By Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The only way the National Caretaker / Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) can succeed in delivering on its mandate is to follow a well-guided reconciliation and peacebuilding process within the party.
This position was canvassed by the Director-General, Progressives Governors Forum, Dr Salihu Lukman, according to a Daily Times correspondent.
In a personal letter titled “Appeal for Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in APC”, written to the chairman of the Caretaker Committee, who is also the governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni, and made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Lukman set a five-point agenda for the party leadership ahead of an extraordinary national convention.
According to him, it is expedient to reconcile aggrieved stakeholders knowing fully that after the emergency NEC of June 25, 2020, the atmosphere in the party is still held hostage by the cloud of pro and anti-Comrade Adams Oshiomhole mindset.
“One of the major challenges facing APC today, in its efforts to nurture and consolidate democratic governance, revolves around the management of intra-party conflicts that have created strong factions and opposing groups at all levels.
“But more importantly is the inability to manage and resolve these internal conflicts in a democratic manner. The diversity of interests of political leaders and its unpredictable manifestations during elections mainly because of conflicting aspirations is partly the source of instability within parties.
“Therefore, the ability to manage or reconcile conflicting interests of APC members is a definite requirement. Poor management would mean vulnerability to incidences of unresolvable disagreements resulting in avoidable internal disputes and loss of membership.
“To sustain the capacity to recreate the APC through initiatives of continuous reconciliation is an urgent requirement,” he submitted.
In a submission which does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum, the Director General said the APC Caretaker Committee should take every necessary step in order to achieve reconciliation and peacebuilding in the party.
Lukman charged the committee to work towards “encouraging internal debate without intimidating members who hold divergent/dissenting views from those held by leaders. Leaders should be accommodating to criticism.
He asked the Buni-led committee to “Convene a dedicated session of the National Caucus to review 2019 General Election, including Kogi and Bayelsa elections and now preparations for Edo and Ondo Governorship elections; and to convene an NEC meeting to consider and approve proposed activities of the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee up to the Extra Ordinary National Convention.
Part of the reconciliation step he suggested include “commencing processes of Membership Recruitment/Verification, leading to Reformation of Leadership of the party from Wards, Local Government, States to the Extra Ordinary National Convention; and Setting up of Constitutional Review/Amendment Committee”, which should be able to submit proposals for review/amendment of the APC constitution.
According to Lukman, these are very important steps that will assist to reposition the party, so that everything is not reduced to just about electing new leadership.
“In the unfortunate event that everything is reduced to just electing new leadership, there will be the high probability that the party will gradually snowball into another round of leadership crisis especially as we move towards 2023.
“In fact, the business of the forthcoming Extra Ordinary National Convention risks being marred with leadership dispute as the high current of 2023, which is already rearing its heads in the debate around initiatives which should drive processes leading to Extra Ordinary Convention could undermine any attempt at consensus-building leading to the emergence of the new leadership.
“Once efforts toward consensus building failed, the possibility of failed contest and new rounds of conflict should be expected,” he said.
He said the fundamental essence of initiatives for reconciliation and peacebuilding in APC will create an atmosphere that enables the APC to engage in critical review of its effort at party-building and cohesion.
Accordingly, he added that the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee’s initiative towards reconciliation and peacebuilding will be required to involve a wider spectrum of critical stakeholders in the APC leadership at various strata of the party for the purposes of a much more cohesiveness and sustainable resolution of all the leadership challenges facing the party.