Use debate to strengthen perspectives, positions in crisis, forum’s D-G tells politicians

(L-R): Osun state Governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu; Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun and Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde at a South Western Governor’s meeting after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja, on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja, Oct. 26, 2020 Alhaji Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), has charged party leaders to use internal debates to strengthen their perspectives and positions in crisis situations.
He gave the charge while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Abuja, adding that party leaders should be able to debate, critique and contest freely without criminalising each other.
He said his desire was to support the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to transform into a truly progressive party, which should be both representative and responsive to the yearnings of Nigerians.
The forum D-G added that beyond claims of being progressives, party members should be able to clearly define what it meant to be progressives.
According to him, the challenge of adopting a shared understanding of the term progressives required introspection and tolerance.
“Our leaders have to be able to debate, critique and contest freely without criminalising each other.
“This will require a complete change of attitude such that leaders don’t interpret criticisms as opposition to their ambition.
“It also requires that our leaders are able to use internal debates to strengthen their perspectives and positions; this should be the source of APC’s electoral advantage and not any other thing,’’ he said.
Speaking on the crisis in some of the partys state chapters, Lukman said his desire was to support its leaders in putting the past behind them and help them confront current challenges much more effectively.
He expressed gratitude to APC governors for individually and collectively giving him the opportunity to serve.
He, however, charged the governors and other party stakeholders to join the debate to develop a shared understanding of what progressive politics should be.
He stressed that making the APC to emerge as a truly progressive party would require that its leaders at all levels were able to tolerate each other and Nigerians at large.
“The price of leadership most time includes the expensive reality of being able to serve as the refuse dump.
“The burden before all of us now, especially in APC, is to be able to develop the right communication atmosphere, which should make proposals attractive to our leaders,’’ he said. .
He, however, noted that APC leaders were united because they exhibited high level of tolerance, which contributed to making the party attractive.
This, he said, were progressive credentials which the party and its leaders must return to.
Lukman said that the APC needed to demonstrate its progressive credentials by putting in place a credible and verifiable membership register.
He added that credible and verifiable membership register should be the foundation for internal democracy within the party, saying that leaders should work to win the votes of party members to emerge as candidates.
“Difficult as it is, we need to begin to develop strategy that moves our leaders away from the strategy of controlling party structures through imposing leaders in order to emerge as candidates for elections.
“This is virtually the source of almost all internal conflicts, as a progressive party our leaders need to begin to move to a situation where leadership succession arrangement at all levels is planned and criteria for leadership recruitment are set.
“At this moment, leadership succession is based on individual decisions of current office occupants and is prone to a lot of challenges,’’ the forum D-G said.
He added that the issues could be debated, and some minimum strategy put in place to achieve desired goals in the interest of all.
Lukman further added that to succeed in addressing the party
s challenges, its leaders must be honest and convinced about the limitations of their actions or inactions.

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