Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director-General Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a ‘collapsing party with no leader in charge.’
In a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday, Lukman expressed concerns that the ruling party is turning into what he characterised as ‘a Frankenstein monster that will destroy leaders and pollute our democracy.’
The PGF leader suggested that loyal party members must be ashamed for its inability to resolve its internal crisis despite being blessed with an array of highly skilful leaders.
Demanding an emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Lukman’s scathing statement entitled “Old ambition-virus 2023: why a meeting of NEC is the solution”, queried whether the crisis roiling the APC has spread to such an extent to have consumed its leadership.
‘That the APC is having a leadership crisis is no longer news. What is news now is that the party is collapsing with no leader in charge. Following the Appeal Court ruling sustaining the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) started making disparate claims as to who is the Acting National Chairman. It is as if the party doesn’t have a constitution or those who operate the constitution are either ignorant of its provisions or have decided to set aside the constitution and just embark on a free for all fight. Yet, APC is the ruling party in Nigeria.
‘Is it possible for a ruling party in control of the federal government, with President Muhammadu Buhari who is incontestably the moral leader, not to be able to resolve a matter as important as who presides as the National Chairman of the party?
‘How can a party so blessed with experienced and very skilful leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Ogbonnaya Onu, Tony Momoh, etc, be incapable of resolving the problem of leadership vacancy? With 20 governors and in control of the National Assembly leadership, producing the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, shouldn’t that serve as a source of strength to be able to solve any leadership dispute in the party, no matter how complex?
‘These are practical questions requiring a very urgent response. Every loyal member of the party must be ashamed of what is going on now. Within a few hours of the Abuja Appeal Court ruling, our party has produced three conflicting claims to the position of the National Chairman. Sen Abiola Ajimobi, Deputy National Chairman South, Hilliard Eta, National Vice Chairman South-South and Victor Gaidom, Deputy National Secretary are all within 24 hours of the ruling presented to Nigerians as Acting National Chairman by disputing sections of the party’s leadership. All manner of arguments bordering on legal technicalities around interpreting provisions of the party’s constitution are being presented,’ he noted.
Writing further, the PGF DG said: ‘That sickness is old ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media. Those touched by this malady find that their ability to tell time and discern the difference between the present and the future has been strongly impaired. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season our nation now finds itself. They conflate things, which no sensible person would conflate. The primary symptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020.
‘Without a doubt, this diagnostic is true. On the strength of this prescriptive accuracy, we may need to ask, is APC faced with a cancerous situation? Could the cancer have spread to have consumed all our leaders?
‘What is it that can be done to help our leaders find a permanent handle to resolve our current APC leadership challenge? Can we immediately activate intervention of our leaders – President Buhari, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governors, Asiwaju Tinubu, Akande, Onu, Momoh, etc. similar to what happened in March to resolve this matter? Or, is it that these leaders are also infected by the “old ambition-Virus 2023” sickness?
‘The situation APC finds itself is very traumatic for every member. By extension, the inability of the party to find a solution to the leadership crisis makes it also traumatic for all our leaders including those of them who today serves as the face of the crisis – Comrade Oshiomhole, Eta, Gaidom and their accomplices in and out of the NWC. What makes the situation more frustrating is the reticence of President Buhari in the face of what obviously could damage the legacy he will bequeath to the nation.
‘As part of the treatment, it is very clear we need an organ transplant by way of replacing the members of the current NWC who constitute the problem. By provisions of our party’s constitution, it is only the National Convention that can discharge that function. And it is only the NEC that can convene the National Convention. Any hesitation not to convene NEC and hopefully activate the process of convening the National Convention could suggest that beyond the NWC, the whole party, APC, is infected with the “old ambition-Virus 2023”, all our leaders, President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu inclusive. The first test is whether NEC will be convened or not.
‘Beyond President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu, our leaders, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governors, Asiwaju Tinubu, Chief Akande, Chief Onu, Chief Momoh, etc, all of them individually, should demonstrate the needed sensitivity and commitment to resolving this matter.
‘APC must not be allowed to turn into a Frankenstein monster that will destroy our leaders and pollute our democracy. The capacity of our leaders to resolve this crisis is never in doubt. The issue is how speedily? A stitch in time saves nine!,’ the statement read.