4th January, 2022
By Emmanuel Mogbede
Dr Salihu Lukman, the Director-General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has faulted the call for the postponement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention.
Some people have been pushing for the postponement from February to a later date.
In a letter to APC leaders on Monday, Lukman reacted to the development, saying it is illogical.
Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu had on Dec. 13, 2021, written a letter to the Chairman, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning (CECPC) Gov. Mai Mala Buni, calling for the postponement of the convention.
However, Lukman warned that postponing the APC national convention could lead to a repeat of the 2019 Zamfara experience if the needful was not done.
He said the APC CECPC should make a formal announcement about the date and venue for the convention to disassociate itself from such calls.
According to him, such an announcement is critical to proving that the committee is not interested in postponing the convention from the agreed February 2022 date as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Statutorily, by the requirement of the Electoral Act, the party is expected to serve at least 21 days notice of the convention to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“This means that if the convention is to hold any day before February 28, 2021, the notice to INEC should be given on or before February 7, 2022.
“That being the case, the temptation could be to argue that there is more time, some reminders would be necessary at this point,” Lukman said.
Lukman noted that Buni had done an excellent job since he emerged as chairman of the CECPC in June 2020 by ensuring peace within the party and should not allow his good works to be destroyed by postponing the convention.
Meanwhile, he called on APC leaders to wake up to their responsibility of providing the needed political leadership to the country.
“No one should imagine that agendas set in 2014 or 2019 are sufficient to respond to contemporary challenges, which post-2023 governance will be expected to respond to.
“If anything, it may also be important to emphasise the fact that to respond to contemporary challenges facing the country would require massive investment in human capital development.
“This will call for a deliberate and aggressive policy to mobilise large-scale public investment to rebuild public schools at all levels.
“The correlation between collapse of education since the mid-1980s, rising levels of unemployment and insecurity are very glaring,” he said.
Lukman said APC must come up with practically convincing answers, which should form the basis of public support by Nigerians to guarantee its victory in the 2023 elections.
He said the inability to discharge responsibility or avoid it by towing the path of a deceptive campaign for postponement of the party’s national convention could only spell doom for it.
He added that this could also return Nigeria to the hands of those who laid the foundation for all the challenges currently facing the country.
Lukman appealed to the APC CECPC to ensure that the February 2022 convention is not just about electing National Working Committee (NWC) members for the party.
“There must be some reflections about the challenges facing the country, with a priority focus on problems of insecurity, rebuilding public education and health through mobilisation of massive financial investment in these sectors,” he said.