A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and former National Vice Chairman (Northwest) of the party, Salihu Lukman, has lampooned the party for failing to fulfil the campaign promises it made to Nigerians before the 2023 general elections.
In a statement he issued in Abuja on Sunday titled ‘Heartbreaking Reflections’, Lukman called on President Bola Tinubu to sit up and reevaluate some of the policy decisions he has taken in the last 10 months which have only brought untold hardship on Nigerians.
Lukman who lamented the increasing hardship in the country, said it was unfortunate that “today’s existential realities are different from the campaign promises of the party.”
He noted that rather than giving life to its campaign promises, the APC-led government has only succeeded in changing all its promises to the consternation of Nigerians.
“Almost every action of the administration of President Asiwaju Tinubu is reduced to political convenience, often with hardly any clear logic other than exercising the power to make decisions, which cannot be substantiated with references to reasons,” the outspoken politician said in the statement.
“As a result, conditions of life are daily crashing. Being a loyal member of the APC and supporter of President Asiwaju Tinubu, it is very difficult to reconcile today’s reality with all the campaign promises made.
“Although, today, we have an elected government with President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President, it is difficult to predict the direction Nigeria is going.
“Since 2015, as a party, we raised the expectations of Nigerians. We promised to change Nigerian politics but since winning the 2015 elections, we have only succeeded in changing all our promises to the disappointment of Nigerians.”
The APC stalwart further accused leaders of the party who were in the frontline of the struggles against military rule and against the PDP, of becoming comfortable with the situation on ground and are behaving like emperors and tyrants.
“They impose their decisions on citizens and when citizens criticise them, they hurl insults and abuses in the same way old military regimes responded. The only difference is that cases of arrests and detention are no longer the case.
“The consequence is that notwithstanding the fact that we are in a democracy, we have produced the sad reality whereby the leadership of President Tinubu is becoming more and more insensitive to the plight of citizens. In less than ten months since the assumption of office, prices of practically everything have jerked up.
“For instance, 50Kg bag of Rice, which used to be about N28,000 in May 2023, is now around N70,000. 50Kg bag of Maize, which used to be N16,000 is now more than N60,000. 10 litre of groundnut oil, which used to be N10,200 is now more than N21,000. 10 litre of Palm Oil, which used to be N7,000 is now more than N12,000,″ he lamented.
“12Kg Cooking Gas increased to N12,500 from N3,800. Exchange rate of the Naira is now hovering around N1,500 to the US Dollar from about N700. Given all these, incomes of citizens have crashed to below 25% of its value before May 2023.
“The value is still going down. The question of providing new opportunities for income earning is at best academic debate. High level government officials continue to engage the issues from the vantage view of their comfort zones.
“The truth must be told: There is a big existential problem facing citizens. Unfortunately, all we hear is appeal for patience.
“How long are citizens expected to survive under this kind of very harsh suffocating reality? What is really the plan government is working on? As someone who was in the forefront of the struggle for democracy, this certainly wasn’t what we fought for.
“Also, as a supporter of President Tinubu, we least expected that President Tinubu will be weakly responsive to the challenges facing Nigerians. Why did we negotiate the merger of the legacy parties that formed the All Progressives Congress?
“Did we really do that to produce a party that could produce leaders who will attend to the problems facing citizens? If so, where then are the leaders? Shouldn’t President Asiwaju Tinubu be one of such leaders?”
Lukman predicted that at the rate the deteriorating condition is going, the APC under President Tinubu may have succeeded in turning Nigeria’s democracy into an insensitive party.
“The APC should ideally be the model being the ruling party, based on which it is able to orient initiatives of governments it controls to respond to challenges facing citizens.
“Unfortunately, as it is either the APC is alienated from citizens, or it is unable to orient initiatives of governments it controls to respond to the needs of citizens.
“With none of the organs of the party functioning, meetings at any levels are hardly taking place, all that the party does now is organising phantom primaries in which so-called aspirants for offices are crowned as candidates of the party.
“Yesterday’s fighters for democracy who resisted military dictatorship are today’s Godfathers. Being today’s Godfathers, they dispense patronage at will and shift anointment every election cycle. Is that the variant of progressive politics we are producing?
“President Tinubu, APC leaders and Nigerian politicians can do better. How can anyone with the faintest of conscience live a normal life with a reality whereby the same citizens who elected them as leaders are impoverished by decisions we took as a ruling party?
“Is President Asiwaju Tinubu at all aware that majority of our citizens, including relatively high-income earners cannot afford medication when they are sick?
“I must admit, both as an activist, as a politician, and as a Nigerian, I am heartbroken. I am devastated by the fact that the performance of President Asiwaju Tinubu in the last 10 months betrays all the expectations we had. We never expected that President Tinubu will be unmindful of the consequences of his decisions.
“The belief of many of us, and indeed most Nigerians is that President Tinubu is a responsive politician who will not recklessly take any decision without weighing its consequences on the lives of citizens.
“Being human, our expectation is that, if decisions are taken with grave consequences such as withdrawal of subsidy and floating the exchange rate, being the responsive leader he is, it is our expectation he will quickly review and recalibrate such decision with the overall objective of protecting the welfare of citizens. That is what progressive politics is all about.
“If within a four-year tenure, after 10 months the scorecard is gory tales of existential crises for citizens, then the political value of such a regime is suspect. President Asiwaju Tinubu must wake up and urgently do the needful to demonstrate his true democratic and progressive credentials.
“APC leaders must also wake up from their current power drunkenness and push the administration of President Asiwaju Tinubu to become more responsive and stop behaving like a military administration. A civilian elected government, which tramples on the structures of its own party and blocks its organs from functioning is as good as a military government. The choice between democracy and a dictatorship is clear. Once structures of the party are blocked from functioning, the capacity of any so-called democracy to respond to challenges facing citizens will be weak.
“This is exactly our situation in Nigeria today. The question is whether the real President Tinubu who was adjudged to be a democrat and progressive, who was voted by Nigerians, will resurface at this difficult times? I pray and hope that the God of mercy will take charge and fix our leaders and nation, Nigeria.
“May God Almighty touch the heart of President Tinubu and all APC leaders, and indeed all Nigerian politicians, to understand that millions of Nigerians are confronted with life threatening realities today. Just like we asked for the votes of citizens during an election, citizens are asking leaders, especially President Tinubu, to be responsive to today’s reality”, Lukman said.
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