08 November 2023
From the former director general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman came the startling revelation that Governor Hope Uzodinma worked assiduously for the emergence of the former Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) in the build up to the 2023 poll.
Lukman, in a piece titled “Agonising Experience of Being APC Member
Message to APC Leaders” expressed surprise that Uzodinma is among those in the good books of President Tinubu.
Lukman who was the immediate past national vice chairman North West of the APC claimed that he was among party leaders that rose to the occasion and resisted the attempt to impose a Presidential candidate on the party.
He further claimed that even after that, forces of reaction within the APC attempted to both sabotage and undermine the electoral prospect of the APC and all its candidates, especially Asiwaju Tinubu who was the Presidential candidate.
“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,” he said.
” 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.”
The Kaduna born politician remarked that it was incumbent on President Tinubu to live up to the expectation of returning the APC to its founding vision of becoming a truly progressive party.
Lukman who is on verge of concluding work on his book detailing his experience in the APC disclosed that he had met with Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who all chaired the party between 2014 to date on the way forward for the party.
He expressed concern over the antic of party faithful and officials in the corridors of the presidency hell-bent on stopping him from accessing President Tinubu to write the Foreword to on his book aimed at righting the wrongs in the party.
He noted: “Disappointingly, we are getting to a point whereby, once you are marked as someone whose views are not in agreement with the priorities of elected leaders, access is blocked.
“As things are, work on the manuscript APC and Transition Politics has been concluded and I am confronted with a brick wall. Access to both President Asiwaju Tinubu, Dr. Ganduje and many of the appointees close to them is hardly available.
“It is my hope that President Asiwaju Tinubu will write the Foreword. It is also my hope that both President Asiwaju Tinubu and all our elected and appointed representatives today, will always remember that the struggle to reform the APC and return it to its founding vision predates the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If anything, President Asiwaju Tinubu provided leadership to that struggle and deservedly, he is today the main beneficiary.
“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.”
Continuing, he stressed: “Eight years after, we are still on the starting line. APC is becoming more and more a replica of PDP with all the negative attributes. We have spent eight years under former President Buhari motionless, in terms developing the needed initiatives for party building. Are we also going to experience another era of zero initiative for party building under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu? Where is then the claim of being progressives? Where then is the justification or any link to being an awoist?
“It is no doubt agonising and troubling that President Asiwaju Tinubu is starting his leadership tenure of APC by sending a very strong disturbing signal that reforming the APC is not his priority. Because reforming the APC is not his priority, out of all the leadership materials available to the party, Dr. Ganduje is his best candidate.
“Having achieved producing Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman, whether party organs are functioning or not, it is not President Asiwaju Tinubu’s headache. It was also the reason why even if the emergence of Dr. Ganduje meant marginalisation of the people from North Central in both the party and the Federal Government, it is not important.
“Perhaps, we need to remind President Asiwaju Tinubu and all APC leaders about Frantz Fanon’s timeless warning to the effect that ‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.’ President Asiwaju Tinubu and all APC leaders must be reminded about that APC founding mission of changing Nigerian politics, which is basically about internal reforms within our parties to facilitate the emergence of candidates for electoral contest through democratic means.
“President Asiwaju Tinubu and all APC leaders must not indulge themselves to imagine that simple defeat of PDP and producing former President Buhari and now President Asiwaju Tinubu as Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria equates to the political change Nigerians are desirous of.
“So long as APC will allow a situation that could be interpreted to mean consolidating the old political paradigm that promote lack of accountability and imposition of leadership, it means betrayal of the founding mission of APC.
“We can deceive ourselves to imagine that we can continue to succeed in emerging victorious in elections and successful leaders surround themselves with sycophants who only tell them what they want to hear, it will not change the reality of betrayal and it will not protect leaders.”