Salihu Lukman, All Progressives Congress (APC) North-West zonal chairman, has called on party members and supporters to respect the candidates of different parties, including Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi.
He said as a member of the APC, he would campaign for APC candidates while at the same time respecting candidates of opposition parties. Mr Lukman said people are free to make choices that should be respected.
“Many of us in APC are supporting Asiwaju as part of our ongoing campaign to continue to build the APC as a progressive party capable of producing accountable elected representatives at all levels,” the APC chieftain explained. “We do so with full confidence that Tinubu will build on the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari, which also include respecting internal debate and contestation within the APC.”
In a statement on Monday in Abuja, he said once respect was removed from politics of choices of party candidates, democracy risks being reduced to anarchy.
Mr Lukman, however, said APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu is his preferred choice in the presidential race and said he would work round-the-clock to ensure the victory of Mr Tinubu and other APC candidates in the elections.
“A close friend and comrade recently asked me if I am Obedient, suggesting that I am supporting Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party,” said Mr Lukman, the immediate past director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF). “To say the least, I was very dismayed that anyone could imagine I would support any candidate other than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. I may excuse any person if he or she is meeting me for the first time.”
According to Mr Lukman, APC is the only party in the country that allows internal debate and contestations.
He explained that the temptation to indulge in politics of disrespect could be linked to the apparent lack of confidence in winning the election.
“It is almost a case of if I lose, it means the bad people have imposed themselves again. Everything is reduced to a contest between the good and the bad. What makes any candidate good or bad is left to some intuitive presentations by individuals who often reduce political contests to bullying conditions,” Mr Lukman stated.
He added, “With reference to the so-called Obidient, as much as we respect their choice, we also must appeal to them to honestly recognise the shortcomings of Obi as a politician and Labour Party as a political party.”
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