*APC Govs laud action
*It’ll be tragic, say LP, UPP, CNPP
*We want Makarfi as president – Northern youths
By Mike Ubani, Chesa Chesa (Abuja), Jibrin Miachi (Kaduna) and Angela Nkwo-Akpolu (Owerri)
After keeping Nigerians in the dark for several months, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja, declared his intention to run for a second term in 2019.
He made the declaration during a closed-door meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s secretariat.
The President said that he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first.
Shortly before making the declaration, the President presented a speech on the report submitted by the APC National Executive Technical Committee, and thanked the members for a job well done.
He canvassed for waivers to be extended to party officials seeking re-election instead of being required to resign at least 30 days before the congresses and convention.
He said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the partya��s congresses and convention where the election of National Executive Committee (NEC) members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of court compelling the party to hold its congresses.
“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.
“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 officersa�� ability to meet this condition.
“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.
“Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the ward level whose tenures may 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).
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.
“Just like our party symbol; a�?the Broom,a�? 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 sanitize Nigeriaa��s political environment,a�? he said.
*APC Govs laud declaration
As soon as the President declared his intention, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima and his Imo State counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, said it was in the interest of the country.
Shettima said: “We are fully in support of his decision and it is part of democratic culture. Traditionally, the Presidents have the right of first refusal of the candidature of their party, so ita��s not something that is unusual or unwarranted or unconstitutional. He has done the right thing, he is going to contest and we are solidly behind him. We will give him the kind of support we gave him in 2015.
“He is not under any obligation to consult governors or anybody; he has been under tremendous pressure to make that pronouncement, so we should heave a sigh of relief since he has finally announced his intention to contest. Certainly, he is the single kinetic president in Nigeriaa��s political life till date,a�? Shettima said.
Okorocha, who is the Chairman of Progressive Governorsa�� Forum, commended President Buhari for the declaration, saying it’s a patriotic response.
In a statement signed by his spokesman, Sam Onwuemodo in Owerri, Okorocha said that the President’s declaration is a patriotic response to the clarion call of Nigerians of goodwill for him to lead the country for another four years.
He said that “it will reduce the noise of the opposition and take care of the idiosyncrasies of certain elements in the system”.
He called on APC members across Nigeria to close ranks for the victory of the party at all levels come 2019.
But, former Adviser on New Media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Reno Omokri, said that it was a tall ambition, stressing that Buharia��s chances are very slim.
Omokri, a staunch critic of the Buhari administration, compared the Presidenta��s chances of being re-elected to the height of Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
According to him, Buhari has treated Nigerians as a�?foolsa�? by declaring his bid for second term despite the inability of his supporters to list projects initiated and completed by the administration.
He wrote on Twitter: a�?It is a good thing that it was @El-Rufai who announced President @MBuharia��s second term because his chances of re-election are as tall as El-Rufai.
a�?A man whose supporters cana��t declare one thing he has initiated and completed, has declared us all fools by this 2nd term declaration,a�? he said.
*It’s tragic, say LP, UPP, CNPP
Meanwhile, the Labour Party (LP) has said that it will be more punishment for Nigerians, if Buhari returns to power.
LP National Chairman P, Alhaji Abdul Kadir Abdulsalam, told The AUTHORITY that though President Buhari deserves the right to contest the election as a citizen, he has failed Nigerians in all forms, insisting that age is also not on his side to continue to be in office beyond 2019.
Abdulsalam maintained that his party would field a credible candidate who would beat Buhari in 2019, adding that his four years as President had failed to bring hope to Nigerians.
Also, the National Chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has warned Nigerians to learn from their current sufferings as a result of the ruling partya��s harsh economic policies.
He said that it would be a tragedy if the APC government returns to power in 2019
Okorie regretted that Nigerians had passed through hardship under the Buhari-led APC administration and warned against any attempt by Nigerians to allow the party to return to power next year.
He described the APC as a gathering of strange bedfellows, adding that those cleavages were still easily identifiable, and the loyalties and prejudices remain inside there
“It is obvious that APC has never enjoyed internal cohesion, and never enjoyed stability from its very inception, and thata��s why they are having this problem, and ita��s affecting the economy and the people. And thata��s why we said that anything that will guarantee a balanced National Assembly in future election should be supported by Nigerians.
a�?The slow pace of governance is borne out of President Buharia��s weakness, and he should be blamed solely for that because he is really very slow, and his actions dona��t give the impression that he fully set his mind to become President,a�? he said.
Similarly, the Conference of Nigeria Political Party (CNPP) has urged the President not to seek re-election, stressing that Buhari has nothing to show Nigerians, in terms of concrete achievement, to make him think of seeking re-election beyond the fact that re-contesting is a legal right.
While reacting to the Presidenta��s declaration of intention to seek re-election, the CNPP in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, maintained that Nigeria should be thinking of electing a patriotic politician who understands economic dynamics and inclusive governance.
a�?It is disappointing that the President will choose to declare for a second term, when the security of life and property of Nigerians cannot be guaranteed.
a�?The Presidenta��s declaration of intention to run at this time is the height of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians who are suffering under his administration as he has nothing concrete in terms of achievement to show Nigerians.
a�?Today, we can count businesses that have either collapsed or are operating under the worst economic condition in history of our dear country, with no single high profile conviction in his so-called anti-corruption war in three years.
a�?His anti-corruption campaign has obviously been turned into a blackmailing tool aimed at painting one political party black, while anyone accused of corruption that joins the APC automatically becomes a saint and must be protected to enjoy his loot. That is not war against corruption.
a�?Re-electing the incumbent is to vote for continuity of failure as the first term in the office is usually the time to win the confidence of the electorate but Mr President has performed so woefully in security, nation building, provision of infrastructure, employment generation, name it to seek re-election. His government has failed all-round,a�? the CNPP said.
*We want Makarfi as president a�� Northern youths
Also yesterday, youths from the 19 northern states under the aegis of Nigeria Youth Project (NYP) urged Buhari to step aside and allow a younger Nigerian to take the country to the promised land.
The youths, who made the call in Kaduna, noted that the only thing Buhari has is integrity, but quickly argued that “integrity alone cannot take Nigeria to the promised land in this age”.
They spoke through their Team Leader, Bobai Matthew Victor, when the group visited the Kaduna State Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Instead of Buhari, Victor said that the youths were working for the candidature of Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
He said: “We want a Nigerian with a dream and a vision. We want Nigeria with a future where our children can fit in, what we can develop for the future generations.
“We are here because of Senator Makarfi because we believe he fits into the idea of what we want for this country.
“This current administration of Buhari is all about integrity and that is the only thing it has to offer. But integrity alone cannot take us to the promised land,” he said.
Consequently, Victor called on the President to, “please go and take his well-deserved rest and allow his younger brother, Senator Ahmed Makarfi to take up the mantle of leadership and replicate nationwide what he did in Kaduna”.
*APC Govs laud action