By Godwin Amunde
The Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, (PGF) – the umbrella body of all governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) – Dr. Salihu Lukman has cautioned the leadership of the APC against admitting former Aviation minister and chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Femi Fani Kayode into the party.
Lukman issued the warning in a statement titled “APC: Reminder about Our Values,” released to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The PGF DG described as disturbing, the circulation of pictures of a meeting between the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state who spearheads the APC Membership Mobilization and Fani-Kayode amidst speculations that the PDP chieftain was being encouraged to join the APC.
“Around the late evening of Monday, February 8, 2021, Nigerian media, especially social media, became alive with photos of our National Chairman, HE Mai Mala Buni and our Kogi State Governor, HE Yahaya Bello, in the company of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, a notable leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The speculation is that Mr Fani-Kayode is on his way to joining the APC. The verdict in most media platforms is quite disturbing, but justifiably so, if the news about Mr Fani-Kayode joining the APC is true,” he stated.
“That our leaders will be meeting with Mr Fani-Kayode in such a compromising way, suggesting that he may be on his way to joining our party, clearly indicates that either those of us saddled with the responsibility of advising them have failed or we have been completely cut off.
“How can a person who just a few days, if not a few hours ago wrote to one of our leaders and derogatorily and condescendingly condemned his political prospects of emerging as the Presidential candidate of our party, be given such a high-level reception? Assuming the open letter to our National Leader, which is all over our media at the time of such reception, wasn’t offensive, what of the open letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari last year?
“Besides the open letters, what abusive language has he not used against our party and our leaders? Most of these are unprintable. A typical example of the kind of abuses he spat on our leaders and our party can be demonstrated with his response to a tweet by Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Buhari on Information, last May 2020.
“For our leaders to associate themselves with Mr Fani-Kayode, is simply rewarding scandalous behaviour. Mr Fani-Kayode has fabricated stories, distorted, insulted and damaged information about our party and our leaders. The elementary rule of decency would require some good distance between our leaders and such a person.
“Not even the Ward leaders where he is located should be associated with him except for reasons of family ties. By the way, the Caretaker Committee of our party should avoid a situation whereby it takes a decision on issues that are very weighty without consultations. On no account should anyone with the kind of baggage of Mr Fani-Kayode be invited to join the party without clearance from a statutory structure of the party? In this particular instance, the National Caucus should be the clearinghouse
“Compared to most of Mr Fani-Kayode’s barrages of insults on APC and its leaders, this would appear to be very civil. Most Nigerians, both APC members and non-APC members would appear to be in agreement that any association between APC and its leadership with Mr Fani-Kayode is indicative of the problem of values,” the PGF DG stated.
He said as a progressive party, the APC should not be for someone like Fani-Kayode, asking whether the party leadership would also contemplate admitting secessionist agitator, Nnamdi Kanu or Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau into its fold, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari will not accept the admission of Fani-Kayode into the APC.
“Without being academic in any way, the issue of values is basically about the qualities of people and the vision they hold. What kind of people are we aspiring to attract into our party? Do we want to reduce our party into one in which everybody is welcome? Can we for instance in any way or form contemplate having a Nnamdi Kanu or Abubakar Shekau as a member? If that were to be the case, why don’t we just have INEC register IPOB and Boko Haram as political parties and allow them to field candidates for elections?
“We may be tempted to argue that Mr Fani-Kayode is not Nnamdi Kanu or Abubakar Shekau. It is however difficult to fathom what qualifies him to be associated with our leaders at that high level? At this rate, one day, Nigerians will just wake and see some of our leaders presenting Mr Fani-Kayode to President Buhari as a new member of our party. Although we can confidently argue that President Buhari will not approve such deranged possibility, it is important to caution that such consideration will be stretching the trust of party members beyond acceptable limits,” Lukman said.