The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday took its membership drive to Minna, the Niger state capital, where it formally invited two former Nigerian leaders, Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) and Abdulsalami Abubakar, to join the party.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, the opposition leaders met with Babangida and Abubakar separately in their residences, during which they held closed-door discussions with them.
APC leaders on the delegation were its interim National Chairman, Bisi Akande; his deputy, Aminu Masari and the National Woman Leader, Sharon Ikeaso.
Two national leaders of the party, Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu, as well as a former Works Minister, Hassan Lawal, were also on the delegation.
Babangida, a former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), told journalists after hosting the APC leaders that his doors were open to anyone that chose to consult with him, adding that Nigeria was bigger than the PDP.
He said the APC leaders were concerned with the welfare of the nation, which should be the pre-occupation of all Nigerians.
“Nigeria is bigger than PDP. They came to talk about Nigeria and how to move the nation forward,” he said.
“The APC leaders visited me to discuss the welfare of the country which should be the responsibility of every Nigerian whether you belong to a party or you do not have a party, you have an assignment assigned to you to protect the integrity of the country.
On his part, Mr. Abubakar debunked claims that the APC leaders requested him to join the party, saying “I am not a politician, I am not a partisan politician and I don’t need to be wooed.”
According to him, the opposition leaders briefed him on the amalgamation of the new party and the progress they had made so far, adding that he also advised them on certain issues.
“What I told them, they have already heard. I’ve advised them on how all of us need this country and to make sure that we maintain peace in the country,” Mr. Abubakar said.
The former head of state demanded that Nigerians be allowed to play their citizen’s right by joining parties of their choice, adding, “Whether you are in opposition or in government, in the various ways of your manifesto, you are serving the country.
So whatever role any party finds itself, they should play that role very well.”
Mr. Akande told journalists that the opposition leaders visited the former leaders to tap wisdom in running the party.
He said, “We need to pick the brains of former rulers in this country in order to be wiser than we were before we came here.”
The APC national chairman also said the party would continue to consult those it regarded as wise men in the country.
Also speaking, Mr. Tinubu assured that APC was committed to giving Nigerians better tomorrow.