All Progressives Congress North West Zone Chairman Salihu Lukman says it is absurd for anyone to believe he has left his party to work for Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi.
This was revealed in a statement titled ‘False Policy of 2023’ and issued in Abuja on Sunday by its media officer.
The development comes just 24 hours after a director of Tinubu-Shettima’s presidential campaign council, Naja’atu Muhammad, left the team and the ruling party.
Until he left, Mohammed, 67, was the Director of the PCC’s Civil Society Directorate.
His resignation was said to have caused a stir in the APC camp.
But Lukman, a member of the APC National Labor Committee, dismissed leaving the party or supporting the opposition camp as speculation.
He said: “A close friend and comrade recently asked me if I am obedient, suggesting that I am supporting Mr. Peter Obi. To say the least, he was very appalled that anyone could imagine that he would support any candidate other than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. I can excuse anyone if this is the first time he has met me. Having come a long way as an activist and political trainee since my student days in the 1980s, our commitment to Nigerian politics and development was grounded in a clear vision of building a society based on equality and justice.
“Partly because scholarship is so poor in Nigeria today, there are many so-called compliant supporters who promote outright falsehood and hate politics against other candidates and their supporters. Unfortunately, this is counterproductive.
“As an APC member, I want to campaign for all of our candidates while respecting our opposition. People are free to make their decisions and we must respect that. Once the element of respect is removed from candidate election politics, democracy risks being degraded to the level of anarchy. The temptation to fall into disrespectful policies could be linked to the apparent lack of confidence in winning the elections.
“With reference to the so-called Obidients, as much as we respect their choice, we must also appeal to them to honestly acknowledge Obi’s shortcomings as a politician and Labor’s as a political party. Acknowledging these shortcomings will be important in convincing Nigerians to enter the contest as well as a strategy to reform both the person of Obi and the organization of the LP as a political party. As for the person of Obi, so far, the characteristics of him are that of a typical Nigerian politician who is more of a poll trader who runs for election every four years, even if it means changing political parties.
“Being an electoral merchant connotes an evident lack of commitment and discipline to be loyal to any political party. This partly explains why Obi moved from the All Progressive Grand Alliance to the Peoples’ Democratic Party and now the LP between 2015 and now. What is the guarantee that his candidacy for the LP also entails a commitment to develop the party and get it to overcome all of his challenges. Given that it is public knowledge that the LP has been embroiled in a leadership crisis, how does Obi use his campaign to negotiate a resolution of the LP crisis? From a distant point of view, Obi is in fact indifferent to the crisis facing the LP.
“Of all the main candidates, the only one who has never left his party for any party is Tinubu. He is the only national political leader since stepping down as Governor of Lagos State in 2007 to run for the first time as a presidential candidate in the 2023 elections. Furthermore, he is the only contender who, along with other APC leaders, glimpsed the political road map for the defeat of the PPD.
“Asiwaju’s candidacy therefore represents the hope for the rise of responsible leaders. In order to have responsible leaders, the presence of political parties with responsible management is required as provided in their rules.
“Many of us in APC are supporting Asiwaju as part of our ongoing campaign to continue building APC as a progressive party, capable of producing accountable elected representatives at all levels. We do so with full confidence that Asiwaju will build on the legacy of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), which also includes respecting internal debate and contestation within the APC. The APC is the only party in Nigeria today that allows debate and internal disputes.”