The Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, has reacted to the raging controversies over his resignation from Office.
The news of his resignation broke on Monday, without official confirmation or rebuttal from either him or the party.
PGF is the association of all the APC governors.
Mr Lukman, in a statement received on Wednesday by this newspaper, confirmed his resignation and that he sent the letter to the PGF Chairman, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.
He did not, however, reveal what forced his exit but merely said he took the action to enable him to continue with his criticism of the APC with a view to returning the party to its original vision.
“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,” he said.
Mr Lukman is known for his critical comments against the party he worked for, particularly its national leadership.
Before the news of Mr Lukman’s exit filtered into the media space, a source familiar with the rumblings in the APC governors forum had revealed that some of the governors were making moves to dismiss him but his allies within the forum were proposing a soft landing, which is the option of resignation.
The former PGF DG was firing from all cylinders against the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole before it was controversially dismissed in June 2020.
His stance then was suspected to be that of some APC governors, who were hellbent on removing Mr Oshiomhole from the seat ahead of the 2023 general elections.
However, in a similar trend, Mr Lukman has recently been critical of the Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni-led interim leadership of the APC and his elongated tenure in office.
In one of his statements issued four days before his resignation, the former PGF DG slammed Mr Buni-led national caretaker committee of the party for not being forthright with its decision on the date for the conduct of its proposed national convention, which he believed was a ploy to extend the tenure of the committee and further earn bad publicity for the ruling party.
“The CECPC leadership has returned the party back to mode of open disrespect for any recommendation given. It is even worse now, given that the CECPC is ready to sacrifice the future of the party. Clearly, what is starring us in the face is that all the bad leadership records under Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC are about to be met and outstripped by the present CECPC.
“This clearly raises questions about political leadership recruitment approaches in the country. Unless this is addressed, as a party, APC may continue to change leaders, but the problem will remain,” he said in an open letter last week.
On a familiar turf
Without mentioning any particular name, Mr Lukman, in his Wednesday statement, disclosed that all attempts to restore the APC back to its vision remain unachieved as some of the leaders continued to exhibit tyrant’s traits.
“Since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contests 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. The 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,” he noted.
Mr Lukman, an ally of the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, said the latter invited him after the news of his resignation and encouraged him to continue with his campaign for a better party.
The party announced on Tuesday that it would hold its national convention on February 26.