Less than 24 hours after the All Progressives Congress postponed its convention, a fresh leadership crisis seems to be brewing after the APC North-West National Vice Chairman, Mallam Salihu Lukman, accused the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, of failing to carry members along in decision-making.
Piqued by recent development in the administration of the APC national secretariat, Lukman identified anomalies, which he considered as ‘very shocking.’
In a leaked letter dated May 27, 2022 and titled ‘Rebuilding APC: Need for new initiatives’ and made available to The PUNCH, Lukman warned that the leadership of the National Working Committee could “snowball” into oblivion like the previous administrations of Adams Oshiomhole and Mai Mala Buni.
The letter, which was addressed directly to the chairman, also copied the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and all the NWC members.
The statement partly read, “The big challenge is ensuring that decisions taken are faithfully implemented. Inability of previous leadership under His Excellency, Adams Oshiomhole and His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, to implement decisions taken was partly responsible for the leadership crisis that confronted the party. Under your leadership, the current NWC is gradually snowballing into similar circumstances whereby decisions taken are allowed to lay bare and, in some instances, changed without necessarily taking needed steps to carry members along.
“No doubt, given all the challenges inherited and coming at a time when it’s extremely difficult to control events and almost everything would appear to have been set against the party and its leadership, we need to take every measure to avoid past pitfalls.
“Perhaps, it is important to acknowledge that, as National Chairman, you have raised the expectations of many of us in the NWC, and by extension many party leaders. For instance, the whole idea of setting up a transition committee, which took stock of what we have inherited, was your singular initiative,” he said.
While admitting that he could not fault Adamu for some noticeable lapses, Lukman disclosed that he found it unacceptable that there are over 200 workers in the secretariat without letters of employment and visible means of identification.
This is as he expressed concerns that there were some alleged liabilities incurred for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
He said, “The report of the committee was, to say the least, very shocking. Apart from the fact that there were more than 200 employees in the party’s National Secretariat, most of whom (were) without valid letters of employment, there were no standardised conditions of service. Statutory requirements for taxations, pensions and insurance benefits as provided by relevant labour laws are not being respected. There were claims by legal firms about liability owed for legal cases handled without valid contracts.
“All these were partly responsible for why many of the party’s bank accounts were blocked by subsisting court judgments, most of which copies are not available at the National Secretariat, which with your guidance the Party’s Legal Department is able to resolve.
“Partly based on your recommendations and insistence, to reform the Secretariat, the NWC decided to send all the Directors on leave pending the outcome of our investigation. It is clear to every discerning member of the NWC that many of the directors, if not all, would have to go. It is also clear that apart from the directors, there are many workers in the Secretariat that should go.
“However, as important and laudable as these decisions would appear to be, it is inadequate if it is not matched with initiatives to standardise operational practices in the National Secretariat, especially in terms of ensuring that employment requirement conforms with extant labour laws. As the ruling party, this must be guaranteed. As things are, we have suspended every initiative to reform the Secretariat, understandably so given all the challenges of meeting deadlines for electing party candidates for 2023 general election. The danger is that what we inherited will soon become the acceptable practice and new Directors and workers would be employed without any commitment to meeting provisions of the law with respect to employment standards.
“The other challenge is how as NWC we seem to be handling very critical responsibilities of managing affairs of the party very casually.”
Lukman also took a swipe at the chairman, adding that barely 24 hours to the special convention no proper arrangements were in place.