Mr. Salihu Moh. Lukman has given reasons for his sudden resignation as Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr. Lukman disclosed this in a statement personally signed be him on Tuesday January 18, 2022 with the title “Campaign to Return APC to its Founding Vision.” He said:
“Since the news filtered out in the afternoon of Monday, January 17, 2022 about my resignation as Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), many party leaders, friends, family members and well-wishers have reached out to me with words of support and encouragement. Many people, especially journalists wanted confirmation.
“I can confirm that it is true I have given my resignation to Forum Chairman, His Excellency Abubakar Atiku 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 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.
“Since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contest in the APC began to degenerate. Some leaders became intolerant and conducted themselves almost as tyrants. Every campaign to get the leadership of the party to commence the process of internal reform was resisted. Some party leaders in the bid to emerge as candidates of the party for offices became hostile. Party campaign drifted to almost war situations in many instances. Organs of the party stop meetings as required by the constitution. Views of party leaders became decisions of the party.
“Thank God, we have a leader in President Muhammadu Buhari who disagreed with what is going on in the party and support the campaign for reform. Without going into all the details, the inspiration to setup the current Caretaker Committee came from President Buhari based on the expectation of ensuring that the drift in the party is arrested. This is expected to produce a new leadership, which should emerge at the party’s National Convention. Once the Caretaker Committee began to show sign of reluctance to organise the Convention, it should be a source of concern to all party members desirous of reform.
“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 Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He commended me for championing the campaigns to reform the party and expressed shock that some members of Forum were intolerant to criticism. He argued that any party leader who will not accommodate critical opinion on 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.
“With these words, he encouraged me to continue with my campaign, which what the party need. He declared his support to all decisions of President Muhammadu 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. The next task before all party leaders is to ensure the new leadership of the party 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!”