By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari was not averse to cross-party support to his re-election bid but assured members of his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that he was fully behind the party and its candidates in every state of the federation and will campaign for them wherever he goes.
According to a statement signed by Attah Esa, Deputy Director of Information at the State House, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, dismissed insinuations that the President did not show full support for the APC while campaigning on Tuesday in Imo State, a state that has made headlines recently for the fractiousness within the ruling party there which has led to disagreements with the state governor, Rochas Okorocha.
“The massive crowd that gathered to welcome President Buhari in Imo State was made up of not only supporters of the APC in the state, but also supporters of other parties who are united by their love for the President and their desire to see him re-elected, despite the local candidates they support,” Shehu said.
He explained that President Buhari’s consciousness of this obviously-mixed crowd was the reason why he did not speak only about support for the APC during the campaign, but also encouraged the people to vote according to their consciences.
According to the presidential spokesman, “While President Buhari is fully behind APC, he welcomes endorsements from those who do not belong to the ruling party but is also sensitive to their support for non-APC candidates at the local level. It would have been insensitive of him to offend his non-APC supporters by ignoring their local affiliations.”
Shehu noted President Buhari’s open endorsement of Hope Uzodinma, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, whose hand the President raised high before the crowd at the campaign rally.
“President Buhari is for the APC in every state and there is no doubt about that, despite his immense cross-party support,” he said.