PGF DG urges APC to organise National Convention 

By Aanya Igomu, Abuja

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Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Mr Salihu Lukman, has advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to call a meeting of relevant organs of the party towards organising a National Convention rather than extend party membership registration and revalidation.

Mr Lukman gave the advice in a press statement released in Abuja.

The membership registration and revalidation exercise was initially meant to end on March 31, but the party leadership recently extended it by three weeks.

The PGF DG said the Caretaker Committee needs to focus on its mandate of resolving the challenges the APC faced which led to the dissolution of the former National Working Committee and also organise a National Convention.

He further stressed the need for the Caretaker Committee to involve all relevant party organs in decision making.

“With initial tenure of six months, which was extended by another emergency NEC of December 8, 2020, to June 2021, the work of the Caretaker Committee is expected to end with a National Convention where another leadership should emerge to manage affairs of the party for another four years.

“All party members and leaders should prioritise ensuring that the Caretaker Committee is able to complete the task of organising a National Convention where new leaders of the party will be elected.

 “The first test, therefore, is whether the challenges leading to the dissolution of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC are being resolved by the Caretaker Committee.

“To what extent, are the resolution of challenges facing the party conforming to both democratic principles and progressive ideals?

“Conforming to democratic principles requires that initiatives being implemented by the Caretaker Committee are based on decisions taken by competent organs as provided in the constitution of the party.

“Progressive ideals would require painstaking approaches to guarantee the wider participation of leaders and members in the process of decision making,” Lukman said.

Democratic Principles

The PGF DG said both democratic principles and progressive ideals are not mutually exclusive and could be achieved by guaranteeing that meetings of organs are taking place as provided in the constitution of the party.

He noted that the absence of meetings of organs partly contributed to most of the disaffections in the party during the tenure of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.

“To what extent has the APC Caretaker Committee distinguished itself from the old characteristics of managing the affairs of the party without meetings of organs as provided in the party’s constitution?

 “This is the fundamental operational question, which, however, considered, would have implication in terms of whether APC leaders are taking the necessary steps to rebuild the party based on any considered vision of progressive politics.

 “Somehow, the reality is that in terms of convening meetings of organs of the party, for more than nine months, the Caretaker Committee has not convened any meeting of any organ of the APC apart from the emergency NEC meeting of December 8, 2020. Sadly, even the 13-member Caretaker Committee is hardly meeting.

“Part of the indication is that most decisions taken by the Caretaker Committee were done by the Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni and the Secretary, Sen. Akpan Udoedehe.” He said.

He pointed out that the major challenge of ensuring that the party has a verifiable membership register is being resolved but noted that without organs meeting, as provided in the constitution of the party, there is no guarantee that the old problem of having an inaccessible membership register will not be replicated.

“Already, given that the party’s membership registration/revalidation exercise was done based on the old analogue method without applying modern virtual technology, what is the guarantee that the process of leadership reformation in the party, from ward congresses up to the National Convention, will be done based on the new register? Will all members of the party be able to participate in the process of electing leaders of the party at all levels?” He asked.

Mr Lukmam noted that the extension of the membership registration indicates that the Caretaker Committee is reluctant to organise a National Convention.

“Given all the development in APC, especially against the background that most of the expectations around the Caretaker Committee are yet to be met, it will be important to review challenges facing the party and perhaps appeal to APC leaders to get the Caretaker Committee to urgently conclude the membership registration/verification exercise.

 “The needless extension of the exercise only serves to strengthen suspicions that the Caretaker Committee is reluctant to organise a National Convention where new leadership of the party will be elected. Based on what has been done so far, the minimum requirement should be that records of members of the party are displayed in all wards and copies made available to Local Governments, States and National Secretariat,” he said.

 

Zainab Sa’id

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