Mallam Salihu Lukman, the National Vice Chairman for North-West, has written to the Progressive Governors’ Forum to express his disagreement with its claimed selection of former Kano Governor Dr Abdullahi Ganduje to succeed Senator Abdullahi Adamu as National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.
Such an endorsement, according to Lukman, would be unjust to President Bola Tinubu and Ganduje himself.
His threat was contained in a leaked letter written on July 21 and addressed to Hope Uzondimma, the Chairman of the PGF and Governor of Imo State. The letter is headlined, ‘APC National Chairman: PGF should serve as the Conscience of APC.’
A copy of the letter, made available to our correspondent, was also sent to the president, members of the APC National Working Committee, and Ganduje.
The Kaduna politician stated that he found it troubling that the APC governors under Uzodimma’s leadership could be thinking of adopting the former Kano governor as the next helmsman of the APC.
He said, “While it is within the right of Progressive Governors being a very critical power bloc within the APC to endorse any candidate for the position of National Chairman, to make such decision public in whatever manner is unfair to both President Bola Tinubu and other leaders of the party who are not members of PGF. It is even unfair to Dr. Ganduje who is being endorsed.
I have served PGF between August 2013 and February 2022 as Director General. I am fully conversant with the conventional approach toward managing consultations between PGF and the party. Whenever PGF is privileged to reach an agreement with the President, being the party leader, on matters affecting the party, PGF takes necessary steps to first meet with the NWC or at the least the National Chairman. Where such decisions require pronouncement by organs of the party, PGF uses its influence within the party to negotiate the buy-in of members of the relevant organs. That has been the tradition.”
Continuing, the APC chieftain stated that as a member of NWC, he felt slighted to first read about the report of the endorsement in the media.
According to him, the move reeks of the same constitutional violation and undermining of party organs that Adamu and the erstwhile former National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, were accused of.
Lukman further appealed to the governors to play their conventional role as the conscience of the party by sticking with the zoning arrangement instead of zoning the APC chairman’s position out of North-Central.
“Given the implication of such endorsement in terms of being unjust and unfair to the North Central region and given that the position of the National Chairman is zoned to North Central based on which zoning for leadership of National Assembly was decided, it simply suggests that the PGF has deviated from its traditional role of acting as the conscience of the party.
If PGF is to act as the conscience of the party, even if assuming as it is being promoted in the public that the endorsement is coming from President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the PGF I know would have taken every step to convince the President otherwise and if the President insisted, they would have shielded the President by owning the decision. But to handle the endorsement in the way it appears in the public is unfair to President Asiwaju Tinubu and unfair to Dr. Ganduje who is being alleged to have put so much pressure on the President, which is not true.
I want to strongly appeal to Your Excellency, as the PGF Chairman to kindly return PGF to its conventional role of acting as the conscience of the party by ensuring that the party always takes the right decisions, which will protect the interest of every member, every region and all interest. The PGF under Your Excellency’s leadership must not be seen to be promoting or condoning decisions that are liable to acts of injustice and unfairness to any member, section of the country, or interest,” Lukman stated in the letter.
However, the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka has flayed the position of the national vice chairman for North-West, saying his view does not reflect the position of the ruling party.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, Morka said contrary to Lukman’s position, the party is committed to Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.
He said, “While individual Party leaders and members retain their right to express their personal thoughts and opinions, they do not represent the official position of the NWC or the Party. The official position of the NWC on the subject of succession to any vacant offices of the NWC or any other subject will be communicated via the official channels of the NWC.
Change in the life of any individual or institution is constant and inevitable. As Africa’s largest political Party, our demonstrated capacity to adapt to change and emergent realities always stands us out and sets us beyond the wishes of doomsayers. We remain committed to the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration towards uplifting the quality of life of all Nigerians.”
The party image maker also faulted the report that the agitation for Adamu and Omisore’s successors may have caused or deepened a crisis in the party.
Morka who was away from the country when the two party leaders threw in their towels, described the resignations as “a normal part of the democratic process”
“Quite to the contrary, there is no crisis in the Party. APC stands as one strong, dynamic, resilient, and progressive Party. The resignations under reference only show the high level of institutional maturity and quality of its leadership that place the best interest of the Party first and above personal egos and ambitions. The rapid and seamless succession, in acting capacities, to both offices exemplifies the cogency of its constitutional processes.
Trending reports in sections of the media suggesting disharmony among members of the National Working Committee or between the NWC and other critical sections of the party’s leadership around the possible successor to the office of National Chairman are purely speculative. All sections of the Party’s college of leadership stand united in the quest for a more progressive Party,” he said.