Director General of All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, has warned against electing an emperor as the national chairman in the forthcoming convention.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, Lukman chided the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) for insulting party members and Nigerians with the way it has been approaching the proposed national convention scheduled for February.
He questioned the credibility of the aspirants for the position of the national chairman and urged the party to look beyond them.
“APC leaders must wake up to the responsibility of resolving the leadership challenges facing the party. Part of what is required at this point is to commence leadership engagement towards consensus building on a number of these issues and assess all the so-called aspirants.
“Where necessary, APC leaders may wish to stretch the search for a national chairman beyond current aspirants. APC need a national chairman, who is humble, with very good relations and respect among both party leaders and members. Steps must be taken to ensure the national chairman and other members of the NWC do not reduce themselves into extorting parting leaders, especially aspiring candidates.
“APC leaders must take every step to avoid vesting the responsibility of the national chairman of the party on another ‘emperor’ who will end up conducting affairs of the party with absolute disrespect and contempt for decisions taken. The party needs a national chairman who can provide a level playing field for the internal party electoral contest for 2023.
“Any new national chairman who can lead the party to electoral victory in 2023 must not be a surrogate to any aspirant for 2023 presidential contest. Similarly, such a person must be ready to control other members of the NWC from demonstrating bias in favour of any candidate for 2023 presidential contest within the party.
“Being a humble national chairman, such a person must be ready to subordinate himself/herself to party leaders at local levels. A situation whereby as national chairman, the person become overbearing to leaders at state level must not be acceptable. There should not be any debate or contest about who should exercise leadership at state level.
“The model should be what exists between President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the party in Katsina State. However, the national chairman and party leaders at state level should be encouraged to develop structured processes of consultations to ensure the political interest of the national chairman is protected in the state.
“Similarly, the national chairman must also accept to protect the political interest of other leaders from the state, especially any serving governor of his home state.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the party and former commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Niger State, Jonathan Vatsa, has warned that the convention would either make or destroy the party because of array of political ambitions of aspirants.
He said the party’s convention is a time bomb waiting to explode and expressed the fear that the party might not come out of it still intact.
Vatsa also cautioned Nigerians over their choice in 2023 presidential election, saying age should be a determinant factor.
He warned Nigerians not cue behind any presidential candidate who is above 60 years of age as the country is in dear need of a vibrant Nigerian with age still on his side to lead the country out of the current logjam of economic and security challenges.
The former publicity secretary of the party in Niger State, who was reacting to the ongoing declaration of interest to contest the presidency in 2023 by some Nigerians, in a statement in Minna, yesterday, said Nigerians cannot afford to have another ‘sleeping president in 2023’.