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Buhari’s Move to Pick Successor Unsettles Former DG of APC Governors' Forum

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A former Director-General of the Progressive Governors' Forum (PGF) has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning against his plan to single-handedly pick the party’s presidential candidate.

Salihu Mohammed Lukman titled the letter, “Succession and 2023 APC Presidential Candidate.”

He questioned whether loyal members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should become observers rather than contribute to the emergence of the party's presidential flag bearer for the 2023 election.

“The big worry is whether loyal party leaders and members should just reduce themselves to being ordinary observers when very sensitive issues with very high potential to diminish and damage Your Excellency’s revered status in the country is being considered. 

“Noting that the current phenomena of poor relations between predecessors and successor governors are largely a product of poorly instituted political succession arrangement in the country, which is impulsive and imposing, it will be highly risky to adopt the same succession framework as it can erode all your lifelong achievements as someone who contributed a lot to strengthen Nigerian democracy,” Mr. Lukman wrote in the letter to the President.

Buhari APC Governors

President Buhari had held a meeting Tuesday, May 31 with APC governors where he reminded them of the APC’s “established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans.”

“For example, first term Governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. 

“Similarly, second term Governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party," the President had said.

He went further to tell the governors, "In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023."

Buhari good lighting

The statement unsettled not a few members of the party, including Mr. Lukman.

In his open letter to President Buhari, he wrote, “Perhaps, it is important to emphasise that your contribution towards strengthening Nigerian democracy should not be reduced to your emergence as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015.”

He said the APC risked being unpopular amongst Nigerians if the President goes ahead to single-handedly pick his successor. 

He noted that it would be similar to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s third-term agenda of 2006/2007.

“Recalling the unfortunate third-term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and how that eventually eroded all his achievements as a leader, it is necessary to caution against any transition initiative that risked being unpopular. 

“Any initiative that potentially took away the rights of party members to elect candidates would potentially mobilise Nigerians against the party and rubbish Mr. President. 

“This was the case in 2007, which eventually pushed the PDP into wholescale rigging mode such that elections results were announced even before counting processes were concluded. 

“It was so bad that even late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was the main beneficiary had to acknowledge that it was a bad case,” he wrote.


Mr. Lukman also said President Buhari should allow the party’s aspirants to submit themselves to the “internal democratic process” that the President was subjected to, when he became the APC’s candidate in 2014.

Mr. Lukman was the DG of the Progressive Governors' Forum (PGF) until his resignation in January 2022.

The PGF is an association of all the APC Governors.


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