2027: APC must be reformed now to confer electoral advantages – Lukman 

A former National Vice Chairman in North-west for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Salisu Moh. Lukman, has called to deliberate reforms in the ruling party would confer stronger electoral advantages ahead of the 2027 general elections.

Lukman said reforming the APC and making all organs of the party functional, resolving challenges of party funding, operating an Annual National Budget of more N100 Billion and benchmarking conditions of service of party leaders at all levels with public service conditions, combined, would deepen Nigerian democracy.

In a statement released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja, titled ‘Wither Nigerian Democracy: Urgency of Rebuilding Political Parties’, the former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) also submitted that for party organs to be made functional, the issue of party funding must be resolved beyond the current reality of dependence on elected representatives. 

According to him, many are not preferred for such challenges. Nonetheless, these are challenges that must be overcome if the campaign for deeper reform in Nigerian politics must succeed. On no account, should the campaign for deeper political reform in Nigeria be allowed to be reduced to conformist standards.

“Once that is the case, we will continue to elect leaders that would fail to meet expectations of citizens. It will be more prospective to reform current leaders than produce new leaders based on the expectation that, that alone can resolve our political challenges. To the extent of producing new leaders who are unable to meet citizens expectations, Nigerian democracy will be weak in terms of responsiveness and representation and therefore, anything but democratic. What is it that can be done to address such problem?

“Unlike many, I believe that, with all our shortcomings in APC and weak capacity to access and influence decisions of President Asiwaju Tinubu, all is not lost. To the extent that APC leaders and President Asiwaju Tinubu can consider proposals for internal reform of the APC, the prospects of APC rectifying its shortcomings, returning to its founding vision of emerging as a progressive party are there. 

“The whole issue of activating all party structures and making them functional in line with provisions of the APC Constitution must be guaranteed. Once APC, being the ruling party, can operate based on provisions of its constitution can be guaranteed, the campaign to reform Nigerian politics and expand democratic space will be made much easier. 

“If organs of the party are meeting regularly, problems of impositions of candidates will be minimised. In any case, issues leading to imposition of candidates are made possible and stronger because organs of the party vested with the responsibility of decisions regarding party primary are undermined. 

“Consequently, party stakeholders who should have a say in decisions that can guarantee free and fair primary are marginalised. As much as party organs are meeting as prescribed by the party Constitution, incidences of imposition will be minimised.”

Lukman said there is no reason why APC, being the ruling party can not operate a National Annual Budget of over N100 Billion. 

“Note that National Annual Budget should cover the operations of all party organs, from National to States, Local Governments and Wards. It is only when a ruling party can operate National Annual Budget of more than N100 Billion that the condition of service for party leaders at all levels can be benchmarked with public service conditions. 

“So long as conditions of service for party leaders is below that of public service, party leaders will continue to subordinate themselves to elected leaders and capacity to hold elected representatives accountable to the party will be weak.

“It is my wish that APC leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu will consider these proposals in responding to challenges facing the APC. Being a member of APC, even as an outcast, I strongly believe that reforming the APC and making all organs of the party functional, resolving challenges of party funding, operating an Annual National Budget of more N100 Billion and benchmarking conditions of service of party leaders at all levels with public service conditions, combined, would deepen Nigerian democracy, return APC to its founding vision of emerging as a progressive party. 

“Achieving this when the next general election is more than three years away, would confer stronger electoral advantages to the APC. For other parties, to effectively compete against the APC, they will need to be equally reformists and not conformist.”