After the news of his resignation as Director-General of Progressive Governors Forum went public on Monday, January 17, 2022, Dr Salihu Lukman broke the silence on Wednesday morning, stating the reaction of All Progressives Congress leaders to the news, especially the National Leader and Presidential hopeful, Bola Tinubu.
Lukman, who confirmed his resignation, said that he was reticent to speak out on Monday as his resignation letter had only reached the Chairman of the Forum, Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu.
He disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Campaign to Return APC to its Founding Vision’.
According to Lukman, “I can confirm that it is true I have given my resignation to Forum Chairman, Abubakar Bagudu. I restrained myself from making any public statement on the matter because I am still awaiting acceptance. I have privately responded to many enquiries from party leaders, friends, family members and clarified that it is true that my decision to resign from my position is to enable me to continue with the campaign to return APC to its founding vision, which is to build a party that is not only democratic but oriented based on social democratic principles.”
He said since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contests in the APC began to degenerate, adding that some leaders became intolerant and conducted themselves almost as tyrants.
The Former PGF DG lamented that every campaign to get the party’s leadership to commence the internal reform process was resisted as some party leaders, in the bid to emerge as candidates of the party for offices, became hostile.
“Interestingly, following the news of my resignation, many party leaders and members called to express these worries. One of the party leaders who honoured me with an invitation to meet him late on Tuesday, January 17, 2022, was Bola Tinubu. He commended me for championing the campaigns to reform the party and expressed shock that some members of the Forum were intolerant to criticism.
“He argued that any party leader who will not accommodate critical opinion on a fundamental issue such as respecting decisions and especially a matter as sensitive as organising the National Convention, which is the highest organ of the party, such a person is not a democrat and shouldn’t be associated with a party envisioned to be progressive such as the APC.
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“With these words, he encouraged me to continue with my campaign, which is what the party need. He declared his support to all decisions of President Buhari to ensure that APC Convention hold in February 2022. Good enough, the Caretaker Committee has announced that the Convention will hold February 26, 2022,” Lukman explained.
The former PGF boss expressed gratitude for the leadership style of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who disagreed with what was going on in the party and supported the campaign for reform.
He said the inspiration to set up the current Caretaker Committee came from the President based on the expectation of ensuring that the drift in the party is arrested. This is expected to produce new leadership, which should emerge at the party’s National Convention.
“Once the Caretaker Committee began to show signs of reluctance to organise the Convention, it should be a source of concern to all party members desirous of reform.
“The next task before all party leaders is to ensure the party’s new leadership to emerge from the February 26, 2022, National Convention will be tolerant to criticism, democratic and more importantly share the commitments of the founding leaders to build a truly progressive party. The campaign to return APC to its founding vision is just starting!” Lukman declared.