Nigeria: Ruling Party Vice Chairman Cautions Buhari Against Imposing Presidential Candidate

Mr Buhari on Tuesday in a meeting asked the APC governors to allow him pick his successor..

The National Vice Chairman (North-west) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against imposing a presidential aspirant on the party.

Mr Lukman gave the caution in an open letter to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

Mr Buhari had on Tuesday, during a meeting with the party’s governors, said he should be supported to produce a successor.

But Mr Lukman, in an open letter published by PREMIUM TIMES, criticised the president’s request.

According to him, the logic that since the governors have been allowed to pick their successor, the president should be allowed, is a poor succession plan.

The former Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum likened the proposal by Mr Buhari to the third term agenda and the imposition of late Umar Yar’Adua by Olusegun Obasanjo.

He argued that Mr Buhari risks tainting his achievement if he embarks on such imposition. He described the existing succession plans of governors as “impulsive and imposing.”

“Both party members and leaders will always trust Your Excellency’s judgement. However, the big worry is whether loyal party leaders and members should just reduce themselves to being ordinary observers when very sensitive issues with very high potential to diminish and damage Your Excellency’s revered status in the country is being considered,” he said.

He stated that he opposed the emergence of Mr Buhari in 2015 out of fear that the party’s democratic norms would be eroded under him.

“I have been a proponent of ensuring that our party take every step to preserve our leaders who could exercise moral authority. This means that leaders who are highly respected on account of their standing in society should not hold elective or appointive positions. It was for that reason that I openly campaigned against your aspiration to emerge as the presidential candidate of our party for 2015 election.”

Mr Lukman also highlighted what he described as the eroding of the democratic process in the APC leadership by the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu.

“Even logistical issues of organising the National Convention are being handled informally. And as far as our National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is concerned, relating with you and probably directly communicating positions of members of NWC, is his exclusive jurisdiction.”

Mr Lukman noted that the APC is in a better position to organise a better convention than the PDP.

The stance of Mr Buhari on succession has led to uneasiness in the APC.

On Tuesday, the governors met to discuss the selection of a consensus presidential candidate. PREMIUM TIMES learnt the meeting ended in a stalemate.

The former PGF DG was very critical of the then leadership of Adams Oshiomhole. He used open letter and press statements to attack the then party’s leadership.

His stance then was suspected to be that of some APC governors, who were hellbent on removing Mr Oshiomhole from office ahead of the 2023 general elections.

However, in a similar trend, Mr Lukman was very critical of Yobe State Governor, Mala Buni-led interim leadership of the APC and his elongated tenure in office.

In January, Mr Lukman stepped down following speculations that the APC governors were planning to sack him.