It will be a gathering of who is who in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the public presentation of the ‘APC And Transition Politics’ book written by the party’s former APC national vice chairman (North West), Malam Salihu Moh Lukman at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on December 19, 2023.
The event is oriented to stimulate both reflections and consideration of what needs to be done to return APC to its founding vision of progressive politics.
In a statement released Sunday in Abuja, Lukman said both the publication and public presentation is not just about APC but about the future of democracy in Nigeria, adding that the goal is to ensure that elected governments and leaders are accountable and responsive to the needs of citizens.
Chief Bisi Akande, who was the founding chairman of the APC will be the chair of the event.
He said special guests at the occasion include vice president, Kashim Shettima, APC national chairman, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Senate president, Godswill Akpabio, speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, former vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, former APC national chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Senator Adams Oshiomhole and APC presidential aspirant, Rotimi Amaechi.
Others are former APC presidential aspirants, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani and all serving APC governors.
According to Lukman, having left the leadership of the party and being actively involved in all the contestations within the party leading to the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu, I decided to document some of the experiences, which is now contained in the publication APC and Transition Politics.
“Part of the motivation is also to clarify many of the allegations against me that I am against the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu. I must say very clearly, I disagreed with President Asiwaju Tinubu’s decision to nominate Dr. Ganduje as the National Chairman of APC but I respect and accept the fact that Dr. Ganduje is today the National Chairman.
“I also have strong concerns about the direction taken by the Federal Government under the leadership of President Asiwaju. Under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu, we have sadly produced an irritating political reality whereby the North-Central region is marginalised. My fear is that at the rate we are going, with all the lowly rating of former President Buhari, if care is not taken, he may turn out to be more progressive.”
While recalling his experiencesas a pro-democracy activist, Lukman explained that his calls for reforms in the ruling party responsible for the tag of being controversial some persons within the party.
He said: “We are not and we will never abandon the campaign for democracy in Nigeria. Whatever is responsible for the current orientation can be surmounted and should be conquered. We will not degrade ourselves to becoming antagonists of our party and President Asiwaju Tinubu.
“We are confident that our party is blessed with leaders who are capable of initiating processes of reform to return our party to its founding vision of becoming a progressive party. We are also confident that President Asiwaju Tinubu is a committed democrat and truly a progressive politician. We were never wrong in our estimation that out of all the 23 leaders who aspired to become our Presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections, he was best qualified.
“Therefore, as party members and leaders we must continue to engage him to live up to all the promises we made to Nigerians since 2015. We must work hard and make all the necessary sacrifices to ensure that both President Asiwaju Tinubu and the APC succeed in moving Nigerian democracy forward. Moving Nigerian democracy forward is about promoting political competition in the country.
“A situation whereby few people have taken over our party, APC, and are doing everything possible to block internal competition within the party is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. This was, and still is, the problem of PDP. It was one the fundamental issues APC promised to change in 2015, which won the support of Nigerians.
“As Nigerian citizens committed to democracy, we must go back to the drawing board and begin the campaign to reform our political parties in Nigeria to guarantee internal political competition. It is only when internal political competition is achieved within political parties that wider national competition can be achieved. Once we fail to guarantee internal competition within parties, the current reality of excessive manipulation, through rigging of elections, vote buying, and other criminality would continue.”