The Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has called for the amendment of the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 general election.
Lukman in a statement issued yesterday with the title, ‘Opposition Politics and Campaign for New Nigeria’, said with the successful conclusion of the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), credit must be given to the leaders and members of the party for being able to manage the process and elect a new leadership for the party.
The APC chieftain said the APC must therefore, use its national convention to demonstrate its commitment to change Nigeria.
He added: “Apart from electing leaders, the manifesto of the party should be subjected to amendment debate.”
The party chieftain said as part of the commitment to change Nigerian politics, APC must unambiguously commit itself to the unity of Nigeria based on governance initiatives founded on the principles of fairness and equitable access to resources and opportunities by all Nigerians from every part of the country.
Lukman noted that as APC prepares for its national convention, issues of the unity of the country and responses to national security challenges should be prioritised.
He added: “Just like the election of leaders, how APC wants to continue with the task of responding to challenges of insecurity should be part of the agenda of the APC national convention based on which a decision is taken at the convention by way of adopting an amendment to the party’s manifesto through majority votes by delegates.”
The director-general said once that is done, it would assist the APC, its leaders, and especially candidates for the 2023 elections to mobilise Nigerians to vote for the party.
Lukman added: “At the same time, it will potentially prepare the party to be capable of neutralising PDP toxic politics of promoting hatred with the high probability that it can produce ultra-right-wing candidates for the 2023 elections.”
However, he said, the fact that PDP can elect a young person below 30 years as National Youth Leader means that PDP leaders have recognised that the old culture of arrogance and impunity must be avoided if they are to win the support of Nigerians, which is very positive.
Lukman said: This was a confirmation that once processes are managed democratically, the right results would be achieved.
He stressed that those who are not members of the party should urge the newly elected PDP leaders to build on the new atmosphere to start a new beginning for the party based on honesty, respect for one another, and above all recognising that politics is all about negotiations and agreement.
The director-general expressed worry that notwithstanding some of the departures from the old abrasive PDP, just as Nigerians would want to wish PDP well, it must be pointed out that many of the speeches of PDP leaders at the convention demonstrated lack of commitment to take responsibility.
Lukman said this was largely because as far as PDP leaders are concerned, all the problems facing Nigeria today is the creation of APC. “Almost all the speeches of PDP leaders during the convention were about winning elections in 2023 and returning to power,” he added.
According to him, “Sadly, there is no indication, at any point during the convention, showing how the party intends to solve Nigeria’s challenges. Not even a reference by any PDP leader during the convention to any provision of the party’s manifesto, which must have gathered dust in the cabinet of INEC.
Lukman said apart from the few founding members of the party, almost all the delegates to the national convention have never seen the manifesto of the PDP.
He added that without doubt, there are certainly leaders in PDP who are honest, but lamented that such leaders are few, who are facing a lot of frustrations, which partly explains the exodus of many courageous political leaders out of the party.
The PGF director-general said instead of recognising this reality, the mainstream PDP leaders are in denial, “which is why the party continues to delude itself with the belief that it can mobilise Nigerians to elect them back to power by simply claiming that all the problems facing the country is a creation of the APC.
“Unfortunately, somehow, the APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni has allowed someone like Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who is among the dishonest category of PDP leaders, to cross over from the PDP to APC without any initiative to reform him (Kayode).”