The former national vice chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Salihu Lukman says the party is now at the level of the opposition peoples democratic party (PDP) when former president Olusegun Obasanjo held sway between 1999 -2007.
Lukman in a piece titled: “The Cancer Destroying Nigerian Democracy” argued that six months since the emergence of President Asiwaju Tinubu, what is very clear is that his commitment to the development of the APC as a political party may only be guaranteed to the extent that the party will give him what he wants.
He contended that unless political parties are compelled to respect their rules based on which organs of the parties are allowed to function, problems of manipulation of political contests through imposition, vote buying and rigging would continue.
He noted: “It is almost a return to the old PDP model of party organisation under former President Olusegun Obasanjo with the requirement of 100% loyalty.
“Without any attempt to reopen old wounds, the requirement for 100% loyalty was responsible for the graveyard silence internally within the APC when Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was proposed by President Asiwaju Tinubu as National Chairman.
“After Dr. Ganduje’s successful emergence, there is also graveyard silence even when Dr. Ganduje continued with the practice of freezing structures of the party.
“No meetings of organs are taking place almost four months after the emergence of Dr. Ganduje as the APC National Chairman.
He said given such ugly reality, it should only be expected that the culture of manipulating political contests through imposition, vote buying, rigging would become entrenched in APC.
He added: “Like the case in PDP in 2007, it may grow to the point whereby almost all APC candidates for 2027 elections may be produced through imposition. Unless we want to lie to ourselves, as things are, culture of manipulating political contests through imposition, vote buying, rigging, etc.
“In APC has reached the point where PDP was in 2007. Recall that on May 29, 2007, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua while delivering his inaugural address to the nation, acknowledged that the election that brought him to power had shortcomings and undertook to ‘set up a panel to examine the entire electoral process with a view to ensuring that we raise the quality and standard of our general elections, and thereby deepen our democracy.”
He stressed that any proposal for electoral reform in the country must therefore include stronger regulatory framework for the operations of political parties in the country.
He added: “If INEC is not to be unbundled to produce Political Parties Regulatory Commission as proposed by the Justice Uwais panel, then it should be strengthened to regulate the conducts of political parties in the country, include getting parties to respect their own rules.
“So long as political parties in Nigeria are allowed to operate in a lawless manner, the problems of manipulating political contests would continue and the ‘challeng of unscramble the nexus connecting technical to politically motivated failures with a view to enhancing the integrity of elections in the country’ will continue to elude us as nation.
“At another level, being loyal APC members, we must also appeal to all APC leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu to resist the temptation of overindulging themselves with the false belief that they could continue to succeed to impose their choices on Nigerians.
“APC leaders must be humble enough to as much as possible bring themselves down to the levels of ordinary Nigerians and have a more listening ear.
“Inability to listen and have the needed humility to meet the expectation of Nigerians will strengthen the belief of leaders in unethical practices of manipulating political contests. As our Christians brothers and sisters would say, may this not be our portion in APC.”