The leadership crisis within the ruling All Progressives Congress APC took a new turn on Wednesday when Salihu Moh. Lukman, the National Vice Chairman for the Northwest, revealed that Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman, intentionally withheld financial assistance from President Bola Tinubu and all party candidates during the lead-up to the 2023 General Elections.
During a press conference in Abuja, Lukman, who has been consistently demanding a financial report from Adamu, pointed out that despite generating over N30 billion from form sales, the party failed to provide support to any of its candidates.
Lukman’s response came after Adamu and Senator Iyiola Omisore, the National Secretary of the party, separately accused him of being insignificant and a troublemaker within the party during television interviews.
He said, “We are expected to present a proposed national budget to the National Executive Committee NEC for approval by the provisions of Article 13(3A)(14) of the APC constitution. I felt embarrassed when I heard the National Secretary (Omisore) say the budget of the party has been sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC. INEC is not the approving authority of the budget of the APC. The approving authority is the NEC. Till today we don’t have a national budget. Yet we made over N30 billion from sales of forms. Till today as a member of the NWC and majority members of the NWC, maybe with the exception of the Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and or the Auditor who may have inside knowledge of how much was expended on the renovation of the National Secretariat of the party, we have no knowledge of what is being expended.
“Talking of national budget, we are just coming out of elections whereby we were not able to sustain past precedence. What was the past precedence? Under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in 2019, every candidate of the party received something from the National Secretariat. In this last election, no candidate of the party received a dime from the party. Talking of finances, in our constitution, the NEC is supposed to approve some form of sharing formula. I am aware that each state chapter has received about N20 million out of the N30 billion. Put together that is about N700 million less than a billion, which is less than 3 percent of the total income that has been earned. Yet we want to sweep this under the carpet. We are having states, zonal, local councils, and ward levels who are left on their own. The whole question of funding of the party has not been addressed”.
When questioned about whether any support was provided to former candidate Tinubu, Lukman confidently stated that Tinubu did not receive any financial assistance from the party. He openly declared this information and invited others to challenge or refute his statement.
Lukman said, “He (Tinubu) didn’t get a dime from the party. I am making this public. Let them challenge me and contradict me”.
Lukman further explained that during the party’s previous presidential campaigns with General Muhammadu Buhari as their candidate in both 2015 and 2019, there was some degree of support extended to him by the party.
“Look, in 2015; the party was truly a model party. President Buhari didn’t have money. People were assigned responsibilities to raise money. It is just like Asiwaju, and you say Asiwaju has money. So there were people assigned with the responsibility of mobilizing money for the party. If anything was done in 2023 based on that, it would be the initiative of Asiwaju. I am not aware of it as a party. If you remember, in between, we were busy causing distractions about what should be our roles in the Presidential Campaign Council. Unless we are humble and honest to admit that these are things that ordinarily shouldn’t have happened and admit we need to correct them and reshape the relationship between us and the government that emerged, we would continue to have the problems we are having”, he stated.
Lukman further elaborated on how Adamu disregarded the party’s decision regarding the selection of the National Assembly’s leadership, stating that the National Chairman consistently distanced himself from the party’s stance.
According to Lukman, instead of formulating guidelines as mandated by Article 13 (4.6) of the constitution to govern the process of determining the National Assembly’s leadership, the NWC led by Adamu approached the matter with an open-ended approach or no specific plan in place.
“No guidelines, nothing. And as a result, if not for the intervention of the president, we would have walked into a disaster. I appealed to our leaders to see the country beyond our personal desires. As a party, we ran our campaigns based on the Muslim-Muslim ticket, and I would be the first to rationalize that because the choices were very hard choices for the party and for our presidential candidate. It was purely an electoral strategy. If we did that and want to support Asiwaju to run a government that all Nigerians would have a sense of belonging, what were we supposed to do? It was to take steps and amend it by ensuring that the diversity of the country was recognized in the emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly and other arms of government.
“What did we see? Our National Chairman, even after the party took a decision, was now mobilizing resentment against the decision of our party. He never campaigned for the party’s adopted candidates. He was busy saying the party advised that more consultations should be made. Look at the disaster when the Governors of the party met with him. Even yesterday, he confirmed on Arise that the leadership of the party met with him. Now assuming even if it is true they did not consult you, as a leader, what stopped him from calling Senator Akpabio and Hon Abass to raise some of these issues and even query them if he was not satisfied with their explanations he could go and meet Asiwaju?”, He asked.
Characterizing Omisore as a significant disappointment, Lukman urged the National Secretary to humbly acknowledge the party’s defeat in his home state of Osun.
“Osun was a disaster, and that is where the National Secretary comes from. I saw him yesterday shamelessly talking about a winning team. If we are a winning team, why prevent us from replicating the feat in your base? We did not only lose the governorship seat, but we also lost all the Senate seats, House of Representatives seats, and House of Assembly seats. Osun is the only state we have that case. It is only the National Secretary that is in denial of that reality. The first mark of a progressive is to have the humility to accept your shortcomings. I saw a National Secretary talking brazenly as if he was a champion”, he stated.
During the television interviews, Omisore claimed that Lukman was operating independently within the 25-member NWC.
“There are cowards everywhere. So it is not impossible. But the point is that out of 25 members of the NWC, only one person is the ‘black sheep.’
“He is just used to doing the rantings. There is nothing special about it”, he had stated.