As the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) continues to reposition itself ahead of the 2023 elections, Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman has called for total auditing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to strengthening the party’s bureaucracy.
Lukman, who stated this in a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, also called on Nigeria to learn from the United States of American by also strengthening her institutions.
He commended the American political institutions on how they rose above partisanship and ensured that the United States President, Donald Trump was not allowed to subvert the democratic process.
He said, “there is the need to undertake an audit of what currently exists as the party’s Secretariat, its functions and personnel”.
“For instance, how is it structured to provide services to the APC as provided by the constitution of the party? Are there supportive rules provided for the operations of the party bureaucracy? How effective has the application of those rules be? What is required to strengthen the rules guiding the discharge of functions of the Secretariat?
“How are the personnel of the Secretariat recruited? Are there standard recruitment guidelines, highlighting qualification requirements? How can the process be strengthened?
“The third issue is the question of funding. How is the work of the Secretariat funded? Once funding is not guaranteed, it will affect the quality of personnel and also the proposals and recommendations which they make”, Lukman submitted.According to him, while it is very easy to raise these questions, it is however extremely difficult to get them to the level of actionable consideration by APC leaders.
“The fact that as members of APC we can raise these issues present some advantages for the party. As far as PDP is concerned these are issues that are foreclosed. As a party, PDP has over the years lived in complete denial of all its internal organisational challenges. Therefore, the issue of building the PDP as a strong institution is limited to winning elections, as far as PDP leaders and members are concerned. If anything, the lived experiences of PDP confirms that winning elections is not the same as strengthening the party. Even with weaker parties, elections can be won”, he added.
On funding, it would be recalled that the past National Working Committee members led by the former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee had traded words over the money that came into the party’s coffers through the sales of the nomination and expression of interest forms and the money left on the coffers of the part.
While it was alleged that the NWC squandered N16 billion raised through the sales of forms, the NWC also alleged that it left N6 billion in the coffers of APC before they left.
Further, he said, “As Nigerians, we must wake up to the reality that there cannot be a strong democracy without strong political parties. Once our political leaders are unable to orient themselves to respect and recognise proposals from the party’s bureaucracy, they will be weak in respecting, recognising or working with proposals from government bureaucracies when elected to office. There is no shortcut to these issues!
“Once our parties are unable to recognise and respect the value of bureaucracies to guide processes of decision making and implementation within the party, elected leaders that they produce would most likely go into government with a mindset that at best disregard proposals and recommendations from civil service and other government bureaucracies”.
“This can only breed administrative authoritarianism, which as argued by Camilla Stivers in the book Bureaucracy, and the Study of Administration, ‘Administrative authoritarianism, officiousness, and arbitrariness are much more serious threats to the rights and liberties of the individual… The real protection of the citizens lies in the development of a high degree of democratic consciousness among the administrative hierarchy.’
“For us to be able to develop the needed democratic consciousness among the hierarchy of our political leaders, we need to focus ourselves on issues that will support the development of strong bureaucracies in our parties. As things are, what exists as bureaucracies in our political parties are highly fragile and hardly guide processes of decision making and implementation.”