President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday threw his hat into the ring announcing his decision to seek re-election into office in 2019. His announcement was to members of the National Executive Council of his political party, the All Progressive Congress at a closed-door meeting. The President had earlier given an address to his party members urging them
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday threw his hat into the ring announcing his decision to seek re-election into office in 2019. His announcement was to members of the National Executive Council of his political party, the All Progressive Congress at a closed-door meeting.
The President had earlier given an address to his party members urging them to give some consideration to current Party executive members by granting waivers to remain in office while seeking re-election. The Constitution makes it mandatory for them to resign their positions 30 days to election. The President envisages that this may create a vacuum.
The President’s decision to re-contest has been greeted with mixed reactions. While some analysts feel it is the right step in the right direction because of the on-going wars on insurgency and corruption by his administration, others posit that at age 75 and with undisclosed health condition that saw him away from duty for four months last year, the President should yield ground for a younger candidate.
The President’s announcement before departing for the United Kingdom may have effectively shut the door against any contender for the position of President in the APC. There are at least three persons believed to have earlier shown interest in contesting for the position. But, the President said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give APC NEC the honour of notifying them first.
The President seems to be having a better grip on the party. At the last NEC meeting, he was able to make the Party rescind its earlier position on the extension of tenure of the National Working Committee and may have successfully convinced the Party to keep the Executives in office while they seek re-election.
Below is the text of the President’s address at the NEC meeting of April 9, 2018:
I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important meeting in the affairs of our party and our country. I want to specifically thank members of the Technical Committee for a job well done within the limited time frame.
2. It shows a great sense of commitment to the ideals of our party with a view to consolidating and positioning the party to continue delivering good governance in the overall interest of Nigerians.
3. With the present state of the party and based on the report submitted by the Technical Committee, It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits.
4. Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division.
5. Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.
6. I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution.
7. However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition.
8. Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.
9. Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at Ward level whose tenure have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties. This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)
10. In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times and the journey that is ahead of us.
11. Just like our party symbol:” the Broom” which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitise Nigeria’s political environment.
12. Once again, I welcome you all to this meeting with the hope that we will in our deliberations today, conduct ourselves without rancor and promote the highest interest of the party and the nation.