Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has urged leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid mistakes that could advantage the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the the 2023 elections
Lukman maintained that the nation’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP can hardly pose any challenge to the All Progressives Congress, insisting that PDP’s electoral victories are largely dependent on the failures of the APC.
The PGF boss in a statement he issued on Monday in Abuja dismissed PDP as a shadowy party however tasked leaders of the APC to take steps, saying the ruling party is now its own biggest opposition.
The party chieftain noted that APC lost states like Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and Edo in the last governorship elections to internal rivalry, and not really to the opposition.
He said, “An inconvenient reality, which every APC leader and member, committed and working to protect the electoral viability of the party, should be worried about is that the strongest opponent of the APC is within the APC.
“The truth is, other parties, especially the PDP, are shadow opposition whose electoral prospects are largely dependent on the outcome of internal contests in the APC, mainly because of the reckless and undisciplined conducts of some APC leaders.
“If anything, the lesson from the 2019 elections, which every APC leader and the member should be reminded is that APC was defeated in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and many other places by aggrieved APC leaders who worked against candidates or leaders of the party as a result of internal disagreements around candidate selections for Governorship of these states.
“Such internal disagreement almost cost the party the loss of Imo State until the Supreme Court confirmed the victory of the APC. In Ogun, it was a traumatic victory. Kano State governorship election certainly had its baggage of painful experiences. Lagos State was a shocking narrow victory, no thanks to avoidable challenges. Rambo political contest led to the loss of Edo State in the 2020 Governorship election”, he stated.
He said once APC can manage the process of internal contest for the emergence of candidates of the party for 2023 elections such that all those who contested with the winners can accept the outcomes as well as support the candidates, it is possible for the party to continue to enjoy all the electoral advantages associated with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“How the party is able to manage the process of the internal contest is now the challenge. The biggest problem in politics, which compromises both leaders and members and weakens the capacity to provide generic support to candidates irrespective of who emerges is the personal ambitions of leaders for elective and appointive positions.
“Most times, leaders and members relate with challenges based on estimation of potentials to win support to access elective and appointive positions. Hardly do leaders and members take initiatives to resolve challenges without some associated expectations, which could be linked to opportunities to access elective and appointive positions”, Lukman stated.
He also advised that certain conditions be put in place to regulate the conduct of political leaders especially elected representatives.
According to him, given that APC has become the go-to party in Nigerian politics, the need to regulate the conduct of party leaders is paramount. “Inability to develop the capacity to regulate the conducts of party leaders will be injurious to the vision of developing the APC as a truly progressive party. As much as it is a welcome development that the party is winning new members, there must be corresponding effort to regulate the conduct of party leaders, based on which efforts are made to provide new orientation to all party leaders, especially the newcomers”, he said.
Lukman added that part of the reasons why the conduct of party leaders must be regulated has to do with the need to ensure respect for minimum standards of internal political contests.
According to him, many political leaders especially people who contested primary elections with successful party candidates expect some level of compensation by way of accessing other positions in government, especially appointive positions.