A fresh crisis is brewing in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the administration of the party and the uncertainty surrounding the conduct of its presidential primary.
The Vice Chairman (North-west), Salihu Lukman, in a letter written to the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, dated May 27, alleged that the screening of the presidential aspirants of the party was postponed indefinitely because Mr Adamu claimed he was yet to consult with the president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Lukman also alleged that the national convention had been handled shoddily and that a committee set up under the chairmanship of the Deputy National Chairman (North), Abubakar Kyari, with the task of managing all the processes, failed to discharge its function.
The APC chief wrote the three-page letter, titled “Rebuilding APC: Need for a new Nigeria,” before the party postponed its convention on Thursday
The APC had fixed its convention for May 29 and 30 to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 election but postponed it to between June 6 and 8 after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) extended the deadline for the conduct of primaries from June 3 to June 9.
There are about 23 aspirants jostling for the presidential ticket of the ruling party.
Mr Lukman, a former director general of the Progressives Governors Forum, the umbrella body of APC governors, accused the party of handling the special convention casually and informally, adding that the official explanation was nothing but an unacceptable excuse by the leader of the party.
“Although, the National Convention to elect the party’s presidential candidate is scheduled for May 29 and 30, less than 48 hours, we are yet to have a convention committee in place. In fact, the presidential aspirants have not been screened. The official explanation is that you are waiting for the final consultation with President Buhari.
“At the risk of sounding agitated, this is unfair to President Buhari because to the best of my understanding it is an attempt to use the president’s name to give excuses for failure, if it happens, which should not be the case.
“Critical challenges of managing important tasks such as organising National Convention to produce presidential candidates of the party is being handled informally. This should not be so, and everything must be done to correct that,” he said.
The APC chieftain said the party is descending into an era of over-centralisation in the implementation of party decisions around the national chairman.
Mr Lukman also raised concerns over the poor management of the national secretariat of the party and the non-implementation of the decisions of the NWC.
He alleged that the NWC under Mr Adamu had raised expectations of the members of the party and the non-implementation of the decisions could derail the party.
“Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along.”
He also revealed that a transition committee discovered that the party has not been complying with certain statutory requirements for taxation, pension and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws, while over 200 employees are without valid employment letters.
Mr Lukman noted that despite the findings of the transition committee, the NWC has ignored all initiatives for reform of the party secretariat.
On a familiar turf
Mr Lukman has a long history of speaking up against APC leadership.
The former PGF DG was very vocal against the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole. With the use of open letters and press statements, Mr Lukman repeatedly criticised the former chairman and members of the then NWC.
His stance then was suspected to be that of some APC governors, who were hell-bent on removing Mr Oshiomhole from office ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In a similar trend, Mr Lukman was very critical of the defunct Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by the Governor Mala Buni of Yobe State over its inability to organise a national convention and its alleged plan to extend its tenure.
In January, Mr Lukman stepped down following speculations that the APC governors were planning to sack him.
In one of his statements issued four days before his resignation, the former PGF DG slammed the caretaker committee of the party for not being forthright with its decision on the date for the conduct of its proposed national convention. He said he believed the action of the committee was a ploy to extend its tenure and further earn bad publicity for the ruling party.
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