By Godwin Amunde
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman said there is an urgent need for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider a review of its Constitution and develop proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party to serve as bylaws in order to regulate their conduct.
The DG of the PGF – a forum of governors on the platform of the ruling party – said to resolve the internal squabbles in the APC, the Governor Mai-Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee has to setup a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.
Lukman gave the suggestion in a statement he issued at the weekend in Abuja entitled, “The Future of Progressive Politics in Nigeria.”
He argued that beyond electing leaders, internal rules of the party should be strengthened to ensure that all party organs are made functional and the conduct of party leaders, including elected and appointed officials, are regulated to ensure that they project truly Progressive conducts and credentials.
Lukman said the code of conduct is necessary in order to prevent situations whereby officials of the party will not abuse their office and conduct themselves in manners that could undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying to include the deployment of state law enforcement machinery and officials against fellow citizens and party members.
According to him, the interim leadership led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni is expected to deliver a credible membership register before the proposed national convention of the party to elect a new set of national officers.
He said: “Given that the most important mandate of the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is to organise a National Convention where new leadership will be elected, what are the steps required, which the Mai Mala Buni Committee should take to ensure that the national leadership of the party that will emerge are not nominees of potential Presidential candidates?
“The best way to check whether new leaders are nominees of potential Presidential candidates could be perhaps whether they emerge from electoral contests.
“How fair was the contest and to what extent could the issue of credible and verifiable membership register support the process of selecting the new leadership of APC at the coming national convention?”
He added: “As it is today, APC is the only party with the potential of promoting progressive politics based on ensuring that the party is able to put in place credible and verifiable membership register as basis for membership and citizens’ participation. The management of the membership must be such that it makes it easy for records to be updated and accessed.
“For the party to guarantee participation, processes of leadership emergence should be transparently democratic involving wider scope of members. Beyond electing leaders, the internal rules of the party should be strengthened to ensure that all party organs are made functional and the conduct of party leaders, including elected and appointed officials, are regulated to ensure that they project truly progressive conducts and credentials.”
Lukman asserted that, being progressives should mean that APC leaders are taking all the measures required to ensure seamless political contests within the party as a result of which political conflicts are giving way to healthy political contests.
“This would suggest reversal in the process of decline of the party. Should this become the new reality, the APC then could begin to transform itself into a mass-oriented party with expanded membership, developing relationship with organised interest groups.
“Are these going to be the issues for debate as we move towards having a national convention to elect new leaders of the APC? Or are we going to submit ourselves as party members to the antics of political bullies whose only mission is to force every party member to silence and allow structures of the party to be manipulated to produce candidates for 2023? Time will tell.
“The struggle to make APC a progressively democratic party must not be surrendered to forces of reaction acting as political bullies,” he said.