Dr. Salihu Lukman, former Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has urged the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to abandon any illusion that being a governing party would guarantee electoral victory in 2023.
In a statement released titled ‘Success or Failure: APC and Campaign for 2023,’ Lukman stated that APC leaders must wake up to the reality of preparing for 2023 campaigns.
While the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are daily mobilizing for 2023, the APC chieftain stated that despite the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and many APC state governments, the APC leaders’ voices are low.
He emphasized that without proper planning, the APC’s campaign in 2023 would be reactive and defensive.
“Without a doubt, preparing for 2023 electoral contests for APC, as the governing party, comes with a lot of challenges,” Lukman says. As a party, the APC must avoid putting itself in the difficult position of campaigning on propaganda, which will ultimately seek to dismiss challenges confronting the country and rationalize every action taken by governments controlled by the party.”
He believed that APC leaders needed to recognize challenges and objectively assess government initiatives.
“Where there are obvious flaws, recognize and accept them as a reflection of the commitment to correct the situation.” Only through such dedication will party leaders be able to gain the trust of Nigerians and, as a result, their support.
“Winning Nigerians’ support should be the APC campaign’s focus in 2023.” Leaders of the APC must dispel any notion that being the ruling party guarantees electoral victory. Indeed, being a ruling party has a significant disadvantage because power is always unpopular,” Lukman added.
The party chieftain stated that PDP leaders and international sympathizers would continue to set the tone for the 2023 campaigns, which would portray the APC and its government under President Buhari as failures.
According to Lukman, the narrative promoted by the PDP and their supporters is that the country’s insecurity challenges are proof that President Buhari and the APC have failed Nigerians.
He claimed that insecurity in the country was being used to mobilize Nigerians against the APC in order to defeat the party in the 2023 elections, citing campaign promises made by the APC in 2015 to end insecurity, fight corruption, and build the economy.
The APC chieftain also urged APC leaders, particularly the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee led by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, to release the party from the current state of uncertainty surrounding the February 26 national convention.
“We must appeal to APC leaders, particularly the leadership of the APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of Buni, to liberate the party from the current high level of uncertainty surrounding the February 26, 2022, APC national convention,” Lukman said.
“It is critical that the convention be allowed to generate the necessary excitement around all of the convention’s contests.” As the national convention, it should be the best opportunity to celebrate the party and begin mobilizing every party member to recommit to the 2023 elections.”
According to Lukman, while Buhari was not in denial about Nigeria’s security challenges, acknowledging them demonstrates the APC leaders’ commitment to addressing the country’s insecurity problem.