Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Moh Lukman, has said opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and others are presenting false narrative to paint President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party in bad light.
The PGF boss also described as “politically scandalous” for an APC state like Lagos to sue an APC-led federal government.
Lagos state recently joined the River state to challenge the federal government in court over the collection of VAT.
Lukman blamed the major gap being exploited by the opposition politicians against the APC and the federal government on the official communication both from the ruling party and the federal government on passive and reactive methods.
In a statement released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja, the APC chieftain said efforts to engage Nigerians to secure citizens’ ownership of policy initiatives is quite low.
According to Salihu, since 2015, under the leadership of President Buhari, APC controlled federal government has rolled out several initiatives to deliver on its campaign promises targeted at strengthening Nigeria’s public service institutions.
“Consequently, political opposition in the country is succeeding to take good advantage of this reality to unfairly portray both the APC and President Buhari in bad light.
“Partly because of the domineering influence of the negative publicity by opposition politicians against the APC, unfortunate activities of armed bandits, insurgents and criminal elements in the country are mischievously being presented as confirmation of failure of APC led Federal Government.
“False narrative against APC and President Buhari are being promoted, suggesting that criminal activities of bandits only started when APC took control of the Federal Government in 2015. In addition, APC is being alleged to have failed in ending Boko Haram insurgency.
“Any objective analyst would recall that activities of Boko Haram insurgents as at 2015, apart from controlling most parts of the North-East, have spread to parts of North-West and North-Central, notably, Kano, Kaduna, FCT, Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa. In both the North-West and North-Central, problems of cattle rustling were rampant. Kidnapping was also there in many parts of the South-South and South-East. To worsen matters, there was the 2014 corruption case of $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement, which was diverted by PDP led administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It is true that problem of cattle rustling in the North-West and North-Central has graduated to banditry and it is assuming a war situation. However, it should be also recognised that the fight against Boko Haram has made significant progress. Unlike before 2015 when most parts of the North-East was under the control of insurgents, this is no longer the case. No doubt both in the case of fighting banditry and Boko Haram, there are challenges, which the APC led government of President Buhari is responding to.
“Any comparative assessment of APC and PDP management of Nigeria’s security challenges, which failed to recognise these realities is only being dishonest. Dishonest mindset is responsible for why all initiatives of APC Federal Government are being dismissed based on false narrative. Nigerians must pose the question, if APC and President Buhari have failed, as is being claimed, what is the political opposition specifically proposing as solutions to the problems of insecurity? Or, if as now PDP is claiming that during their sixteen-year tenure recorded significant milestones, what were the details?
“Both the APC and the Federal Government need to evolve new strategy of problem-solving communication in the country. Part of the objective should be to facilitate partnership to communicate activities of the party, government through engagement with major national players – non-governmental actors, civil society, labour, tranditional and religious leaders, women, youths, persons with disability, etc.”
While calling for unity among the APC leaders, Lukman said it is important that all APC leaders are reminded that the campaign for power shift is about writing or respecting the rules of the party.
“It is politically scandalous for APC state to sue APC Federal Government. Everything taken together – mobilising for power shift outside APC and the legal case between Lagos State and Federal Government – require that our leaders should be open to themselves. Beyond being open, APC leaders should have both discipline and respect for each other.
“Unity of leaders will be meaningless, if not impossible, without discipline and respect for one another. In fact, leaders will be unable to unite party members and Nigerians if they don’t have the required discipline and respect for one another. It is not by accident that public debate in Nigeria is very offensive. Citizens treat each other with disrespect and easily abuse each other in unprintable languages. This may perhaps be the true reflection of the quality of relationship among leaders.
“The APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee need to take up the issue of uniting all APC leaders and ensure that relevant structures of the party are being used to facilitate negotiation on all emerging issues, including the question of power shift. All leaders of the party should be reminded that the fundamental issue of changing Nigeria will remain a dream so long as leaders failed to work for the development of the structures of the party.
“For APC to achieve the goal of producing a new Nigeria, first thing first, it must be a party with a leadership that is united, disciplined, and respectful. The process of re-organising the structures of APC must make the party functionally active in facilitating negotiations among leaders at all levels and all agreements reached must be respected by all.”