Apparently disturbed about the defiant stance of some of its members against the Muslim-Muslim ticket culminating in a gale of defections from its fold, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has begun moves to stop other aggrieved members from dumping the party.
The party said rather than dismissing the concerns raised by some of the members on the same faith ticket, it was working assiduously to ensure genuine reconciliation across the states of the zone.
Speaking with journalists on Friday in Abuja after a stakeholders’ meeting of the North West geopolitical zone, national vice chairman of the party (North West), Mallam Salihu Moh Lukman, described the joint presidential ticket of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima as a Nigerian project, saying there no plan to exclude any religion or tribe.
He acknowledged that some Nigerians have expressed their concerns regarding the party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket but those concerns are not being dismissed.
The APC North West stakeholders’ meeting was attended by governors of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari; Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, some deputy governors, APC national officers, some governorship candidates among others.
On the defection of some APC chieftains from Kaduna state chapter on Thursday, Lukman said a decision was taken to prevent further defections.
He stated: “Kaduna and Katsina are the only outstanding states that we are yet to visit in the ongoing facts-finding tour we are conducting. And we have agreed that we will visit them early next week. This can be one of the issues we will look at to find out what really transpired and what steps we need to take.
“First, politics is all about contests. Disagreement is part of politics. You can’t have a political contest without disagreement. As a party, what we are trying to do is to ensure the business of reconciliation is permanent.”
Noting that people have concerns and those concerns are not being dismissed, Lukman said, “To the best of my knowledge, all competent party leaders have acknowledged the concerns. When you make a decision, certainly some people will be at the receiving end of the outcome.
“Our party, the APC, is not working to exclude any category, whether in terms of religion, ethnicity or any group.
We have taken the decision to produce candidates and they are the ones we saw at the unveiling on Wednesday. They are about the Nigerian project, not a fake one. That is the emphasis and I think, as a nation, we need to look much more positive. That I am Salihu Lukman doesn’t mean I am against a Festus or a Bankole.”
On what the North West was bringing on board in the race for 2023 elections, the APC national vice chairman said, “That is part of the reason we are having these constant consultations. As we move on, things will become clearer.
“We met to review the situation in the party at the zonal level. The main issue is to really step forward the business of reconciling aggrieved members in each state. What we agreed to do, moving forward, is to have state level committees that will meet with all party leaders and aggrieved party members with a view to reconcile all stakeholders. That will be done before the commencement of the campaign for 2023 general elections.”