The former Director-General of Progressive Governors’ Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman has said that his decision to resign as a result of the tyrannic posture of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said following the announcement that the national convention of the party will hold on February 26, party leaders must ensure the new leadership of the party that will emerge at the Convention will be tolerant to criticism and be democratic.
Lukman, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said since the news filtered out on Monday about his resignation, many party leaders, friends, family members and well-wishers have reached out to him with words of support and encouragement.
He said, “I can confirm that it is true I have given my resignation to Forum Chairman, His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. I restrained myself from making any public statement on the matter because I am still awaiting acceptance.
It is true that my decision to resign from the position is to enable me to continue with the campaign to return APC to its founding vision, which is to build a party that is not only democratic but oriented based on social democratic principles.”
The party chieftain revealed that the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu has urged him to continue his campaign to return APC to its founding vision.
He said following the news of his resignation, many party leaders and members called to express their worries, adding that one of the party leaders who honoured him with an invitation to meet him late on Tuesday was Tinubu.
He noted that Tinubu commended him for championing the campaigns to reform the party and expressed shock that some members of the Forum were intolerant to criticism.
Lukman said Tinubu argued that any party leader who would not accommodate critical opinion on fundamental issue such as respecting decisions and especially a matter as sensitive as organising the National Convention, which is the highest organ of the party, such a person is not a democrat and shouldn’t be associated with a party envisioned to be progressive, such as the APC.
“With these words, he encouraged me to continue with my campaign, which is what the party needs,” he said.
Lukman stressed that Tinubu declared his support to all decisions of President Buhari to ensure that the APC Convention is held in February 2022.
He added: “Since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contests in the APC began to degenerate, while some leaders became intolerant and conducted themselves almost as tyrants.”
Lukman pointed out that some party leaders in the bid to emerge as candidates of the party for offices became hostile, while the party campaign drifted to almost war situations in many instances.
He stressed that every campaign to get the leadership of the party to commence the process of internal reform was resisted.
Lukman added that organs of the party stopped meetings as required by the constitution, while views of party leaders became decisions of the party.
He, however, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari disagreed with what was going on in the party and supported the campaign for reform.
Lukman said without going into all the details, the inspiration to set up the current Caretaker Committee came from Buhari based on the expectation of ensuring that the drift in the party was arrested.
He stressed that this was expected to produce a new leadership, which should emerge at the party’s National Convention.
Lukman added, “Once the Caretaker Committee began to show signs of reluctance to organise the Convention, it should be a source of concern to all party members desirous of reform.”