From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General, All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is too weak an opposition to wrestle power from the ruling party in the 2023 presidential election.
He however, noted that the big challenge facing the ruling party ahead of the Presidential poll is the ability of its leaders to take the necessary steps to retain all the towering electoral advantages of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PGF DG further argued that such effort will require the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to complete its tasks of returning party organs to normal operations in line with provisions of the APC Constitution.
While insisting that there is the need to depart from the political convention in Nigeria whereby leaders relate with everyone based on estimation of support or opposition of ambitions to access appointive and elective positions.
According to the statement he issued in Abuja on Monday, titled: “Determining factors for 2023 contests in APC, the PGF DG noted that APC will be its biggest enemy.
Exploring the party’s chances of winning the presidential poll, Lukman argued that since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has remained a shadow opposition, the strongest opponent of the APC is within the APC.
“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 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 argued.
Writing further, he noted: “It is conventional to all democracies that parties in power always have the higher advantage of winning elections.
“To that extent, APC has all the advantage of winning the 2023 elections. The big challenge is whether APC leaders will take the necessary steps to retain all the towering electoral advantages of President Buhari, which will require first and foremost that the Caretaker Committee is able to complete its tasks of returning party organs to normal operations in line with provisions of the APC Constitution. This should be followed by allowing organs of the party to take decisions, which should be the basis for the unity of all leaders of the party.
“There is also the need to depart from the political convention in Nigeria whereby leaders relate with everyone based on estimation of support or opposition of ambitions to access appointive and elective positions. This create the problem of blind trusts, which in turn can lead to a situation whereby appointed officials of governments controlled by the party are more or less passengers.
“Once appointed official become passengers, the capacity of the party and governments it controls to engage Nigerians and win public support will be weak. This can produce the unacceptable reality whereby both the party and governments it controls face challenges of bad public image.
“Taking every step to ensure that conducts of party leaders are regulated to conform to minimum standards is therefore necessary to ensure that all appointive officials of APC controlled government are able to develop comparative scorecards ahead of the 2023 elections.
“APC must take all the necessary steps to ensure that campaigns for 2023 are based on assessment of empirical evidence of performance and not perception,” he noted in the statement.