By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged leadership and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to abide by the nation and APC’s constitutions as well as the electoral act while conducting the forthcoming party primaries.
The President, who gave the challenge at the opening of the 6th meeting of the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja on Thursday, said the call had become necessary so as to ensure fairness and justice to all.
According to him, it is only by so doing that the party will serve as a shining example for others to emulate, adding that any political party worth its salt must get its internal democracy rights.
“Today, we are meeting to look at some major decisions that will lead to excellent performance at the polls next year starting with party primaries at various levels.
“I urge you all to ensure that the decisions taken here today are those that will be for the good of the party and that will meet the yearnings and aspirations of our teaming members and supporters nationwide. They look up to us for guidance and we must not disappoint or fail them.
“As we stand on the threshold of party primaries, I urge all and sundry to ensure that we play the game according to the rules. Let us come out with free, fair and credible primaries which will be precursor to free, fair and credible general elections next year.
“Let us shine the light through our primaries and the rest of the country will find the way.
“Our primaries must be in complete compliance with the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the Electoral Act and above all the constitution of our party, the APC.’’
The President lauded the new leadership of the party which he said emerged at a turbulent time where there were massive attempt of defections.
He, however, noted that in spite reconciliation mission embarked upon by the Oshiohmole led NEC some members of the party were bent on pulling down the roofs.
He said: “Let me congratulated the current leadership of our party led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“The team emerged at a most turbulent time when there were rumours and speculations of massive defections in a way that will possible rock the very foundation of the party.
“Despite reconciliatory attempts to keep the house together some members were held bent on pulling down the roofs.
“They left plotting to go along with scores of people this upsetting the party.
“But due to yeoman’s work by the able party leadership, the exit barely made attempt in our super structure as they could not muster the figures they had envisaged to cause an upset, particularly in the two chambers of the National Assembly.’’
President Buhari noted with delight that the APC had remained in control and increasing its membership by the day “with quality people joining the party. I say congratulations to the new members.
“Hope is rekindled in our hearts but we will give our country purposeful leadership that will improve the quality of life of the people.”
He reiterated the determination of his administration to continue to secure the country, fight corruption and position the economy in a way that jobs could be provided for the unemployed across the country.
According to him, his administration will fulfill all promises made to Nigerians.
In his remarks, the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, attributed the recent electoral victories recorded by the party in Bauchi, Kogi and Katsina states to the visionary leadership of President Buhari.
According to him, the party leadership considers it a huge privilege to be elected and are indebted to the president and members,
He, therefore, vowed to continue to do his best in ensuring fairness and justice to all members and supporters of the party.
Oshiomhole described the recent defection of some members of the party to other political parties as a blessing in disguise, saying that the party only shed “excess fats”.
He said: The decampees felt it will be a huge blow to our party but I repeat those that left for personal ambition, those with no political address, migrant politicians and Rolling Stones politicians, I won’t loss my sleep.
“Many felt my comments were arrogant but we needed to be blunt.
“Those who have grievances arising from genuine misunderstanding our responsibilities is to help our party to have common ground and genuinely resolved those issues and we have been trying are best to do so as can be arrested to by those that have remained.
“We have purged ourselves of excess fat that will clog our veins and we are much more certain of our future.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, APC state governors, APC National Assembly members and other chieftains of the party including Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan attended the meeting.
Some others in attendance were the Secretary to the Government the Federation, Boss Mustapha, members of the National Working Committee and NEC.
However, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, sent in their apologies due to their inability to attend the meeting.