Labour Party has lost vision, ideals of founding fathers ― APC chieftain

•tasks NLC, TUC on warm relationship with Tinubu



National Vice Chairman, North West of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman has said the Labour Party has lost the vision and focus envisaged by the leadership of the organised Labour, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which created it.

Lukman made the declaration in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to a member of the APC National Working Committee, the present Labour Party unlike the idea of a party for members of the working class seeking elective positions in the country has since transformed into a platform for rich individuals, desperate for a party to contest and win elections.

He derided the LP as the political equivalent of Nigeria’s stock market, saying, “Some would argue that NLC has already registered Labour Party. The truth is that NLC lost Labour Party a long time ago. What exists today as Labour Party is a corrupt representation of the Labour Party envisioned by the NLC in 2002. The Labour Party envisioned by the NLC in 2002 was a party to be controlled by people committed to the Nigerian working class.

“For quite some time now, Labour Party is the political equivalent of the stock market whereby every person aspiring to emerge as a candidate of the party for election, is free to bid so long as he/she has the resources. The reality is that the highest bidder wins the ticket of the party. This is what produced Mr Peter Obi as the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections. NLC and all their partners had no say in the emergence of Mr. Obi and had he won the election, NLC and their partners would have been the first casualty.

“Besides, NLC and TUC need to come to terms with the fact that they must relate with the government of the day to promote and defend the interests of Nigerian workers. They must relate with the federal government both as a sovereign authority and as the largest employer of labour irrespective of the party in power.”

The immediate past Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) also appealed to the NLC and the TUC to seek to cultivate the present administration in order to develop a cordial relationship as he noted that the federal government remains the highest employer of labour.

He equally called on President Tinubu’s administration to initiate a process that would ensure that the party’s national secretariat worked on the same page with it to meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

Lukman restated his disenchantment with the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee which he dismissed as conservative.

“In our case in APC, for instance, with a conservative and reactionary leadership that is lawless and believes that statutory structures of the party can only meet at its own discretion, it will be a pipe dream to expect that they will allow caucuses to emerge in the first place, not to talk of allowing the caucuses to use the structures of the party to negotiate policies.

“Aside from the fact that the APC constitution provided for the existence of the National Advisory Council (NAC), National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Caucus whose membership is diverse and could be adjudged to reflect various interests, these organs have been rendered idle, if not irrelevant. In their place, the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu take decisions on issues that the APC constitution mandated these organs to discharge as he deems fit. Occasionally, he invites the National Working Committee (NWC), to legitimize some of his decisions, which by the provisions of the APC constitution is supposed to be an administrative organ.

“In addition to these organs (NAC, NEC and National Caucus), the amended APC constitution created three new structures, namely the women’s wing, youth wing and persons living with disability wing. These are structures that are expected to function as autonomous bodies within the APC structures with their own constitutions, and regulations, which should not conflict with the constitution, guidelines, and policies of the APC. Outside the initiatives of the presiding officers of these three structures – National Women’s Leader, National Youth Leader and National Leader of Persons Living with Disabilities, since April 2022 following the assumption of office of the Sen. Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC, nothing has been done to organize these wings. Yet, these are potential structures that could facilitate effective representation of critical categories of interests that are adjudged marginalised groups in Nigerian politics.

“Beyond these structures, the APC constitution also requires the establishment of five standing committees, namely, establishment, finance, publicity, intergovernmental and conflict, reconciliation. None of these committees have been established so far.

“Part of the logic behind establishing these standing committees is to broaden membership participation by ensuring that more leaders of the party take responsibility for managing the affairs of the party. Through meetings of all these structures of the party, it should be possible for the party to exercise strong influence in the initiatives of governments it controls. The other advantage is that the party would be able to hold the government it produces and its appointees accountable.

“Developing a functional partnership relationship with organised labour, and by extension other groups, require deeper political reforms in the country. To achieve that would also demand more focus on reforming the APC as a political party, which may have to compel President Tinubu to ask the APC leadership to organise the mid-term National Convention earlier than scheduled.

“Some of the changes for instance required to bring about new leadership who could lead the party to achieve its vision of being a progressive party can only be decided by the National Convention. If, for instance, the party wants to correct the problem of having reactionaries and conservative leaders such as Sen. Adamu and Sen. Omisore leading the party, organising a mid-term convention is necessary and compelling.

“The earlier this is done, the better for the young government of President Tinubu especially if he wants to run a progressive federal government, one that can guarantee the participation of Nigerians represented by their organised groups in his government as provided by the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended.”