In the letter dated 27th May 2022 titled: “Rebuilding APC: Need for new Initiatives,” the former Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) stressed the need to take every measure to avoid past pitfalls.
Lukman copied President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Chief Ogbonayan Onu and all the NWC members.
He alleged he new NWC under Adamu is gradually toeing the old path of the leadership style of Comrade Adams Oshiomole and Hon. Mai Mala Buni where decisions are taken are left unimplemented and members not been carried along.
“Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions are taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along,” he wrote
Lukman also frowned at the old approach of dropping President Muhammadu Buhari’s name as the sole determinant of crucial activities in the party, arguing that the approach was not only unfair to the President but an attempt to use his name to give excuses for failure when it happens.
He cited the inability of the party to conduct the screening of its presidential aspirants 48 hours before the May 29 special convention and presidential primary.
According to him: “Presidential aspirants are yet to be screened. The official explanation is that you are awaiting final consultation with President Buhari. At the risk of sounding agitated, this is unfair to President Buhari because to the best of my understanding it is an attempt to use the President’s name to give excuses for failure, if it happens, which should not be the case.”
The three-page letter reads: “I find it necessary to send this letter to further appeal to you to review our approaches under the current National Working Committee (NWC) under your leadership. It is now two months since we came into office and you have so far raised a lot of expectations given that some of the problems, which undermined the support base of previous leadership, would appear to have been minimised.
“For instance, meetings of the NWC are now held almost every week. Members participate actively and where necessary engage and contest issues. It is to your credit that you accept the positions of members even when you disagree. This is a remarkable departure from what was obtained in the past where the National Chairman conduct meetings of party organs as Chief Executive and to that extent, therefore, exercises prerogatives and overrules members.
“The big challenge is ensuring that decisions taken are faithfully and implemented. The inability of previous leadership under His Excellency. Adams Oshiomhole and His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni to implement decisions taken were partly responsible for the leadership crisis that confronted the party. Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions are taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along.
“No doubt, given all the challenges inherited and coming at a time when it’s extremely difficult to control events and almost everything would appear to have been set against the party and its leadership, we need to take every measure to avoid past pitfalls.”
Cautioning the National Chairman to avoid taking unilateral decisions, the former PGF boss referred to the setting up of the transition committee to take stock of what the NWC inherited as a singular initiative.
“Perhaps, it is important to acknowledge that, as National Chairman, you have raised the expectations of many of us in the NWC, and by extension many party leaders. For instance, the whole idea of setting up a transition committee, which took stock of what we have inherited was your singular initiative.
“The report of the committee was, to say the least very shocking. Apart from the fact that there were more than 200 employees in the party’s National Secretariat, most of whom without valid letters of employment, there were no standardized conditions of service. Statutory requirements for taxations, pensions and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws are not being respected. There were claims by legal firms about liability owed for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
“All these were partly responsible for why many of the party’s bank accounts were blocked by subsisting court judgements, most of which copies are not available at the National Secretariat, which with your guidance the Party’s Legal Department can resolve.
“Partly based on your recommendations and insistence, to reform the Secretariat, the NWC decided to send all the Directors on leave pending the outcome of our investigation. It is clear to every discerning member of the NWC that many of the Directors, if not all, would have to go. it is also clear that apart from the Directors, many workers in the Secretariat should go.
“However, important and laudable as these decisions would appear to be, is inadequate if it is not matched with initiatives to standardize operational practices in the National Secretariat, especially in terms of ensuring that employment requirement conforms with extant labour laws. As the ruling party, this must be guaranteed.”
The National Vice-Chairman then lamented that decision on the reform of the Secretariat has been suspended. He said: “As things are, we have suspended every initiative to reform the Secretariat, understandably so given all the challenges of meeting deadlines for electing party candidates for 2023 general elections. The danger is that what we inherited will soon become the accepted practice and new Directors and workers would be employed without any commitment to meeting provisions of the law concerning employment standards.”
He also frowned at the casual approach of the NWC in handling critical affairs of the party.
According to Lukman: “The case of appointing Screening, Primary and Convention Committees is a good example.
“Again, although with your prompting, a committee was set up under the leadership of Deputy National Chairman (North). Sen. Abubakar Kyari with the task of managing all the processes, eventually the committee was unable to discharge its function.
“Partly because of that, for instance, although the National Convention to elect the party’s Presidential Candidate is scheduled for May 29 and 30, less than 48 hours, we are yet to have a Convention Committee in place.
“The Presidential aspirants are yet to be screened. The official explanation is that you are awaiting final consultation with President Buhari. At the risk of sounding agitated, this is unfair to President Buhari because to the best of my understanding it is an attempt to use the President’s name to give excuses for failure, if it happens, which should not be the case.
“As NWC and as our leader being the National Chairman, I want to appeal to you on the need for new initiatives in managing the party. At the rate we are going, we are walking back to the old spot of over-centralised implementation of party decisions around the National Chairman. Increasingly, critical challenges of managing important tasks such as organising the National Convention to produce the Presidential Candidate of the party is being handled informally. This should not be so, and everything must be done to correct that.
“Finally, the issue of conditions of party leaders, including the NWC members is completely left unattended. The official excuse is that you requested a budget. Consequently, after two months now in office no decision has been taken to pay members of the NWC. The specific details of entitlements of NWC members are being reduced to speculations. This is very unhealthy and should be corrected. Partly. this is giving legitimacy to many unethical practices, which would appear to be influencing some members of the NWC,
“Your Excellency, I wanted to meet you to discuss these matters. Unfortunately, it has proved difficult, and I feel very strongly about these matters. I hope that you will be able to prioritize developing good relationships with individual members of the NWC to accommodate our perspectives in handling the task of rebuilding our party. APC. I am confident that Your Excellency will be able to provide the needed leadership to rebuild our party, APC.”