*says February date sacrosanct
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh Lukman, has faulted campaign in some quarters for the postponement of the party’s national convention from February date.
The APC chieftain described as ‘illogical’ recommendation through a letter written by Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu to the APC CECPC Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, dated December 13, 2021, calling for the postponement of the APC convention.
In an open letter to all the APC leaders Monday in Abuja, Lukman warned of the repeat of 2019 Zamfara experience if the needful are not done.
The APC chieftain said: “It is very difficult to excuse the CECPC from the campaign to postpone the February Convention. If the CECPC is not interested in the postponement of the Convention from the agreed February 2022 date, why is it difficult to make formal announcement about the date and venue of the Convention? Statutorily, by the requirement of the Electoral Act, the party is expected to serve at least 21 days’ notice of the Convention to INEC. Which basically means that if the Convention is to hold any day before February 28, 2021, the notice to INEC should be given on or before February 7, 2022. That being the case, the temptation could be to argue that there is more time. Some reminders would be necessary at this point.
“Once that is the case, we would have succeeded in making the 2019 Zamfara electoral disaster a national phenomenon in 2023. Is that what the CECPC members under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni want to subject the party to?”
The letter warned governor Mai Mala Buni not to allow all his good work as CECPC be destroyed.
“With the emergence of the CECPC in June 2020, His Excellency Mai Mala has done an excellent job by bringing down tension within the party. Sadly, all the good work of the CECPC under His Excellency Mai Mala is about to be destroyed once it yields to the temptation of staying longer than February 2022.”
While calling on APC leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing the needed political leadership to the country, Lukman said: “No one should imagine that agendas set in 2014 or 2019 are sufficient to respond to contemporary challenges, which post 2023 governance will be expected to respond to. If anything, it may also be important to emphasise the fact that to respond to contemporary challenges facing the country would require massive investment in human capital development in the country.
“This will call for a deliberate and aggressive policy to mobilise large scale public investment to rebuild public schools at all levels. The correlation between collapse of education since the mid 1980s, rising levels of unemployment and insecurity are very glaring. As a party, we must come up with practically convincing answers, which should form the basis of public support by Nigerians to guarantee victory in 2023 elections.
“The burden of responsibility to strengthen the capacity of the APC to put itself on a vantage position to commence internal negotiation around all these issues is on the CECPC, especially, the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni.
“Inability to discharge this responsibility or avoid it by toying the path of a deceptive campaign for postponement of Convention can only spell doom for the APC and return Nigeria to the hands of those who laid the foundation for all the challenges facing the country.
“By way of an appeal to APC leaders, as much as the question of who emerge as the candidate of the party is very important, it is not only who emerge as a candidate of the party that can win the election. But how united are party leaders behind the candidate will be a more determining factor. President Buhari, with all his mass support in the Northern part of the country, may not have won the election in 2015 without the unity of all APC leaders from every part of the country. All APC leaders must be reminded that, there is no one political leader in the country that enjoy convincing mass support of any region of the country.”
Insisting on agreed February date for the national convention, Salihu said: “The only reason why some leaders, perhaps including the members of CECPC, are attracted to campaign for postponement for the Convention is the deceptive belief that any candidate who emerged, whether elected or imposed on the party can win the 2023 elections. This is a big lie!
“Finally, we must also appeal to the CECPC to ensure that the February 2022 Convention is not just about electing NWC members. There must be some reflections about the challenges facing the country, with priority focus on problems of insecurity, rebuilding public education and health through mosilisation of massive financial investment in these sectors.
“As part of the review of public education and health, consequences of avoidable strikes actions and how to bring an end to what has become clearly destructive to these sectors must be considered. Conclusions and recommendations from the Convention should guide the review process of the party’s manifesto and bring out some of the campaign agenda of the APC for the 2023 campaigns.”