Former National Vice Chairman, North West of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman has lamented that some people who did not support the emergence of Bola Tinubu as the APC presidential candidate are now getting choice appointments from the federal government.
Specifically, he called out the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum.
According to him, Uzodinma financed the attempt to manipulate the emergence of Sen. Ahmed Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC against Bola Tinubu.
The APC chieftain in a lengthy statement on Wednesday also accused President Tinubu of not relating well with party members and leaders since getting into office, accusing some of his aides of blocking access to him.
Lukman in the statement titled “Agonising Experience of Being APC Member; Message to APC Leaders,” said he has made attempts to reach out to some people close to Tinubu so the President can prioritise reforming the APC however noted that his attempts have been unsuccessful.
He said: “I am not making any claim and I am not demanding anything extraordinary. My expectation is that President Asiwaju Tinubu and all his appointees, especially those saddled with the responsibility of managing his relationship with party leaders and members, should do so with humility and respect to other party leaders and members.
“As things are, it would have been more rewarding if one had been antagonistic, or opportunistic to the person of President Asiwaju Tinubu. When, for instance, party leaders who were boisterously opposed to the Presidential ambition of President Asiwaju Tinubu are today appointees in the Federal Government, and in the case of Governors such as Sen. Hope Uzodinma, who financed the attempt to manipulate the emergence of Sen. Ahmed Lawan as the consensus Presidential candidate of APC, emerging as the Chairman of Progressive Governors beat the imagination of every founding leader of APC, and in every respect heartbreaking.
“I have attempted to reach out to many people who are adjudged to be close to President Asiwaju Tinubu, in the hope that one can make recommendations that can convince President Asiwaju Tinubu to prioritise reforming the APC.
“At the minimum, it should not be too much to have the expectation that returning the APC to its founding vision of becoming a progressive party should be the priority of President Asiwaju Tinubu. I am only able to succeed in meeting Dr. Ganduje, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Dr. Ganduje is the current National Chairman, and the three others were all former National Chairmen.
“Apart from explaining circumstances leading to my decision to resign as APC National Vice Chairman North-West, I presented to them my perspectives both in terms of recollections of the internal struggles within the APC leading to the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu, as well as what needs to be done to reform the APC. These are documented and contained in my forthcoming publication, APC and Transition Politics.
“I have shared the manuscript to these party leaders and was hoping that eventually, President Asiwaju Tinubu will agree to write the Foreword to the publication. In fact, Dr. Ganduje agreed to assist to convince President Asiwaju Tinubu to write the Foreword. With the hope that both editing the manuscript and negotiation to get the Foreword from President Asiwaju Tinubu will be concluded in about two months, I projected that the public presentation of the publication can take place around the end of November 2023.”
Lukman therefore said it is not the best policy to make President Tinubu unaccessible to party leaders who worked for his victory.
“Therefore, let it be known, blocking access to President Asiwaju Tinubu, or refusal of President Asiwaju Tinubu to be accessible will not end the struggle for the reform of APC. Both President Asiwaju Tinubu and all his appointees must recognise that, indeed, reforming the APC is an integral part of the struggle for the development of Nigerian democracy.
“APC emerged in 2013 with the historical mission of changing Nigerian politics such that our parties are internally democratic. Incontestably, both former President Buhari and current President Asiwaju gave us the needed leadership to inspire Nigerians into believing and committing their votes to the APC.”
Despite the current developments, the former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) said he won’t give up on the struggle to reform the APC.
He said: “As loyal party members, we will continue to campaign for the reform of APC and the reform of party politics generally in the country. Having access to leaders is an advantage. But it is never the sole determinant for a victory. For more than four decades we have been in this struggle. We will remain in the struggle for as long as we are alive. May Allah (SWT) guide President Asiwaju Tinubu, touch his heart to make him appreciate and commit himself to reform the APC based on enlighten self-interest! Amin!”
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