Salihu Moh. Lukman
Progressive Governors Forum
One of the Sunday Newspaper of June 21, 2020 sensationally carry a headline “13 governors back NWC, 7 oppose”. The report claimed, “The crisis rocking the All Progressive Congress (APC) has divided the governors elected on the platform of the party.” The report alleged that “13 governors are backing the Abiola Ajimobi-led National Working Committee, seven others are opposed to it.”
This is false as there is nothing like the kind of sensational division being alluded to among Progressive Governors. Progressive Governors are all individually and collectively committed to the development of the party. In the context of the current challenges facing the party leadership, Progressive Governors are all working for the quick resolutions of the crisis. Although approaches and perspectives of each progressive governor may vary, they have been able to debate and reach some consensus on the problems affecting the party as contained in the resolutions of the emergency teleconference meeting of Saturday, June 13, 2020. Part of the resolutions, which was made public include collectively working “to ensure strengthening fair and democratic internal party mechanism for the selection of party candidates in all elections.”
Strengthening fair and democratic internal party mechanism means that the party will recognise and respect individual position of every leader and member. Debates and contestation of positions will be encouraged in the party. Anyone who seek to stifle internal debate within the party is only interested in destroying the vital progressive credential, which the party must have to be able to live up to its commitment of being a social democratic.
Somehow, vested interests who may have been furtively peddling false allegations against some Progressive Governors for the perspectives they hold about the crisis facing the party, are doing everything possible to impose their fantasies. All other perspective outside those fantasies are being criminalised and every attempt is being made to break the ranks of Progressive Governors. This is unfortunate. The reality is that all Progressive Governors are guided by all the resolutions adopted at the June 13, 2020 meeting. Those trying to create imaginary divisions are enemies of the party and clearly not interested in contributing in any way to bringing about an end to the crisis facing the party.
As part of the schema of dividing the ranks of Progressive Governors, fictitious support for and against HE Sen. Abiola Ajimobi are being raised. For the avoidance of doubt, HE Sen. Ajimobi is a respected founding member of the Forum. Any day and anytime, HE Sen. Ajimobi will enjoy the fraternal support of all Progressive Governors. However, given the current leadership challenges, it is not about support for or against sections of the NWC as is being projected. It is more about ensuring that the NWC function as a united organ of the party based on which it is able to make provisions of the APC constitution functional. It will be downgrading to attempt to project HE Sen. Ajimobi as a factional leader of the NWC.
It would appear that those behind the Sunday, June 21, 2020 Newspaper report are acting more like pornographic leaders, who as aptly described by Warren Bennis in his 1989 classic, Why Leaders Can’t Lead are people “distanced from reality, from direct experience. They are not real people but appendages … engaged in mechanical acts. These appendages are so without personalities or identifiable social characteristics”. They just sit down in their remote locations and attempt to simulate so called positions of leaders of the party, including Progressive Governors. They are merchants of crisis and conflicts. Every debate is reduced to conflicts based on which sections of the party are being pitched against each other.
Once the crisis of leadership commenced in the APC, these individuals who perfectly fit the description of Warren Bennis begin to escalate the situation such that it is no longer about the party but individuals. Consequently, it become all about the supremacy of some leaders of the party. Nigerians must be wary of these crisis merchants who don’t mean well for leaders of the APC, the party – APC – and by extension the nation’s democracy.
APC will overcome all its current leadership challenges; Progressive Governors and all APC leaders will emerge strongly united. Every party member and leader should be committed to the resolution of the crisis as well as Nigerians who are committed to democracy based on the presence of resilient party structures that meet, take decisions and governed based on those decisions as provided by the party’s constitution, which is what defined the supremacy of the party.
This position does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum