The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Northwest, Salihu Lukman has expressed concern over what he sees as a lack of fiscal discipline within the ruling party.
He revealed that the APC has been functioning without a budget for more than a year.
In a letter titled, “Contestation and Disagreements are Defining Attributes of a Progressive Party,” sent to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Lukman asserted his commitment to keeping party leaders accountable.
He stressed that threats of expulsion would not deter him, and added that “a rejection of his membership does not translate to a renunciation of his citizenship.”
According to Lukman, he has been accused of violating agreements from the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting on May 3, 2023.
The accusations, he stated, were based on his decision to voice his concerns in the media, instead of using the party’s internal structures to make his demands.
He stated, “First, the agreements of May 3 presuppose that structures of the party would be activated to guarantee internal contestations and debates. So far, the only structure of the party meeting is the NWC. Even the NWC, since the agreement of May 3, had no dedicated meeting convened to consider all the issues that made it compelling to institute the court case aimed at restoring constitutional order in APC in the first place. As a person, no one, not even the National Chairman or National Secretary being the two presiding officers of the party have deemed it fit to invite me for any form of engagement on the issues I raised, which compelled me to institute the legal action against them and the APC. All I see is a return to business as usual.
“Recall that our NEC has not met for more than a year. We have managed the party since April 2022 without an approved budget as required under Article 13.3A(xiv) of the APC constitution. No report of any kind to any organ, not even the NWC.
“Yet, Article 13.4(ii) and (iv) require the NWC to submit quarterly reports of activities and finances covering income and expenditure to NEC.
“Billions of Naira have been expended based on discretionary decisions of the National Chairman and National Secretary. Till date, no member of the NWC can claim to know how much is in all the accounts of the party outside Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore and perhaps the National Treasurer and National Financial Secretary.
“We have had Osun and Ekiti elections, which cost the party billions without any attempt to review experiences, and in the case of Osun, specifically identify reasons why the party lost the election even when we are faced with the embarrassing situation whereby in Osun, not only did we lose the 2022 Governorship election, but we have also been roundly defeated in the 2023 elections.
“We lost all the three Senatorial seats, lost all the seats for House of Representatives and lost all the House of Assembly seats. And this is the state where the National Secretary, Sen. Omisore come from. And he seats shamelessly, pompously and pretending to command political influence when he cannot win any election. If we are truly aspiring to be a progressive party, leadership must be earned. Sen. Omisore must give an account of his leadership in Osun State in every respect. Osun is the only state in the country today where the party has no single elected representative. Maybe we have Counsellors, who by this trend would be voted out in the next election.
“A party aspiring to be a progressive party must respect its constitution and at the minimum allow all its organs to meet as enshrined in the constitution. It is not about convenient interpretation, which with respect to the NEC, for instance, it is statutorily required to meet quarterly and the National Legal Adviser, Barr. Ahmed El-Marzuq would brazenly and audaciously seek to manipulate the NWC to imagine that meetings of NEC should be at the discretion of the NWC. This is the kind of advice you can only get from any member of the legal profession whose knowledge of the law is so narrow and self-serving, which is most unfortunate.”
Declaring that he is not afraid of expulsion from the party, Lukman also warned Adamu to stop maligning him before other NWC members, insisting that he has never been sacked in places where he had worked.
He said, “Both Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore, from all available reports, appeared to be animated that I have resumed public advocacy on the need to save the APC and ensure that the structures of the party are given life in line with provisions of the APC constitution. Yes, I have resumed public advocacy because all the structures that should have permitted internal debates are being blocked from the meeting. For the records, if you want to resume deliberations to consider expelling me from the party, you are free to do so. I will defend myself publicly to the best of my ability. APC, as a party founded with the vision of being a progressive party, must accommodate debates and contestations. Nobody, no matter how highly placed should imagine that the best way to win debates and contestation is to bully and blackmail opponents. I can guarantee you; no amount of bullying will stop the campaign to return APC to constitutional order.
“By the way, you are free to expel me from APC, but you cannot expel me as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. APC is not private property. It is a public political organisation with rules, which must be respected. Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore can block organs of the APC from meeting to the extent that other leaders of the party are willing to permit. No one can block me, in any way, from discharging my right to engage the issues both as Nigerian and as a member of APC, expelled or not. For your information, I am currently working to document all these experiences, which I will publish, God willing, so that it contribute to the body of knowledge in the development of party politics in Nigeria. Whether you respect my right to hold membership of APC or not, I can proudly say that my publications will remain references for anyone who wishes to understudy the APC for the foreseeable future.
“Perhaps, let me also indulge the National Chairman, Sen. Adamu by informing him that contrary to his campaign of slander against me, I consider myself a very successful person. Unlike the lies he enjoys telling NWC members that I was sacked in five places, in all the places I worked, I left credible records, and they are all there to be verified. Respect begets respect. I respect Sen. Adamu and I will not because of disagreement with his politics slander his person and his reputation”.