Former Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, says the ruling party threw out Senator Abdullahi Adama and Senator Iyiola Omisore as the party’s national chairman and secretary, respectively, last July, because the organs and structures of the party weren’t functional as they ought to.
Lukman, a former Director General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, made this known on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande which was aired on Channels Television on Friday.
He said organs of the party like the National Advisory Council has not been inaugurated since 2013.
He, however, urged President Bola Tinubu as the party leader to ensure the organs and structures work optimally as they should.
He said, “The fundamental issue which is what I expect from President Asiwaju is to ensure that the structures of our party are functional.
“My frustration after we fought to really get Abdullahi Adamu and Senator Iyiola Omisore out of the leadership of the party, it’s not about getting them out; it’s taking the right steps to ensure that these structures function so that anybody who come should be able to work based on the constitution of the party.”
According to the APC chieftain, once the party was not able to do that, we will continue to have all the problems we have today in the country.
He said, “My advocate is now more in terms of what we need to do as a nation to reform our political parties. I keep taking us back to the Uwais Committee report which recommended unbundling INEC and one of the structures to emerge from the unbundled INEC should be the Political Party Regulatory Commission because right now, none of our parties is functioning, APC inclusive, because our structures, the National Executive Committee, the last time we met was in August, we are supposed to be meeting every quarter.
“National Advisory Council which is like the Board of Trustees has not been inaugurated since 2013. Not even one meeting of National Advisory Council. National Caucus can meet even on weekly basis, that should actually be the structure that should be advisory but it doesn’t meet.
“We have formed structures like women wing, youth wing, they are supposed to have their constitution but till today, nothing has been done,” he said.
In March 2022, Adamu emerged as APC national chairman about two years after the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) was dissolved.
Adamu, who was governor of Nasarawa State from May 1999 to May 2007. Also represented Nasarawa West Senatorial District in the National Assembly between May 2011 and April 2022.
In the buildup to the APC presidential primary in June 2022, Adamu announced then Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the party’s consensus candidate but the announcement was strongly rejected by a league of northern governors who preferred former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu eventually emerged as the party’s flag bearer after he trounced Lawan, then Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ex-Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; and other powerbrokers within the APC. The ex-Lagos governor would subsequently win the February 25, 2023 presidential poll.
Two months after Tinubu was sworn in as Nigeria’s President, Adamu and Omisore faced a string of crisis which forced them out of the ruling party.
Commenting on how the APC has fared thus far, Lukman said, “We had to fight to get Asiwaju win the ticket. Now, having won the ticket, it shouldn’t be business as usual.
“For instance, if under former President Buhari, the true federalism report by the Committee led by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, I am a member of that Committee. It was an honest work that was done, not even to discuss the opinions of leaders; it was to go out there and find out what do people think and put them on the weight and let them begin to think in terms of the options and we put the options on the table including draft legislative bills.”
On why the report was not implemented, he said, “I argued about this in several of my writings. The conservative bloc within the APC tends to have their way. They have the sophisticated skill to ensure that what they don’t like aren’t done. They are everywhere and this is part of my frustration with the APC. I expected that we will have a lot of debates in the APC and when meetings are not taking place, no debate takes place; it’s all a question of scheming to get positions, scheming to emerge as candidates even when elections are not taking place. We can’t make progress in a democracy like that.”
Lukman said incidences of electoral manipulations have drastically reduced from where it was in 2015 but “where there are gaps is the capacity of our democracy to produce leaders that are accountable to citizens. Accountability in terms of being responsive to the needs of citizens and also being representative to the interests of citizens. There is a wide gap in this.
“For me, it is also a reflection of how we have not prioritise the whole structure, the whole institution that should drive government after elections. And that institution is the political party.”