2023 Presidency: APC’s candidate must help win elections – PGF D-G
Aanya Igomu, Abuja
In deciding where the 2023 Presidential candidate will emerge from, Nigeria’s governing party, the All-Progressives Congress, APC has to carefully negotiate internally and make a decision that would help it win the General Election.
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, PGF Mr Salihu Lukman said this in a press statement.
Mr Lukman cautioned the APC leadership not to belittle Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan by giving him the party’s Presidential ticket if he eventually defects to APC.
While pointing out that former President Jonathan could play a bigger role in the APC as a member of the Board of Trustees, Mr Lukman emphasised the need for the Board to be constituted to serve as a moral compass.
“As APC members, we have campaigned against former President Jonathan in 2015. As President, former President Jonathan made every effort to block the emergence of APC in 2013.
“But those should not be the reference point. The reference point should be the historic decision of former President Jonathan to concede defeat in 2015 even before the final votes were counted. With that, former President Jonathan ranked himself as one of those who fought and defended Nigeria’s democracy.
“On no account, therefore, any political party should be allowed to push former President Jonathan to diminish his stature, either as an aspirant or a candidate for any office. Doing so will mean that we want him to gamble away all his legendary achievements.
“It must be recognised that former President Jonathan, and indeed every former President, is beyond holding any office in the land. Bringing former Presidents to that level will amount to diminishing their political stature. Is it possible therefore to organise the APC Board of Trustees’ and get former Presidents to provide the needed moral leadership that can serve as a check to both party leaders and elected functionaries of the party?
“The other important issue is managing internal negotiations to agree on substantive details that can guide the process of decisions of what the party needs to do to win elections in 2023.
“A major issue in this respect is the question of what will guide the emergence of APC Presidential Candidate for 2023 elections,” Lukman said.
He however stressed the need to create a framework of operations for the Board such that if APC has more than one former President on the BOT, they will be able to work in harmony.
The PGF DG also urged APC members to trust and respect decisions made by party leaders especially in regard to admitting new members such as Mr Femi Fani-Kayode.
He said this against the backdrop of APC members publicly speaking against the red-carpet reception given to Mr Fani-Kayode by President Buhari, the party’s National Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni considering Mr Fani-Kayode’s history of publicly insulting the President and APC as a whole.
He said the situation raises the need for APC to its members; old and new members and political officers’ holders are more accountable.
“A reformed Mr Fani-Kayode should be an accountable personality, both to the party and to Nigerians. On no account should Mr Fani-Kayode ever imagine that he has come to APC to conduct himself uncontrollably. He must be accountable to our leadership and all our party structures.
“He must respect himself and abide by the provisions of the party constitution and its manifesto. To support him, copies of the APC constitution and manifesto must be made available to him immediately.
“Negotiating to recruit high-profile members must go beyond the narrow speculation for electoral contest. Getting high-profile party members to be accountable to the structures of the party should be developed beyond lip service.
“Weak accountability is responsible for why some elected leaders become overbearing and refuse to respect decisions of the party. At the same time, weak accountability is also responsible for why leaders of the party, for instance, the National Working Committee fails to convene meetings of organs of the party” Lukman noted.
The PGF DG added that the APC needs to test Mr Fani-Kayode reformation by accessing how he integrates with leaders of the APC in his Ward, local government and state.