The Director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman has revealed what APC can do in order to win 2023 elections.
Salihu believes that the strongest opponent of the APC is within the party itself, and that if it is able to manage the process of internal contest and sustain unity among its members/leaders, it will be able to the win the 2023 elections.
This was part of Lukman’s observations in an article he wrote on Sunday entitled ‘Determining Factors for 2023 Contests in APC.
The PGF director-general also spoke about what he described as the ‘electoral advantages’ accruing to the party on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s membership, and stressed the need for the party’s leaders to manage internal relationship in such a way that such advantages are maximized to sustain its victories.
He noted that the elections that APC lost in the past were due to internal disagreements and the party’s leaders working against it from inside.
Here, he cited the losses the party suffered in states like Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and many other places in the 2019 elections, which he said were brought upon it by aggrieved APC leaders who worked against candidates or leaders of the party as a result of internal disagreements around candidate selections for governorship of those states.
Lukman observed further: “Such internal disagreement almost cost the party the loss of Imo State until the Supreme Court confirmed the victory of the APC. In Ogun, it was a traumatic victory. Kano State governorship election certainly had its baggage of painful experiences. Lagos State was a shocking narrow victory, no thanks to avoidable challenges. Rambo political contest led to the loss of Edo State in the 2020 governorship election.
“APC leaders should also be reminded that it was internal rancorous contest that made APC to lose the 2014 Ekiti governorship election. Similar rancorous contest produced marginal victory for the APC in the 2018 Ekiti and Osun elections.
The reality is that if the APC had faced any of the challenges of the governorship elections in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and Osun during the 2019 presidential election, winning the election would have been impossible.”
He also noted that the absence of any disagreement during the internal contest for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the party in December 2014 was an electoral strength which helped the party to win its victories in 2019.
This electoral strength he linked to the president’s personality.
“He is the only personality in the political history of the country who polled a minimum of 12 million votes in all the elections he contested even as opposition candidate. And he contested elections under three parties – All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 and 2007, Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011, and APC in 2015 and 2019. This means that no matter the party, his electoral value is constant,” he noted.
The electoral advantage of the APC, he said, is more on account of the presence of President Buhari in the party.
To sustain this electoral advantage, however, APC must manage its process of internal contest for the emergence of candidates of the party for the 2023 elections such that all those who contest with the winners can accept the outcomes and support the candidates.
“Part of the landmark contributions made by APC to Nigerian politics, apart from the successful political merger of opposition parties in 2013 and the defeat of the ruling PDP in 2015, was that all those who contested the primary election with President Buhari accepted the results and declared support for his candidature in 2015 presidential election,” he noted.
And to achieve this, he stressed again the need for the “appropriate organs” of the party meeting and taking decisions in accordance to the provisions of the party’s constitution, such that the processes of electing standard bearers of the party for the 2023 elections will be acceptable. If this is done, he surmised, party leaders will accept the result of the elections and support the winners.
“This way, the presidential candidate of the party can have a very high probability of being supported by all leaders of the party, including those who may have contested the party primary and lost,” he said.