The National Vice Chairman (North-west) of the ruling All Progressives (APC) Mallam Salihu Moh Lukman, has advocated for replacement of the party’s national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Muslim) with a Christian national chairman from the North-central.
While warning against pitfalls in the process of forming the next federal government by ensuring a broadly inclusive government post May 29, 2023 under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President, Lukman also demanded the resignation of Senator Iyiola Omisore as the party’s National Secretary.
The issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima caused a lot of controversies for the ruling party during the election campaign.
But in a statement released to newsmen Friday in Abuja, the party’s North-west chairman said there should be no difficulty in convincing Sen. Adamu to resign as National Chairman to create opportunity for a new National Chairman of APC to emerge who is a Christian.
According to him, APC must avoid past pitfalls and develop proactive strategy of producing a broadly inclusive government post May 29, 2023 under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu. For that to happen, first thing first, APC need to acknowledge the groundswell of grievances both within the party and the country and resolved to use the opportunity to setup the next Federal Government to address most of the challenges. It must be acknowledged that the process of producing candidates for 2023 elections itself created so many disputes within the party.
Lukman said: “With a National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, who is also a Muslim, it will be important that every necessary step is taken to inject a change of leadership for the party so that a new National Chairman who is a Christian take over. Part of the advantage of this is that the National Chairman could be retained in North-Central.
“Noting that the current National Chairman has done an excellent job to manage a successful campaign to win the 2023 election with all the attendant challenges, there should be no difficulty in convincing Sen. Adamu to resign as National Chairman to create opportunity for a new National Chairman of APC to emerge who is a Christian. For that to happen may require Emergency National Convention because if the hierarchy of the current leadership is to be followed, the successor to Sen. Adamu will be Sen. Abubakar Kyari who is a Muslim from North-east.
“Apart from changing the National Chairman, there is the need to also recognise that the case of Sen. Iyiola Omisore, National Secretary of the party has become a source of stronger dispute in Osun State. Unfortunately, rather than serving as a unifying factor for the party leadership in Osun State, Sen. Omisore is more a divisive factor, which may have been responsible for why APC lost the 2022 Governorship election to a political mediocre whose only qualification in politics may appear to be comic dancing skill. To save Osun State and bring it back to its old standard of national political reckoning, Sen. Omisore would need to resign as National Secretary of APC, and a new unifying National Secretary elected. Beyond Sen. Omisore, similarly, any member of the National Working Committee of the party who is not a unifying leader in his/her state should be changed.”
The APC chieftain said the party must take serious the challenge of reconciling its members across the country and recalibrated party leadership with a new National Chairman.
“APC must never make the mistake of proceeding with the task of constituting the Asiwaju led Federal Government based on business-as-usual strategy. The opportunity of constituting the Federal Government led by Asiwaju Tinubu must be used strategically to reconcile the APC with Nigerians. Every sacrifice must be made by every leader of the party to create the condition for an Asiwaju Tinubu led Federal Government to emerge with strong legitimacy and wider support base by Nigerians.
“In fact, since 2015, many disputes arising from internal party primary to produce candidates for elections have been snowballing and rolling into next electoral contests. Although under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, these disputes were not allowed to undermine the electoral viability of the party, inability to resolve these internal disputes, combined with problems associated with guaranteeing inclusive politics in the country may destroy APC’s electoral viability in future elections.
“While it is important to avoid witch-hunting individual leaders of the party for their role during the primary that produced candidates for 2023 elections, including those who supported or campaigned against Asiwaju Tinubu, it is important as a matter of strategy to broaden the scope of opportunity to rectify the outlook of the party and use it to also project the politics of an Asiwaju Tinubu led Federal Government as being inclusive. Also, learning from PDP’s mistake of insensitivity whereby the inability to align the outlook of the leadership of the party with the standard bearer of the party for the 2023 Presidential race, which became a source of deep-seated animosity among party leaders, it is important that APC, even before May 29, 2023 when Asiwaju will be sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, take every step to rectify any situation that may be used to continue divisive campaigns and propaganda against the APC and its control of Federal Government.”
The North-west zonal chairman also recommended that the offices of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives would have to be locked.
“Given that the President and Vice President are from South-West and North-East respectively, nobody from either of these two regions should aspire for any of these offices. Opportunist may argue that in the last four years, the South-West also produced the Vice President and Speaker of House of Representatives. We must correct this kind of lop-sided reality as a strategic approach to dousing ethnic and religious tension in the country.
“With a National Chairman from the North-Central and hopefully a Christian, the North-Central too should also be excluded from aspiring for either the position of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Accordingly, the positions of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives should be zoned to North-West, South-East or South-South. With a Muslim President and a Muslim Vice President, it is only logical to zone the Senate President who is the number three ranking leader of government to either the South-East or South-South who would be Christian. Logically, the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives should be zoned to the North-West. This would have the advantage of acknowledging that the North-West gave Asiwaju Tinubu the highest votes of 2,950,393 representing 33.6% of the votes he won. All other positions in government can be assigned by taking bearing from that.
“While it may be important to consider including the position of Secretary to Government Federation (SGF) as part of positions to be zoned, Asiwaju Tinubu must avoid the mistake of undermining his government by appointing politicians with zero experience in managing public service institutions to serve as SGF.
“The office of SGF is in fact the brainbox of government and once a wrong person is appointed into such a position, the delivery capacity of government will be weak. Therefore, the choice of where the SGF will come from is as important as the qualification and public service experience of any person to be considered.
“Achieving all these would require institutionalised consultations and negotiations involving structures of the party. Asiwaju Tinubu as the new leader of APC should challenge party leadership to make all structures of the party functional in line with provisions of the constitution of the party.”
Lukman also rejected a situation whereby key decisions including issues of zoning are handled outside the constitutional structures of the party, saying such “is unhealthy, unsustainably, and challengeable.
“APC need to recognise that the Muslim-Muslim ticket it provided for the 2023 Presidential election, if not managed to produce desired outcome of inclusivity to broaden the foundation for wider participations of Nigerians in politics and governance across all divides, could further widen the division among Nigerians, which should be avoided.
“A successfully well-managed Muslim-Muslim would make a Christian-Christian ticket viably possible. For instance, if a Christian Northerner is to emerge as a candidate for a Presidential contest, the choice of a Southern Christian as running mate should be a viable consideration for a potential electoral victory.”
He, however, said an Asiwaju Tinubu-led federal government must avoid the mistakes of President Muhammadu Buhari administration while building on its strength.
“Finally, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for eight operated based on the philosophy of “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”. As a result, APC leaders and members had to leave with the reality of producing a government in which they have little or no influence.
“Many Federal Government appointees inherited from PDP were retained. For instance, Mr. Godwin Emefiele is one of the appointees of Federal Government inherited from PDP in 2015 but retained till the end of President Buhari’s tenure. Similarly, processes of appointments into government positions were handled without consulting party leaders. Consequently, many appointees of government were hardly accountable to the APC and its leadership.”