From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Moh. Lukman, has said that the party’s change slogan was affected by lack of mobilisation programme to win the support of Nigerians.
Lukman, in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja, further noted that one of the big gaps confronting the APC, which unfortunately makes it easy for opposition politicians to dent the party and its governments’ is the absence of mobilisation programme to engage Nigerians to take responsibility in their different fields of endevours in responding to challenges facing the country.
He also noted that the inability of government to raise awareness of Nigerians for danger signals in different communities, conducts by citizens, including community leaders are constituting risk factors and indicative of security challenges.
“Ideally, being responsive and representative should compel political parties and leaders to be more guided by rules and routine and to that extent ‘sensitive to context and perspective.’ Without going into analysis of Nigeria’s political history, especially under the Fourth Republic, it is hardly disputable that PDP mismanaged and squandered opportunities for 16 years between 1999 and 2015.
“No need to go into details as that is not the focus. What is more important at this point is the recognition that it was easy for Nigerians to register their support for APC, and on that account voted PDP out of power in 2015.
“Of course, there were contextual factors, which made the APC to win the support of Nigerians. These factors include the successful merger of defunct opposition parties combined with relatively transparent processes of candidate selection for the 2015 elections, especially the Presidential Candidate, together with all the inspiring campaign promises and the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Presidential Candidate of the APC.
“With all these, the APC was able to win the 2015 elections and Nigerians had very high expectations. The question is, to what extent did the APC and its governments meet or are meeting the expectations of Nigerians? What are the challenges and how is the APC and its governments responding to these challenges? Compared to PDP, how different is the APC?
“No need for the familiar debates of PDP vs APC here. The fundamental issue is the question of the extent to which APC leaders and members are responding to challenges. Are we taking responsibility? The good thing is that, in APC, leaders are not in denial of the challenges. This was not the case with PDP before 2015 and up this moment.
“However, being members of the APC, we should be able to acknowledge too that although, the slogan of the APC is Change, which underlines the commitment of the party and its leadership to bring about change in the country, the programmatic details as articulated in the party’s manifesto require a mobilisation programme in order to win the support of Nigerians.
“One of the big gaps confronting the APC, which unfortunately makes it easy for opposition politicians to dent the party and its governments’ is the absence of mobilisation programme to engage Nigerians to take responsibility in their different fields of endevours in responding to challenges facing the country.
“Getting Nigerians to take responsibility in their different fields of endevours in responding to challenges facing the country is a critical success factor in terms of producing the change envisioned by the APC and its leadership as articulated in the manifesto of the party.
“Inability of Nigerians to take responsibility through initiating appropriate actions raises questions about sustainability of initiatives of government. Beyond questions of sustainability, there is the issue of public awareness and the associated challenges of public support and endorsements. It is not enough for government to initiate programmes and projects as responses to challenges facing the country. Public support and endorsements will be required to make them sustainable, which is not automatic,” he argued.
Writing further, the PGF DG submitted that; “part of what should be recognised and acknowledged is that the challenges facing us as a nation are deep rooted. It will require a robust programme of reorientation in the country to sustain the envisioned change APC and its leadership are working to achieve.
“Once the focus and scope of initiatives is limited to operations of government institutions, and non-governmental institutions continue with business-as-usual practices, most of the challenges facing the country will linger. For instance, take the case of insecurity, which is the most important threat to the survival of the country.
“As much as combative military operations against insurgency in all its manifestations – banditry, kidnappings, abductions, etc. – is fundamental to restoring order and protection of lives and property in the country, equally important is also how Nigerians across all strata of social life are mobilised to take responsibility in restoring order and guaranteeing security of life and property in every part of the country.
“How is government working to raise awareness of Nigerians in terms of what to look out for as danger signals in our different communities? What kind of conducts by citizens, including community leaders constitute risk factors and therefore indicative of security challenges? What should be done, where and who to report to? What other initiatives should citizens take?
“Most of these issues are at best taken for granted. There is hardly any planned campaign taking place at national level to mobilise Nigerians with specific sets of detailed responses. Because issues of public awareness around these issues are taken for granted, everybody, both leaders and followers are just ‘complaining and wailing’ as Dr. Amadi rightly observed.
“Some have gone beyond ‘complaining and wailing’ to propagate false narratives, which can at best be distractive, if not subversive to any campaign or initiative to end insecurity in the country. Unfortunately, most of these false narratives are allowed in the public space without strong efforts to correct them.
“Take some of the claims by religious and community leaders that insecurity in the country is directed against particular ethnic and religion groups. These are very treacherous narratives, which should be combatted not through military operations but civic engagements with religious and community leaders,” he noted.