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Buhari, Tinubu Made Mess Of Democracy’ – Lukman, Ex-APC NWC Member



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.President living in denial over subsidy removal

.Nigeria now on the edge due to the rising cost of living

By Omeiza Ajayi, ABUJA

The immediate-past National Vice Chairman, Northwest, of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Salihu Moh. Lukman has called for concerted efforts to establish a viable alternative platform to put the APC in “its rightful place and overcome the current extreme right-wing adventurously unplanned leadership of President Bola Tinubu”.

He said; “No doubt, President Tinubu has challenged Nigerians to think outside the conventional political box. APC members and leaders, and indeed all patriotic Nigerians committed to the democratic development of the country, are being challenged daily to ask the question of the value of being associated with a political party if all that it does is only to field candidates for elections.

The way and manner both former President Buhari and President Tinubu have managed affairs of the country without consulting party leadership and structures in the last nine years made a mockery of democracy.

“The survival and further development of Nigerian democracy must not be allowed to be limited to the discretion of individual leaders, no matter how powerful they are. Patriotic Nigerians and democrats must resume the business of national mobilisation to produce an alternative democratic platform to APC and all the charades of registered political parties. We must summon the courage and believe in the power of possibility.

“Just like we succeeded in pushing the military back to the barracks and defeating the PDP in 2015, it is possible to create a politically viable and truly popular democratic alternative platform that can put the APC in its rightful place and overcome the current extreme right-wing adventurously unplanned leadership of President Tinubu.

“The beauty of being a democracy is the freedom it offers to engage in political contest. Patriotic Nigerians must practically and loudly convey the right message to President Tinubu, the APC leadership and Nigerian politicians that our democracy must be transformed beyond the current ugly state of ceremonial elections, which ends up producing leaders who continue to act like emperors and dictators who rule the country worse that military governments.

“Nigerians must be mobilized to rise above dishonest politicians who only manipulate their way to power and reduce citizens to the status of conquered people. Democracy will be worthless if the result is only to elect civilian overlords. That can only be checked if we produce a functional political party, with committed leaders who submit themselves to processes of negotiations in all its ramifications, and agreements contracted that are binding and capable of regulating the conducts of elected representatives and governments produced at all levels. Nigerians are not conquered people!”, He added.

According to Lukman, the crisis of corruption associated with the Social Investments Programme and clear lack of commitment to anything close to social democracy by APC governments at all levels represent one of the failings of the party.

He said with hardly any exception since 2015, governments at all levels controlled by the APC operate based on the practice of business-as-usual.

Noting that the problems of corruption, insecurity and economic crisis have gotten worse, Lukman lamented that the nation is on the edge of social outbursts.

While warning against any further increase in the pump price of fuel, Lukman accused the president of living in denial, with regards to the reintroduction of full subsidy through the back door.

“Crisis of high cost of living, rising unemployment and high level of poverty are becoming unbearable. The nation is on the edge of a social outburst. Unfortunately, the APC, even under President Asiwaju Tinubu is turning out to be unable to respond to the problem of high cost of living, rising unemployment and higher levels of poverty and mitigate the hardship facing ordinary Nigerians.

“The bigger calamity is that President Tinubu is turning out to be an extreme right-wing leader and not a liberal capitalist. The speed with which he declared that petroleum ‘subsidy is gone’ even before settling down as President and the inability to have a clear policy plan to cushion the effect for vulnerable Nigerians highlighted the ideological leaning of President Tinubu.

“Combined with the policy of floating the exchange rate of the Naira against major international currencies clearly defined the extreme right-wing credentials of the Tinubu administration. For an import-dependent nation to withdraw subsidy and float the exchange of the Naira without any clear responsive policy plan to boost local production is simply decidedly anti-poor.

The reality whereby the value of incomes of citizens has been eroded should have been expected and at least some initiatives to grow the earning capacity of citizen should have been introduced.

“Unfortunately, all we have is grandstanding by the government so much so that they are now trapped back in the subsidy debate.

Given the value of the Naira today, the landing cost of one litre of imported petroleum motor spirit is certainly more than N700. Given the relatively low income of citizens, any attempt to increase it beyond N700 could trigger social unrest in the country. Involuntarily, therefore, the government is taking the additional cost without being able to admit that its decision to withdraw the subsidy on petrol has failed.

Desolately, President Asiwaju Tinubu’s government is living in denial. How long can it continue to deny that subsidy is back?”, He queried.

He said there is now no need to pretend, as APC’s claim of being a political party capable of aggregating the interest of Nigerians has been lost.

According to him the APC is now painfully implementing extreme right-wing policies and President Tinubu has turned out to be a leader who is intolerant of those who could disagree with him.

“With such reality, it behoves patriotic Nigerians to return to the trenches of the campaign for democracy and pick up the debris from APC’s failure in the last nine years.

In doing so, those of us who have been privileged to rise at different levels of APC’s leadership must do so with absolute humility and recognition of all the factors that have destroyed the APC.

“Perhaps, we need to accept the correctness of the campaign against the APC that many leaders of the party, including former President Buhari and now President Tinubu, only agreed to come together to grab power, which was not associated with the needed commitment to deliver services to address national challenges. Sadly, with the mission to grab power, they ‘promise (everything) and did nothing.’

“This challenge begs the question, how do we create a political organising strategy that goes beyond just winning elections or grabbing power? How can we have a party, which if it wins the Presidency, the President, whoever he will be, will be subordinated to the party?

How can we create a party in which there will be multiple power blocs and leaders of the party will have the needed capacity to facilitate negotiations and agreements, which will be binding on all members and leaders of the party? How can we have a party that will have the capacity to mobilize all the funds it needs to run the affairs of the party, including funding the elections of all the candidates of the party at all levels? How can we organise a party whose leadership at all levels can have the same conditions of service correspondingly with public officers at that level?

“We can go on asking all the valid questions.

It will be defeatist to expect anyone to provide the answers. Only those patriotic Nigerians who are ready to return to the trenches of democratic struggles to resume mobilization and negotiations to move Nigerian democracy beyond the current lethargic state, can begin to provide answers to these practical questions.

“The negotiations to produce an alternative political platform, which can move Nigerian democracy forward must prioritize the development of a functional political party structure based on ability to answer some of these practical questions should be the consideration.

“Part of what must be guarded against to avoid the pitfalls that destroyed the APC is to shun the old opportunistic political warriors who are serial contestants and aspirants to every election since 1999. The arrogance about having access to financial resources must be redressed based on skilful fund-raising strategy.

In any event, how much money did former President Buhari have for APC to defeat the PDP in 2015?”, He queried.

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