APC, Ganduje: Where Lukman got it wrong, by Muhammad Garba

The recent development in the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is giving food for thought for stakeholders in the party and Nigerians in general. There has been resignations of members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

The National Chairman of the party and former Nassarawa state governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu. That was followed by the National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore. The National Vice Chairman, North West of the party, Dr. Salihu Lukman also followed suit. Earlier, another vacuum was created following the death of Hon. Friday Nwosu, the party’s National Welfare Officer.

Also, following Adamu’s quitting, the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari, whose name was submitted to the Senate as ministerial nominee, is preparing to resign from the NWC after chairing the National Executive Committee meeting.

With the creation of this vacuum stakeholders of the party are now busy scouting for their replacement including that of the National Chairman. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who felt, from all indication, that he has no other confidant he would like to emerge as the next chairman if the party other than his close ally and the immediate past governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Before this development Ganduje was among the President’s nominees for appointment as minister.

However, just as stakeholders in the party are accepting the proposal with an open hand, the National Vice Chairman, North-west, of the APC, Dr. Salihu Lukman, was all over the media, assuming the position of a spokesperson for the North Central geo-political zone. He opined that the chairmanship of the party should be zoned to the same North Central where Senator Adamu hailed.

From the begining, I felt that Lukman was genuinely having the interest of North Central at heart. However, events that followed his rantings in the media proved otherwise.

After writing series of open letters, first to the Progressive Governors Forum, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and members of the National Working Committee among others, Dr. Lukman unceremoniously
announced his resignation from membership of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in a letter dated July 26, 2023, and addressed to the Acting National Chairman of the party, Senator Abubakar Kyari, now a ministerial nominee.

One of the major reasons Lukman gave as his reason for relinquishing his position was his strong reservation that the APC governors, President Tinubu and virtually most of the stakeholder were solidly behind Ganduje’s emergence as the party’s next chairman.

Unfortunately he did not only oppose the emergence of Ganduje as the party’s helmsman, but also engaged in de-campaigning Ganduje in the media.

As a self-acclaimed activist, I have never expected that Lukman would give up so easily, because activists are known for their doggedness and steadfastness while pursuing what they think is right. If I were him, I would have remained in the party and see what happens next so that I can be part of those to ensure that things he claimed are wrong in the party are made right.

I also believe that his remaining in the NWC would also give Lukman the opportunity to fully understand who is Dr. Ganduje.

I firmly believe that he (Lukman) would come around to see how Ganduje will use his knowledge, vast experience, maturity and exposure to ensure that the APC breath a new lease of life.

Those of us who have worked with Dr. Ganduje for decades can attest to the fact that despite all efforts to dent his image, particularly the opposition in Kano, he remained one of the very few politicians in Nigeria one can count on.

A grassroots politician, a two-term deputy governor and two term governor with vast experience in party politics, I don’t think Dr Lukman has any reason to launch such a campaign against the former governor

Even Lukman, in all his media engagements after his resignation could not give any sound and acceptable reason for his opposition to Ganduje’s emergence as APC chairman.

It is common knowledge that even the purported dollar video with which his detractors wanted to hang him was merely political. It was a creation of his enemies to frustrate his chances then to emerge as APC gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 election.

Even though the matter has been before the courts of law, they continue to use it to block any chances of getting appointment in the Tinubu administration. A person of Lukman’s caliber ought to have understood that Ganduje remains not guilty unless proven otherwise.

As a party man, Lukman should appreciate the fact that one of the key determining factors in politics is loyalty, ability and capacity. Ganduje has all along been one of the most loyal members of the party since its formation.

Not only that, Tinubu has his support right from the time he signaled his intention to contest for the most exalted office in the land. At that time, only a handful of people were bold enough to identify with him because of fear from the centre. Ganduje suffered the consequences for that singular action.

Another albatross to Lukman’s zoning proposal to the North Central is the ever increasing endorsement from members of the party, including its elders and stakeholders which proved the acceptability of Ganduje to emerge as the APC national chairman.

As a true politician, Ganduje has been reaching out to all relevant stakeholders in the party to have their support and share their experiences, including the immediate past national chairman of the party. His belief has always been that internal democracy, wide consultation as well as making the party functional throughout the year would always be his focus.

I personally want to believe that if Lukman is not opposing Ganduje for hatred, then someone else must be sponsoring him to engage in this failed mission.

Garba is the immediate past commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs, Kano state