Dr Salihu Lukman, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Working Committee, NWC, has said that the temptation for leaders to choose their successors is democratically risky and very costly.
Mr Lukman who is the National Vice Chairman, North-West in the Sen. Abdullahi Adamu-led APC NWC, said this in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.
The letter was titled: “Succession and 2023 APC Presidential Candidate: Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Mr Lukman in the letter was reacting to the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting between President Buhari and APC governors where he asked that he be allowed to pick his successor.
“During the consultative meeting with Progressive Governors on Tuesday, the president had spoken of the internal policies of the APC which allowed first term governors who have served credibly well to stand for re-election.
“And second term governors accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions.
“The president, therefore, solicited for reciprocity and support of governors and other stakeholders in picking his successor who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the president in 2023,” he said.
Mr Lukman noted that ordinarily, this should not be a problem as both party members and leaders would always trust the president’s judgment.
He said the big worry was, however, whether loyal party leaders and members should just reduce themselves to ordinary observers when sensitive issues were being discussed.
This, he said, was especially if such issues had a very high potential to diminish and damage the president’s revered statue.
Mr Lukman said it was important therefore to caution the APC keep faith with basic tenets of democracy as its major campaign message to Nigerians for the 2023 elections.
“This was eloquently highlighted in Your Excellency’s message to our Progressive Governors when you stated that the key to electoral successes is the ability to hold consultations and for members to put the nation above other interests.
“At the risk of again being projected to be against some party leaders, I want to appeal to all party leaders to unite in showing restraint at this point of transition.
“I want to strongly appeal to Your Excellency to kindly continue to make every sacrifice necessary to provide measured leadership to our party and our nation.
“Your revered status was earned not by following so-called conventions, which have narrowed our democracy,” he said.
He recalled that Buhari had always summoned the courage to initiate leadership responses that were selfless based on a commitment to principles of justice and equity.
Mr Lukman prayed that Allah would guide Buhari into taking the right decisions that would broaden the democratic scope in the APC and endear it to Nigerians to facilitate its electoral victory in 2023.
“Like in the case of December 10, 2014 APC National Convention, everything will be done at the June 6, 2022 convention to guarantee a level playing field for all aspiring presidential candidates of our party.
“Any recommendation to the contrary will be inimical and injurious to the electoral fortunes of our great party, APC.
“The temptation for leaders to choose their successors is democratically risky and very costly,” Mr Lukman who was a former Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, stressed.
He added that if in 2013 and 2014, Mr Buhari could submit himself to the internal democratic process, it was therefore important that his successor also followed the same process.
He explained that a major disadvantage of the succession arrangement whereby governors chose their successors was that it negatively affected the relationship between the successor and the predecessor.
This, he said, undermined the capacity to influence the actions or inactions of successors by their predecessors.
Mr Lukman, therefore, advised Buhari on the need to be conscious of his legacies and avoid falling into the temptation of unilaterally picking his successor.
He stressed that it would be democratically risky and very costly to allow the president to do so.
Mr Lukman appealed to Buhari not to copy what he described as the anti-democratic credentials of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who foisted his successor, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, on his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.