President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, said he believed strongly that the election that brought him into office was the most credible in the country’s political history. Tinubu stated this at a meeting with members of his governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja to officially ratify former Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, as National Chairman of the party.
The president told the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that the party and government must find a way to satisfy the yearnings of the people. He said it was important that the policies being implemented by his administration worked for Nigerians, and not punish them.
The NEC meeting approved the choice of Ganduje as APC national chairman, and Senator Ajibola Basiru, from Osun State, as national secretary. The duo replaced Abdullahi Adamu and Iyiola Omisore, who recently resigned as national chairman and national secretary, respectively.
The APC NEC, at its meeting, rubbished the election report by the European Union (EU) monitoring team. APC said an organisation, whose identity and address it did not know, had resorted to a campaign of calumny and incitement of Nigerians against the party and government, forcing the party to pass a vote of confidence in the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The NEC devolved more powers to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), with a mandate to fill all other existing vacancies in the NWC.
Ganduje declared that on his watch, internal democracy would be strictly adhered to, with a deliberate policy to engage in wider consultation and make the party functional.
However, APC National Legal Adviser, Ahmed El-Marzuk, yesterday, resigned from the party’s NWC, amid allegations of corruption.
Nonetheless, addressing APC faithful in Abuja, Tinubu said the ruling party got the trophy by winning the election, saying the reward for hard work is more work.
He stated, “The party has a responsibility to promote unity, stability and love among ourselves. And we have to fulfill your dreams and the dreams of our founding fathers.
“To be sure that Nigeria remains the focal point of our domestic and foreign policies. You are the drivers of the party, when we have all other passengers, the drivers and co passengers must not fall asleep and the break working. Party loyalty becomes very important.
“Yes, we are facing challenges in the court, but I think this is the most credible election in Nigeria. So, we must congratulate ourselves. As a democrat, those who cannot accept the results of a free and fair election do not deserve the joy of victory.”
Tinubu admitted that there were governance issues, which the federal government was tackling head-on.
He said, “We must oil the wheel, grease it. I have submitted the ministerial list to Senate for screening and approval. We are in the process of establishing fully the government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
“I can see a number of my friends here and you have not been able to see me. It is what you all fought for to bring me here, we have governance issues and you will not see me often as you want to.”
The president noted that the country was going through issues, some of which he had sufficiently addressed in his nationwide broadcast last Monday.
According to him, “We will face it squarely to re-engineer the economy of this country. We must find a way to satisfy the yearnings of the common man and we must ensure that all the policies we roll out work for the common man. Our policies are for the people, not to punish the people.”
Tinubu also spoke to some foreign issues.
He said, “To the International community, I sent a message to Europe and America yesterday. To our partners, I ask how can you handle a barking dog and a mad dog and prevent a barking dog from eating from the plate of your enemy. We are hungry and the continent depends on Nigeria. We need help, but not at the expense of our joy, peace, and happiness.
“The party is in your hand, let us redirect this party. Let us show the rest of the country that we are united for a purpose and if we veer from the path, posterity will not forgive us.
“So, ladies and gentlemen, let us take a few items on our plates, vote the chairman and secretary, while we devolve some powers to NWC to fill the others after consultation. Let us do what we can today.”
Ganduje declared that on his watch internal democracy would be prioritised, and there would be a deliberate effort to engage in wide consultation and make the party more functional.
The former governor, who is the sixth national chairman of APC in 10 years, made the pledge after his ratification by the NEC.
The NEC, at its meeting held at Transcorp Hilton, also appointed Basiru, a former Senate spokesman, as the party’s national secretary.
Ganduje assured that his focus would be to promote party unity, and defend and increase the number of executive and legislative seats the party currently held.
He stated, “Under my watch, internal democracy will be strictly adhered to, with a deliberate policy to engage in wider consultations and making the party functional throughout the year. More reforms will be carried out in the party in alignment with the current political landscape.
“We all agreed that we must unite our members to achieve support for our government to respond adequately, urgently and assertively to the challenges that Nigerians confront on a daily basis.”
The former Kano State governor added that the challenges included unemployment, poverty, insecurity, social cohesion, and rising cost of living.
He appealed to Nigerians to bear with the president at this trying moment, considering that the country’s economy had been in shambles for many years.
Ganduje said he believed that the policies and programmes to be unveiled by the president when his administration fully takes shape, would surely turn things around for the better.
He added, “Our party must remain rooted among the people, must demonstrate a willingness to serve and make sacrifices, and must be willing to acknowledge and address our weaknesses.
“It’s a huge privilege and an honour and a great responsibility to take on this job and I will do it with everything I have, to the best of my ability, for my party and my country.
“We will ensure a level playing field for all party members that want to contest elections under the party’s platform. Our primary elections would be free, transparent and fair.”
He called on party members and the people of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states to close ranks and ensure that APC won in the forthcoming governorship elections.
Imo State Governor and Chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Senator Hope Uzodinma, moved a motion at the meeting to pass a vote of confidence in INEC and the 2023 general election, as APC’s official response to an alleged “campaign of calumny” by the opposition PDP and the Labour Party (LP).
The motion was seconded by the governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
Uzodinma said the opposition orchestrated the EU report that faulted the 2023 elections.
According to him, “Recently, they started blackmailing INEC. They generated an EU report by the EU monitoring team, whose identity and address we don’t know. We condemn the campaign of calumny, the incitement of Nigerians and this type of campaign that is going on.”
Similarly, yesterday, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, hailed Ganduje’s emergence as APC national chairman.
Barau, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ismail Mudashir, said with the former governor at the helm of affairs of APC, the ruling party would be repositioned and strengthened for the benefit of all its members.
He said with Ganduje’s vast experience, the conflict resolution mechanism of APC would be enhanced to reduce internal wrangling.
Barau stated, “His Excellency is coming on board with enormous experience spanning decades in politics and governance. With him piloting the affairs of our party, internal democracy would prevail.
“We thank His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, governors, and other stakeholders of our party for the endorsement of His Excellency, Ganduje.”
Meanwhile, THISDAY gathered that El-Marzuk’s resignation as APC’s National Legal Adviser happened on Wednesday, following insistence by some of his colleagues that he could no longer be in office due to some allegations of corruption against him.
The investigation further revealed that he had been visiting the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer questions relating to financial misappropriation.
But El-Marzuk, in a statement yesterday, said his resignation was due to the reconfiguration of party offices for national cohesion and adequate regional representation.
The statement said, “In light of the recent developments within our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), with the emergence of His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and Senator Ajibola Basiru as National Chairman and National Secretary, and the reconfiguration of party offices for national cohesion and adequate regional representation, the National Legal Adviser found it pertinent that he resigns his position within the party to allow for a smooth reconfiguration of the party’s leadership.
“The National Legal Adviser thanks the president and the entire leadership of the party for the opportunity given to him to serve.”
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