians are looking for? The second issue is, how can we support APC leaders to re-orient themselves in the direction of democratising the party to produce the kind of leaders Nigerians want?
“The first border on the details of the current leadership crisis in APC. The second is really about challenging our leaders to be much more tolerant and honestly engage the issues. It is not about scheming to dominate.
“If it is about scheming, then no need to expect internal democracy in our parties and we should be ready to accept all the crude practices of manipulating and producing fictitious membership register just ahead of party primary. In fact, parties don’t need members.
“Leaders should exercise the prerogative to assemble members based on capacity to accumulate/procure followership. Once we encourage our leaders to be intolerant, we should just be ready for every known democratic requirement to be undermined”, the statement said