SOME governors on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday rooted for automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari for 2019 presidential election. The governors, who spoke on the sidelines of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting in Abuja, included chairman of APC Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State; Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and their counterpart in Plateau, Simon Lalong.
This came as the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party in Abuja, deferred an ‘informal’ motion to endorse an automatic second term ticket for the president.
Before the NEC meeting started, Nasarawa State governor, Umar Tanko Al-Makura, told journalists that for now, there is no better candidate than the incumbent President, who he described as the most impeccable man that could be found around. He said: “The tone for this meeting has been set since yesterday (Monday) when we had the caucus meeting… You see, APC as a party, epitomises democracy. For anybody to pre-empt the consensus opinion of the people is to say the least unfair to the vision of our party.
“I can tell you if there is anything that is clandestine, the President will not honour it, so let us wait and see. As we embark on these meetings, I believe the consensus and the preponderance of opinions of all party members will be what is good for this country, and we have already known the will of God for this country.
“The future of this country as we are now, is associated with one person who is impeccable, who has the greatest amount of integrity that you can find in any human being around, so your guess is as good as mine.”
On his part, Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, said the performance of the President in the over two years he had been in the saddle, is something that will work in his favour ahead of the next general elections. The governor said he will throw his support behind the President should he decide to take another shot at the office.
“Everyone believes two things about Mr. President. He is very, very sincere in his views and he has his own style of doing things.
“I think for APC members, it is a democratic party, but the performance of the President in the last two and half years suggests that if he wants to contest, l will certainly support him and l know that our party members feel the same about him,” he declared. Speaking in a similar vein, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said the party has no choice than to field the President for the 2019 elections.
He said: “Concerning the issue of a sole ticket for Mr President, I want to say that if Mr President is performing, well-respected and carrying everybody along, all of us have resolved that we will work for him. “Do we have any other person that will challenge the President again? Whatever you call it, as far as we are concerned, we have one President and that is the ticket we will fly.”
Similarly, chairman of APC Governors Forum and governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, said the only condition that would make him not indicate interest to run for the Presidency was if President Buhari was running.
“No, my President is very democratic. If Mr President wants to run for election, he will follow all the processes and if he is the person, we will all support him.
“In APC, there is no imposition of candidates. If Buhari is running, I will allow that man to continue but if he is not running, I …”, he stopped halfway, laughing.
On concerns that Buhari’s administration was made up of elements of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Okorocha, said the trend had to change. He said: “It is not that PDP people are running this government but that they are the ones with the major plum jobs which if it were the PDP, they would not have allowed it one bit and they are getting fattened and ready to fight us politically.
“Remember, your political enemy cannot love you politically. So, we must address our issues and make sure that everything is working smoothly and that the APC people hold great positions on the boards to give them confidence and a sense of belonging. That is what we are asking for.”
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, yesterday, deferred an ‘informal’ motion to endorse an automatic second term ticket for President Buhari.
NEC, however, passed a vote of confidence on the President as well as Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee, NWC, saying both men had done well.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting which lasted about two and half hours, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the issue of 2019 was not on the agenda of the NEC meeting.
“Today’s meeting was not about 2019 elections. When we talk about 2019 in the context of the agenda you saw, we are talking about membership registration, the drive for membership and others.
“We are not talking about elections. Even though there was a motion on the floor that called for a vote of confidence on the President, some of us felt it was not necessary because there is nowhere that his confidence is shaking. But the motion was taken and passed.
“But there was a second leg to that motion which called for the adoption of the candidature of the President, but it was deferred for now and no decision was taken because that is not the major reason we were here,” he said.
Abdullahi National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who was in company of the speaker, said the motion for a second term endorsement was informally moved by an ‘anonymous’ member of NEC. He said: “The motion that was put was after the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had briefed NEC about activities and achievements of his ministry.
One of the NEC members said we should move a motion passing a vote of confidence on Mr. President. “There was no formal motion moved on the issue of second term for Mr. President. Somebody in the crowd shouted that we should move a motion and we don’t even know that member.
“But the motion that was formally moved was that NEC should pass a vote of confidence on Mr. President and that was after the brief given by the Minister of Agriculture, especially when he said that by 2018, Nigeria will have no need to import a single grain of rice. That is the context and I need you to understand that very well.”
Abdullahi said the only conversation on 2019 was the activities of the party in 2018, “especially the issue of convention.
“It was agreed that since we have all these activities lined up, including the mini-convention, congresses and elective convention, a small team be set up to put dates to these party activities up to 2018.
“There was no discussion about election of 2019 or who will be the party flag bearer. The committee will decide when all these activities will take place,” he said.
Dogara said: “There was paper on the line of activities that the party is meant to embark upon. There wasn’t a definitive and conclusive date on the party convention because it is something in the works and judging from yesterday’s (Monday) meeting, I understand that the party will fine-tune this and then there will be another round of meeting where the specifics and details will be approved.” – Vanguard
– Nov 1, 2017 @ 4:10 GMT |