By Godwin Amunde
The Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, (PGF) Dr. Salihu Lukman, said the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) must not be an all-comers affair, insisting that only those with progressive credentials should be admitted into its fold in the ongoing nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise.
He said the recent attempt to accept Chief Femi Fani-Kayode into the fold of the APC was a clear attempt by some partisans to manipulate the leadership of the ruling party into doing the wrong thing.
It would be recalled that the media was earlier in the week awash with reports alleging that Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was set to join the APC following a meeting with the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni, and Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello who chairs the Mobilization Committee of the party.
In a statement titled, “APC and the Question of Values, “Lukman said Fani-Kayode “was not welcome to join APC because he doesn’t have the values required to be a member.”
Part of the statement reads: “The issue of Mr. Fani-Kayode’s drifted attempt to join the APC is a clear instance of attempts to manipulate some of our leaders into accepting membership of someone who ought not to have been considered a member of our party. If that was the case in the past, it is better late than never to correct such a mistake.
“As party members, we were able to rise up to the challenge of engaging our leaders. Fortunately, we are able to gain the respect of our leaders and surely, moving forward, issues of who qualifies to be a member of our party will be clarified unambiguously.
“The fact of being successful is what is attracting almost everyone desirous of accessing political opportunities to join our party. No doubt, that is not good. But it must be stressed; it will require strong internal contestation to control that. Again, that we are as a party debating the issue of who should join our party or not, represents the qualitative difference between the APC and PDP. If it were PDP, once the National Chairman of the party acts on a matter and backed by a serving governor, members can only grumble.
“I am proud to have my voice guaranteed and affirmed by my leaders in APC. As an employee of Governors, it has been a privileged opportunity to speak out openly on matters within the purview of leadership initiative. Rather than my leaders, including our Governors, relating to me as a subordinate who should only take instructions, they recognise and respect my views as a loyal member of the party. Part of the responsibility that imposes is that we should be able to speak out to protect and defend our leaders and our party.
“May be this could challenge the PDP and other parties in Nigeria to begin to address issues related to their failings. It is a process, not a once off action. If you don’t agree with this position, abusing the APC, its leadership or members, including this writer will change nothing. You are most welcome.”