Dr. Salihu Lukman, the former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), has stressed the importance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being attentive to the aspirations of Nigerians.
Following a meeting with two former national chairmen of the ruling party, Bisi Akande and Adams Oshiomhole, in Abuja, Lukman emphasized that constructive disagreement is a fundamental element of progressive politics.
He stated, “To evolve into a progressive political party means being inherently connected to Nigerians, based on which both the party and the governments it forms should be both responsive and reflective of the broader interests of Nigerians.”
Lukman disclosed that he discussed recent developments in the party, including publications and transitional politics, with the two leaders. The immediate Vice Chairman (Northwest) of the APC reported, “Both leaders welcomed the initiative and expressed concerns about recent events that have eroded the democratic space within the party.
“In particular, both leaders recognized the leadership role played by President Bola Tinubu in resisting attempts by some conservative leaders within the party to impose a consensus presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
“They both recalled instances when many APC leaders had to unite against a determined effort by fellow party leaders to undermine the APC’s electoral victory during the 2023 elections.
“While commending the initiative to document these experiences, the two leaders were in agreement that returning the APC to its original vision of becoming a progressive party would necessitate a consistent struggle against conservative elements, both within and outside the party.
“This will not be an easy battle and will require a strong commitment and the capacity to persistently advocate for the restoration of democratic values within the APC.
“Comrade Adams (Oshiomhole) emphasized that progressive leaders within the APC must embrace disagreements as a foundation for nurturing the growth and development of both the party and Nigeria’s democracy.
“He recalled some of the disagreements we had when he was national chairman and how my ability to express my disagreement with his positions had defined our relationship since our time in the National Union of Textiles in the early 1990s.
“It was a rare privilege to meet these leaders. It is both inspiring, reassuring, and challenging to listen to their perspectives on developments within the APC and what needs to be done to return the APC to its original vision.
“My hope is to stimulate a more profound internal debate within the APC regarding the party’s development in line with its founding vision. The engagement will continue, focusing on APC and transition politics, and hopefully, it will be utilized to encourage a more profound internal discussion within the party regarding the future of Nigerian democracy.
“One of the key objectives of this deeper internal debate will be the transformation of the APC into more than just an electoral vehicle, expanding its role beyond merely producing candidates for elections.”