As controversies continue to trill the proposed national convention of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), some aspirants have written to President Muhammad Buhari, expressing confidence in the Governor Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
This is coming on the heels of an open letter by the estranged Director General (DG) of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, to the President, on Tuesday.
The former DG of PGF, in his letter, had intimated Buhari of plans to sabotage the scheduled February 26 national convention of APC, referring to Gov Buni’s committee as an “undertaker”, which was not doing enough to show that it was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible exercise.
But in a swift response through another open letter to President Buhari on Wednesday, aspirants in the forthcoming national convention, under the aegis of the Forum of APC Aspirants for 2022 National Convention, alleged that the Lukman was engaging in some unholy activities, which also include, “undermining the APC at the behest of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)”.
The letter signed by a leading aspirant for the position of national youth leader, Barr. Maxwell Yakubu Gowon, on behalf of other aspirants; said the Buni led convention committee had not done anything to suggest that the aspirants would loose confidence in the process.
Read the full text of the open letter here:
“Re: APC Convention: Caretaker or Undertaker
Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari
“The Forum of APC Aspirants for 2022 National Convention writes to intimate Your Excellency on the true state of affairs with the National Convention of our great party, the All Progressive Congress (APC). We had initially decided against burdening Mr. President with the humdrum of the party’s working in the belief that the APC has enough statements in its fold to resolve ongoing issues while allowing Your Excellency on piloting the affairs of Nigeria.
“However, the revisionist open letter authored by the immediate past Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, who identified as a “Freelance APC Campaigner.” Without trivializing the present battle for the soul of the APC, it is pertinent to clarify from the onset that Lukman is yet to recover from the disgraceful circumstances of his exit as Director General of PGF and the only straw he can hold on to is to vilify the person and office of the Chairman of the the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), His Excellency Mai Mala Buni and other members of the Committee.
“Incidentally, Lukman is neither an aspirant nor a candidate of our party for the Convention and for any election in the future. In fact, the shady details about his forced exit from his most recent position was about how he was undermining the APC at the behest of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“There is documentary evidence in the media about how Lukman hounded the APC, its leadership, CECPC members and even party members for failing to align with the questionable position he was championing for certain State Governors that are eager to hijack the party structure for their 2023 ambitions. These inordinate ambitions of these governors run contrary to the legacy of humility that Your Excellency have demonstrated in your brand of leadership. For these people to achieve their aim, they will necessarily violate or contravene Mr. President’s directive of allowing due process to prevail and for the right thing to always be done.
“We are perplexed that Lukman is today pontificating and creating the impression that he means well for the party. If he truly means well, even as a lowly administrator of PGF, he would have leveraged that position to appeal to his former employers, the APC state governors, to respect party democracy and allow the will of most party members to prevail at the state chapters of the party. Whatever crises the party faces nationally today were birthed at the state levels owing to the overbearing disposition of some state governors. It is therefore perplexing that Lukman who timidly watched the state governors damage the party is now crying murder and attempting to re-write history as we know it and exonerate the state governors.
“We find it ridiculous that the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), which under the leadership of His Excellency Buni worked tirelessly to resolve some of the crisis in the party, was criminally maligned by Lukman. He accused the Committee of being highhanded and yet expect the same Committee to disregard the views strongly expressed by the party’s stakeholders pertaining to conditions that must be met to have a successful convention. It is pertinent to state that the clamour from stakeholders have been majorly about redressing the damages done by the governors at the state chapters, which would make mockery of democracy and our great party if the mistake is made of progressing with the convention without first addressing them. The CECPC refusal to plunge the party further into crisis by succumbing to the whims of the governors, for whom Lukman speaks, is the reason that the Committee and its leadership came under the kind of scathing attack contained in the open letter.
“Your Excellency, there have been diverse legal views expressed about the potential consequences of holding the Convention without first undoing the damage that some governors have inflicted on their state chapters of the party. As at the time of writing, some of the state chapters are still mired in legal tussles before the courts. It is interesting that the Reconciliation Committee, headed by Senator Abdulahi Adamu, based on its fair assessment of the extent to which it has been able to carry out its assignment, called for the postponement of the National Convention until the disagreeing factions in the party are better reconciled. It is most unfortunate that someone who claims to have the party’s interest at heart cannot reconcile themselves to the germane need to return the party into a united organization.
“On the fallacy that there are uncertainties meant to delay or prevent the convention from holding so that His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni will manipulate his emergence as the substantive National Chairman of the party, we find this to be a case of fertile imagination taken to the point of hallucination. Although, H.E Buni, being a member of the party has every right to aspire to any office he wishes to occupy but the truth is out in the open. He has not mounted billboards or placed posters like the aspirants to the post of national chairman or other offices have done. Also, he would have approached Your Excellency to seek your blessings if he was interested in continuing as the Party’s substantive national chairman. Therefore, that some governors, through Lukman, can lie so bare-facedly to Mr. President speaks volume of the treachery they are capable of and the extent to which they have gone to undermine the party for selfish interests and inordinate agenda.
“The open letter attempted to convolute the facts when it claimed that “the CECPC leadership is using sophisticated strategies to force the hands of party leaders, including blackmails and wildcat promises of electoral opportunity to emerge as candidates of our party for the 2023 elections.” This is democracy. People have been making contacts, holding consultations, and trying to build alliances ahead of the party’s primaries. Interestingly, even those for whom Lukman runs errands are engaged in these activities, which leaves one wondering why they think they have the monopoly of carrying on with their own strategizing while the rest of us cannot do the same. This is yet another proof that what Lukman is canvassing for is a new form of dictatorship whereby certain people evolve themselves into a class of leaders that are above the law and subject to different sets of rules that apply to only them. This, Your Excellency, is disparately at variance with what you stand for and have demonstrated to Nigerians repeatedly.
“Mr. President, the danger the APC faces now is from the actions and activities of characters like Lukman, who have perfected their defection to other political parties and are only still claiming membership of the APC only so that they can destroy it from within. His open letter is a strategy to distract attention from the damage that his sponsors are doing to the party. They know that the best thing for the APC at this point is to stop seeing and treating them as members, which implies that they should no longer be allowed to be part of decision making to the extent that they have arranged and perfected their defection to other parties after they would have irredeemably damaged our party.
“Contrary to the lies that the likes of Lukman have promoted about the current leadership of the party, Forum of APC Aspirants for 2022 National Convention is pleased to assert that H.E. Buni’s CEPCP is a major reason we still have confidence that the party can still be healed and repositioned in time for it to excel in the 2023 elections. The CEPCP Chairman performed creditably in the way he has handled preparations for the convention by consulting with aspirants before key decisions are taken. Results of his administrative and reconciliatory efforts include the stability that has returned to the state chapters as manifested by last week’s swearing-in of state chairmen and the subsequent inauguration of state excos across the 36 states of the federation. A hurried national convention would have denied the party this opportunity of rebuilding itself up from the base and this is what those that are keen on destroying the APC want to prevent.
“In conclusion, we would have urged Your Excellency, in your capacity as the leader of our great party, to order an investigation of the disgraced former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman to find out the extent to which he is complicit of the allegation that he is being funded by the opposition PDP to undermine the APC. But we came to the realization that this would be playing into the plot to distract the APC at the highest level, which is not needed at this point. The designation of “Freelance APC Campaigner” he assigned to himself is enough proof that he has already expelled from the party since the concept of freelance campaigner is alien to the party.
“Our prayer, however, is that Mr. President should pass a vote of confidence in His Excellency Mai Mala Buni-CEPCP’s ability to organize the National Convention that will usher in a new dawn for the APC. This expression of confidence in the Committee will re-assure us that we are in a party of rule of law and internal democracy.
“Thank you Mr. President. May God continue to guide you aright.
Barrister Maxwell Yakubu Gowon
For 2022 Convention NEC Aspirants.
Feb 16, 2022”.