- …says he inherits a govt of theft and systematic mismanagement
By Lawrence Olaoye
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to adhere strictly to the provisions of the party’s constitution and allow internal democracy in the selection of its candidates.
The President gave this charge while addressing the National Caucus of the party which he chaired at the New Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa yesterday.
Buhari cautioned that the party should avoid short-cuts and illegal maneuverings which saw to the division in the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
While charging the caucus to be united, Buhari said “We should strictly follow the constitution of the Party in undertaking these party elections. We should ensure internal democracy and avoid short cuts and illegal maneuvers which have characterized the opposition party with the consequences that they are now divided.”
“The APC has a history of conducting free and fair primaries whenever consensus about any candidacy is not reached. Regardless of the outcomes of the primary processes, it is imperative that we all work together to ensure the victory of our party,” he continued.
He reminded the party faithfuls that he succeeded the government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan which had a record of unprecedented theft and systematic mismanagement.
According to him, “Nigeria was fast heading for a state of collapse. It is easy to forget the fuel subsidy fraud, arms fund diversion, depleted excess de Account savings, depleted foreign reserves, massive unpaid debts to contractors and suppliers amidst failure to invest or even maintain our infrastructure namely railways, roads, electricity, inspite of having earned over US$500 billion from Oil & Gas alone, during the 16 years of PDP rule. Lest we forget, we must always remind ourselves of the dire situation in which we came to office.”
He charged the party faithfuls not to shy off in projecting the tremendous achievements of his administration insisting that “The territorial integrity of Nigeria is longer under threat. A number of security challenges still exist, but they exist in even the most well policed and well secured countries. I am confident that the measures we are taking will tackle the acts of rural banditry, herdsmen/farmers conflicts, communal clashes, kidnappings and other crimes.”
The President said he empaneled the Asiwju Bola Tinubu’s reconciliation committee to address differences among members urging the leaders to cooperate with him in the task of uniting the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He acknowledged the discontentments of members on the delay in the appointment of board members adding that many board members have so far been inaugurated.
He urged the party to prepare for the conduct of congresses at wards, local governments, states and federal levels.
National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, expressed his support to the Tinubu led reconciliation committee urging all members of the party to do same for its success.
He said “I therefore fully support the Asiwaju Peace Committee constituted by the President to reconcile all aggrieved groups within the Party, and I encourage all of us to support the committee. The success of this committee will provide great impetus to the realization of victory for the party in the forthcoming general elections.
“I wish to note that the road so far has not been smooth sailing, but we have weathered the storm. We should be truly proud of the achievements of our government at all levels. We must brace ourselves to face and overcome challenges that will come our way this year, and they are going to be tough. Elections are generally very emotive.
To have to organize wholesale change of party candidates for national and state elections, and conduct a primaries convention to choose a presidential flag bearer, all within a space of 8 months, and immediately after, defend our mandate in a general election, will test the resilience of any party. As we go into these elections, let us summon our individual and collective sense of duty to causes bigger than ourselves, and pledge to rise above our personal ambition to support the general good. Let us also think outside the box and find ways to reduce or eliminate the disputations that can arise from unfulfilled expectations.”
At the caucus meeting yesterday were the party big-wigs including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Governor of Lagos, Benue, Kogi and others on the platform of the ruling party. Prominent leaders of the party were also in attendance.