Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has explained why some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are protesting against the defection of Mr Femi Fani-Kayode to the party.
He gave the explanation in a statement on Sunday in Abuja while reacting to the recent defection of Fani-Kayode to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Lukman, in the statement entitled: “APC’s High Profile Membership Recruitment and Issues for 2023″ said Fani-Kayode’s capacity to build and sustain relationships was short, not just politically, but in every aspect of his life.
“Late on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, reports emerged that Fani-Kayode had joined the APC and was received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
“With the emergence of the report, public attention in the country has been dominated by negative commentaries,” the PGF DG said.
He noted that the development had resulted in negative commentaries, mostly from APC members who wondered why Fani-Kayode should be accorded such a high profile reception by the party leadership.
He recalled that one of the first persons to express disappointment was Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political Matters.
Ojudu, he said, had lamented that the reception given to Fani-Kayode made the day the saddest of his political career.
“The protest against Fani-Kayode joining the APC has to do with his venomous nature, he abuses, insults, and disparages everybody, almost indiscriminately.
“Almost every member of APC is angry that our leaders have brought someone like Fani-Kayode into our party. This is made worse by the red carpet reception given to him, which he doesn’t deserve.
“But since it has happened, there is no need to cry over spilled milk. What is very clear is that our leaders, especially President Buhari have forgiven Fani-Kayode and embrace him as one of us,” he said.
Lukman explained that as members of APC, the anger with Fani-Kayode was that he had abused the party, Buhari and virtually every leader of the party.
He, however, advised that with all the negative things Fani-Kayode had said about the APC and its leaders in the past, if its leaders could accept him into the party, its members “should not be more Catholic than the Pope“.
“Members of the APC should show understanding,” Lukman said.
He noted that since 2015 many opportunistic political leaders like Fani-Kayode joined the APC, got all the welcome reception, but ended up betraying the party.
He said such political leaders in some instances undermined the APC and its leaders.
Lukman said part of the frustration of many APC members was that most times, it could be predicted that the party’s leaders were wrongly investing trust and confidence on the wrong people.
“Contrastingly, those who are consistent and loyal to our party and our leaders hardly gained the deserved respect they should have.
“This may not necessarily be intended, but it is there. Be that as it may, members need to move forward with every confidence and commitment to engage our leaders,” he said.
He added that since the party’s leaders had developed the large heart needed to forgive Fani-Kayode, members should respect the decision.
“To that extent, therefore, party members should respect the decision of our leaders to admit Fani-Kayode and welcome him with a red carpet reception.
“On no account should we be distracted. If Fani-Kayode needs a red carpet reception to be a member of APC, millions of party member have demonstrated that they don’t need any form of recognition to work for Nigeria.
“Being very consistent and stable members of the APC, we should also recognise that the party is partly what it is today on account of our little contributions over the years,” he said.
He stressed that if the APC was to succeed in changing Nigeria, the party’s leaders and its members must commit themselves to developing strong and functional relationship.
He said the ability to develop strong and functional relationship between APC leaders and members was the foundational requirement for APC leaders to be able to develop strong and functional relationship with Nigerians.
Lukman said this would, however, require that APC members were able to respectfully tell leaders the truth, stressing that functional relationship with Nigerians was always crucial for winning elections.