Buhari: Anambra, Ekiti, Osun elections proof of commitment to credible polls
Meets APC Stakeholders Over 2023 Polls
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja declared that the off-season elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States have confirmed his administration’s irreversible commitment to credible and violence-free polls in the country.
“I have always re-assured my listeners both at home and abroad; my personal desire and indeed the priority of this administration, is to bequeath to our nation an irreversible political process that continues to be both democratic and acceptable to the people,” President Buhari said.
Buhari, who spoke while receiving a delegation from Nasarawa State, urged the electorate to vote the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next general election to ensure continuity in the polity and stability in the country and West African sub-region.
The President told the delegation led by the state Governor, Abdullahi Sule, that the Electoral Act signed by him earlier this year was an attestation to the fulfillment of the administration’s determination and commitment to the tenets of the rule of law.
He added: “On the issues of credible, free and fair elections in the country, my desire for our nation is that the 2023 elections should clearly mark the commencement of the institutional strength of our electoral body in conducting acceptable, credible and violence-free elections.
“The forthcoming general election will provide us with the opportunity to convince the electorate on the need for continuity to enable our party to consolidate on our achievements in the last seven years.
“The government and people of Nasarawa State, as usual, have a great role to play in returning our party to governance in the 2023 elections, in order to create a path for greater socio-economic growth and development. This is not only important for Nigeria alone but also for the West African sub-region.”
Noting that Nasarawa remains very dear to his heart, President Buhari described the state as the symbol of hope and determination in collective efforts to entrench democracy in Nigeria.
He recounted that in 2011, the state stood out during the general election of that year as the only state that compensated the political efforts of the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), defying rigging and ensuring that their voices mattered.
“To demonstrate this admiration and appreciation to the people of Nasarawa State, I personally attended the inauguration of Governor Tanko Al-Makura on May 29, 2011. In 2015 and 2019, the state remained one of the strongholds of our great party, the APC.
“I am optimistic that the people of the state, the APC government and this broad representation of your delegation will not disappoint me, as we sustain concerted efforts in pushing forward the frontiers of good governance in our country,” he added.
President Buhari also used the occasion to stress the need for partnerships among the three tiers of government to deliver good governance, infrastructure and critical services needed by the people.
He pledged commitment to the joint-efforts by the state and federal governments to facilitate easy transportation by road, railways and airports as well as power, noting that no nation could develop without these components of infrastructure.
“The proximity of Nasarawa State to the FCT naturally makes the state a partner in infrastructural development. We therefore need more collaboration to enhance this proximity with other contiguous states to achieve more integrated development,” the President said.
He expressed appreciation to the government and people of the state for their continuous support to his administration.
Sule told the President that the delegation comprising political office holders, royal fathers and community leaders was in the Villa to show appreciation for the numerous projects executed by the Buhari Administration, which Nasarawa State “is among the great beneficiaries.”
He thanked the President for approving the Federal Government takeover of the Lafia airport, refunds for the completion of the Lafia-Keffi road, ongoing construction of Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi dual carriage road and appointment of prominent sons and daughters of the state into different positions in the Federal Government.
On Lafia airport, the Governor said: “By this approval, we can now see our airport being properly utilised not only as a cargo, but also commercial and security airport. This will create enormous economic activities, employment opportunities and more importantly security for our state and region.”
He also congratulated the President for providing leadership and creating the enabling environment that facilitated the conduct of free, fair and credible primary elections, which resulted in the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of APC, as well as the recent Osun governorship election that produced the PDP-candidate as governor-elect.
Meanwhile, the President yesterday met with a delegation of critical stakeholders of the APC at the State House, Abuja.
The delegation, which included the vice presidential candidate of the party, Kashim Shettima, and other key stalwarts led by the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, were ushered into the President’s office about 03:00pm.
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who is the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and those of Borno, Babagana Zulum; Gombe, Inuwa Yahaya; Yobe, Mai Mala Buni and Nassrawa, Abdullahi Sule were present at the meeting.
The meeting came two days after Shettima was unveiled as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President Buhari told the stakeholders that the unity, security and prosperity of the country would matter most to him, beyond his days in office as president.
He expressed delight that the party was working towards that eventuality.
He thanked the delegation “for the kind words on my role in processes leading to the emergence of our candidate, and his running mate, for the presidential election in February next year.”
He added: “I want to thank you all for the roles you played in the build-up, first to our national convention earlier this year, and later, to the primary elections.
“You were all of one mind, wanting the best for the party, with the candidate emerging in a free and fair manner.
“For us all, the cohesion and unity of the party was the first priority, and ambition was second. I am glad that you all saw the larger picture, rather than narrow, self-serving interests.”
President Buhari recounted that when Shettima was presented to him a couple of days ago, he had said he would reserve his comments till the handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, at the Eagle Square.
“I still maintain that same position,’’ the President said, lauding party members for acknowledging the many virtues that qualify the vice presidential candidate for the noble position.
He expressed confidence that Shettima would not disappoint the party, and Nigerians at large.
He also commended the party for resolving to further mobilise more Nigerians, particularly youths, to register and get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), saying: “It is the way to go.”
The National Chairman of the party, the Chairman, the Progressives Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Shettima, in separate remarks, expressed gratitude to the President for his exemplary leadership, which has strengthened the party in the aftermath of the convention and primaries.
Adamu said: “Our main goal is to see the success of the APC in the forthcoming general election. There’s no better parting gift than to ensure that the APC produces the next president.”
Bagudu told the President that he had set a worthy precedence on internal democracy in political parties, saying: “Under pressure to dictate or suggest, you were determined that the democratic process should be given the opportunity to work and what we have seen is that democratic processes can produce very excellent results. We have a presidential candidate and a running mate, whom we are all proud of.”
The Kebbi Governor attributed the gradual return of normalcy to the northeastern part of the country to the spirited interventions approved by the President, acknowledging the rise in agricultural activities and food production in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The Vice Presidential candidate reiterated the willingness of the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, and himself to serve Nigeria with justice, equity and fairness.
“We want to solicit the support of the President once INEC lifts the ban on open-air campaigns and we want to latch on to your achievements and brand name to victory, and consolidate the leadership of the party,” he added.