The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, on Sunday urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to review its current manifesto ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Lukman, who made the call in a statement in Abuja, said such review of the party manifesto would have to respond to the challenges of mainstreaming initiatives to facilitate consensus-building activities, involving negotiations and agreements to produce the right balance for equitable, just, and fair access to resources by all sections of the country and citizens.
He added that political parties and leaders in Nigeria must deliberately build a consensus around national unity.
The PGF chief said: “Will parties and their leaders take steps to produce leaders from the regions that can facilitate the unity of the country? Or will parties continue to prioritise issues of regional/ethnic politics at the expense of national unity?
“At the same time, will parties be able to ensure that once there are agreements on issues that have implications for national unity, leaders are committed to their implementation unassailably? Is there even any prospect that the question of national unity will be a major political agenda of any of our parties?
“All these would require specific agenda-setting initiatives within our respective parties. It is never given. Party leaders and members must work hard to initiate actions within parties. For those of us in APC, the process of re-organisation going on in the party presents an advantage. For instance, it should be possible to commence a campaign to review provisions of the APC manifesto to strengthen political initiatives for national unity.
“Part of the projection should be to get the next National Convention of the party to adopt a new manifesto, which would highlight major commitments of the party for national unity to be used during the 2023 campaigns.
“Integral to the campaign for national unity is the issue of how the party intend to handle the negotiation for the emergence of the standard-bearer for the 2023 elections. In many respects, these are issues that should be handled internally within the structures of the party with all the confidence that principles of justice, equity and fairness can be achieved.
“This means that the campaign for power shift, which is about writing or respecting the rules of our parties, should be handled within the structures of the APC. There will always be conflicting interests in terms of who determines how agreements are reached internally within parties.
“The reality of our contemporary development as a nation in this Fourth Republic, since 1999, is that during the 16 years of PDP tenure, processes of respecting political agreements within the PDP have been mismanaged and undermined.
“With the emergence of our party, APC, in 2013, our leaders were able to skillfully handle negotiations for leadership based on strategic considerations of winning the votes of Nigerians. APC leaders must return to that 2013 mode and handle leadership negotiations for 2023 very carefully and skillfully.
“APC should continue to work towards setting the right standards for Nigerian politics, which should prioritise national unity!.”
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