“This Convention comes at a crucial time as we prepare for another round of general elections. Therefore, the need to remain strong and united for the Party to harness the rich and abundant potentials at its disposal cannot be overemphasized. We value the right to have different opinions and aspirations, however, these differences should not be to the detriment of the Party.
“I make an impassioned appeal to all of you to support the new National Working Committee (NWC) to promote unity and avoid feelings that can cause disaffection and disunity. For those who aspire to party and public office, your failure to achieve such aspirations for party office or to fly the party flag should not be a basis for a campaign of slander against the left. We must have sportsmanship and always support the party to succeed.
President Buhari has enjoined new NWC members to promote internal democracy and equal opportunity and ensure that the party’s primaries are not influenced by the “highest bidders” in the 2023 elections.
He commended the Interim/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee for steering the party ship thus far, including; reconciling aggrieved party members, buying a new party secretariat, and launching an aggressive membership drive that saw three governors defect to the APC, among other things.
“I would like to congratulate all of us for participating in this historic event and especially thank the Interim/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) who participated in a rescue mission under the leadership of His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe Governor of the State, for having successfully piloted the affairs of the Party over the past 18 months and organized this Convention to elect a new National Working Committee which will take over from the Interim Committee.
“I am happy that the Party under the Interim Committee has been revived with the reconciliation of several key stakeholders and groups and critics who had hitherto left the Party or were about to leave the Party. The reconciliation process has yielded aggrieved stakeholders a true sense of ownership and assurance.
“It is gratifying that the Party has recorded massive and unprecedented defections under the administration of the Interim Committee. The APC received three sitting governors, a deputy governor, senators, members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies and other key opposition party officials who have defected along with millions of their supporters.
“I am impressed to learn that the membership registration and revalidation exercise undertaken by the Interim Committee has registered over 41 million members. This has proven that we are indeed the premier and largest political party in Nigeria. It also shows our numerical strength and the potential to win elections anytime in a fair and honest manner.
The president who invoked the reasons for his recent intervention in the affairs of the party, assured that it was not intended to muzzle dissenting voices.
“Recently, I had to intervene in the leadership crisis that was about to sow confusion in the Party. Such internal conflicts are common in young democracies like ours, but we must avoid overheating the political system and not let our differences tear and frustrate the Party.
“As I said earlier, it does no one or the Party any good when we as leaders stoop so low and resort to backstabbing and name-calling in the media.
“We must learn to resolve our differences without jeopardizing our personal relationships and the fate of the Party. I would like to thank the Progressive Governors Forum for considering my advice and suggestions to resolve the leadership dispute.
President Buhari called on all politicians and the electorate to abide by the new electoral law “to promote the electoral process, improve transparency, close existing loopholes and add value to Nigerian democracy for our democracy to prosper.”