PGF DG uncovers plot to rig Edo election, return Oshiomhole as APC chairman

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The Director General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman has said there was a plot to ensure return of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He also claims that the APC is not preparing to approach the September Edo State Governorship election on a fair contest.

According to him, there are moves to undermine the Governor Mai Mala Buni- led Caretaker/Convention Working Committee by using the Edo State election to bully APC leaders into accepting Oshiomhole as National Chairman ahead of the party’s national convention billed to hold before the end of the year.

Lukman, who is a strident critic of Oshiomhole in a letter, entitled: “Appeal for Reconciliation and Peace building in APC,” addressed to the party Caretaker Committee Chairman in Abuja urged the Buni-led caretaker/convention committee to encourage internal debate without intimidating members who hold divergent/dissenting views from those held by leaders.

“Everything is being done to ensure that the internal politics of the party is manipulated to create a situation whereby Oshiomhole is forcefully made a contender for the position of the national chairman at the extra ordinary APC national convention.”

“Ordinarily, this should not be a problem. However, given that unacceptable strategies are being deployed to blackmail and bully all leaders of the party to make Edo election the only priority of the party makes it very disturbing.

“Even more disturbing is the clear indication that Oshiomhole and a section of the APC leadership that is working with Oshiomhole are not preparing to approach the Edo election based on fair contests. Not even the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for ‘a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened’ is guiding the management of the Edo campaign.”

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He further suggested convening a dedicated session of the national caucus to review the 2019 general elections, including Kogi and Bayelsa elections, and now preparations for Edo and Ondo governorship polls.

According to him, “This submission is being made against the background with the appeal to the APC Caretaker/Convention Working Committee to take every necessary step in order to achieve reconciliation and peace building in the party.”

The PGF Director-General listed some of the steps to include: “Encouraging internal debate without intimidating members who hold divergent/dissenting views from those held by leaders.

“Leaders should be accommodating to criticism; convening a dedicated session of the National Caucus to review 2019 General Election, including Kogi, Bayelsa elections and now preparations for Edo and Ondo Governorship elections.

“Convening a NEC meeting to consider and approve proposed activities of the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee up to the Extra Ordinary National Convention.

“Commencing processes of Membership Recruitment/Verification, leading to Reformation of Leadership of the party from Wards, Local Government, States to the Extra Ordinary National Convention.

“Setting up Constitutional Review/Amendment Committee, which should be able to submit proposals for review/amendment of the APC constitution.”

According to Lukman: “These are very important steps that will assist to reposition the party, so that everything is not reduced to just about electing new leadership.

“In the unfortunate event that everything is reduced to just electing new leadership, there will be the high probability that the party will gradually snowball into another round of leadership crisis, especially as we move toward 2023.

“It is in the light of these issues that a strong appeal is hereby presented to the Caretaker/Convention Working Committee to take every step required to achieve reconciliation and peace building in APC.”

He added: “In the end, the Extra Ordinary National Convention of the APC should produce strong understanding among our leaders on required actions needed to institute new frameworks for stronger internal democracy within the APC.

“This will be necessary to make leadership reconciliation in the party a permanent feature in the activities of the party.

“APC needs to put its house in order internally to sustain the support it has enjoyed from the electorate since 2013.”