The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice Chairman, North West, Dr. Salihu Lukman has said the ruling party has no plan to exclude any religion or ethnic group ahead of the 2023 elections.
Lukman made this known on Friday in Abuja during an interview with select journalists, even as controversy continued to trail the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party.
He explained that the aspirations of presidential candidates of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima is not a faith project, rather it is a Nigerian project.
He stated: “I think we need to be very honest to ourselves. It is true that people have concerns and those concerns are not being dismissed. To the best of my knowledge, all party leaders have acknowledged the concern. When you make a decision, certainly there are people who would be at the receiving end of such a decision.
Our party, APC, is not working to exclude any category, whether in terms of religion, ethnicity or any other group. We have taken the decision to produce candidates and those candidates to the best of my knowledge and I think that is what came out at the unveiling yesterday (Wednesday).
We are about a Nigerian project, they are not a faith project. That is the emphasis and I think as a nation, we need to look much more positive. That I’m Salihu Lukman does not mean I am against a Festus or a Bankole.
The party chieftain said the party leaders from the North West have made it a priority to reconcile aggrieved party members and leaders before the commencement of the campaign.
Lukman stressed that there was no way there would be a political contest without disagreement. He explained that as a party, APC would ensure that the business of reconciliation is a permanent business.
Lukman stressed: “The main issue is to really take forward the business of reconciling aggrieved members in each of our states and what we agreed to do moving forward is that in each of the states, there would be a state-level committee that would meet all party leaders and also aggrieved party members and make every effort to reconcile every party member before the commencement of the campaign for 2023 elections.
Baring his mind on the recent defection of party members in Kaduna State, Lukman assured that the leaders from the zone would address the issue next week.
He noted: “I dont know the details (defection in Kaduna) but I will go and look at it. As you can see there are members of the consultative meeting that were from Kaduna state, not just Kaduna itself.
“The fact-finding tour we are doing, Kaduna and Katsina are the only outstanding state and we have agreed that early next week, we will be in Kaduna and Katsina and this can be one of the issues we would look at and see what really transpired and see what step we need to take.