By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja, Dec.20, 2020 Alhaji Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF)has charged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC)to strive towards protecting its electoral advantages ahead of 2023 poll.
He gave the charge in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
“Often, many of us make the mistake of imagining that our responsibility is to rationalise decisions of our party and our leaders.
“Yes, we need to justify and defend decisions of our party and our leaders to the best of our ability.
“But at every opportunity, we must lead the advocacy to promote our party and our leaders.
“Beyond that however, we must be in a position to protect the electoral advantages of our party,” he said.
Lukman said the action was imperative because once the party lose its advantages, public attention would disappear.
He, however, added that while party members defend and promote decisions of its leaders, they must do so bearing in mind that at the end, politics was about serving citizens.
He said party members should remember that like any human organisation, the party was open to some imperfections.
He said it was therefore the responsibility of members to constantly work to improve on the capacity of the party to grow and effectively provide it with the platform to engage in political contests.
“In other words, our party is work in progress.
“The strong test of whether we are growing our party such that our leaders remain faithful to the commitment to service, is whether we are taking necessary steps to respond to the demands of citizens.
“Inability to respond to the demands of citizens alienate leaders and erode electoral viability.
“While we have made progress in many areas as a country, there are still formidable challenges which have strengthened personality contest,” the forum DG said.
He said that there was need for politicians to wake up and begin to elevate political contest in the country to the level of objective assessments of performance of those in government.
He noted that a major challenge of government was that most of its appointees responsible for initiating specific service delivery actions based on provisions of party manifesto were not proactive.
According to Lukman, most of such government appointees either wait for directives or instructions or simply behave as if they are observers in the politics of promoting and defending government initiatives.
“Politics will be meaningless without contestation of policy choices, the role of political appointees in leading political contestation cannot be over emphasised.
“The party is expected to ensure that both elected and appointed functionaries discharged their responsibilities based on the provisions of the party manifesto.
“The logic is that even electoral contest should ultimately be about policy choices, which citizens are expected to decide,” Lukman said.
He stressed that for political contestation to meet the expectations of citizens, it must go beyond electoral contest.
He maintained that for electoral contest to provide choices for citizens in terms of responding to societal and national problems, it must be issue based with manifestos of political parties as the benchmark.