The Director-General (DG) of the Progressive Governors' Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has said that for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win 2021 presidential election, it should field a candidate that has the same towering electoral profile like President Muhammadu Buhari.
He warned the ruling party against what he described as "blind trust" in some of the leaders of the ruling party towards the 2023 general election.
Lukman, in a statement yesterday, recalled how the ruling party lost the governorship election in some states in the 2019 general election.
He attributed the losses to sabotage by APC leaders.
He stressed the need to ensure that "appropriate conditions exist to regulate the conduct of political leaders especially elected representatives."
He stated that the absence of any problem during the internal contest for the emergence of Buhari as the presidential candidate of the party in December 2014 was a major source of electoral strength, which made the party to win elections in virtually all the states in 2019, as well as majority seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Lukman, who highlighted Buhari's electoral performances since 2003, stated that the president's popularity even before gaining power in 2015 had been a force to reckon with.
He said: "With such reality, it can be concluded, therefore, without any dispute, that the electoral advantage of the APC is more on account of the presence of President Buhari in the party. The question, which every APC leader and member needs to answer is; will the APC continue to enjoy such electoral advantage when President Buhari is not the presidential candidate of the party? Is there another leader in the APC with the towering electoral profile of President Buhari?
"These are not easy questions to answer, although it can also be easily expected that every APC leader and member would want APC to continue to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari. "Whether there is another leader with the electoral profile of President Buhari is yet to be seen, at least not based on any electoral evidence.
"Therefore, what can be done to ensure that the APC continues to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari? Is it even possible for APC to continue to have the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari?"
Lukman added that given that the APC has become the go-to party in politics, the need to regulate the conduct of party leaders was paramount.
According to him, the inability to develop the capacity to regulate the conducts of party leaders will be injurious to the vision of developing the APC as a truly progressive party.
"As much as it is a welcome development that the party is winning new members, there must be a corresponding effort to regulate the conduct of party leaders, based on which efforts are made to provide new orientation to all party leaders, especially the newcomers
"Beyond the need to regulate the conduct of political leaders, there is also the need to appeal to leaders of the party to rise above the narrow attitude of relating with challenges based on estimation of support or opposition for ambitions of party leaders.
"Once political leaders are able to estimate support for their ambitions, what follows is blind trust for both officials of the party and decisions they take even when such decisions are wrong and contravene provisions of the party's constitution," he stated.
He said the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, led by Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, "was a classic case of how many party leaders overlooked the obstinacies of some actions of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.
"Had all leaders of the party been able to insist that Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC convened meetings of organs of the party where the required decision to resolve issues could have been taken, perhaps even Comrade Oshiomhole himself would have still remained as the national chairman of the party.
"Unfortunately, factors of blind trust by many party leaders which produced inconsiderate tolerance for wrong actions became the case. The truth is also that Comrade Oshiomhole and many members of the dissolved NWC became emboldened by the awareness of a divided APC leadership."