He said he was moved by the state of hopeless in the country, where the selfish interest of elected leaders superseded the national interest
• Picks expression of interest, nomination form
• Party gives conditions for consensus candidates
Romanus Ugwu and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday described those who have exited the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as weak and selfish, who could not align with the vision of his administration.
He spoke after he was handed the Expression of Interest and Nomination Form for his 2019 re-election bid by a political group, the Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network (NCAN), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari who expressed delight for being honoured by the group made up of youths from different parts of the country, explained why he had to come out of retirement to push to realise his vision to rescue the country in 2002.
He said he was moved by the state of hopeless in the country, where the selfish interest of elected leaders superseded the national interest, stressing that the 2007 election was a disgrace.
“I am honoured today (yesterday) to receive youths from all over the country contributing to buy the form for me. The weakest, whose sense of expectation do not align with our vision, have exited our party. We now have a party of strong and patriotic people who are ready to work for a strong Nigeria,” he declared.
Enumerating his achievement in the last three years, he said his administration has completed a rail project and new ones under construction, provided support for farmers, including the rehabilitation of fertilizer plants, introduced the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which he said has reduced stealing in public service as well as provided jobs and cash for the most vulnerable Nigerians.
Deputy Chairman of NCAN, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the three million members of the group contributed as little as N68 to purchase the form after an assessment of the performance of President Buhari.
According to him, Buhari’s commitments to the fight against corruption, the fight against terrorism and the rejuvenation of the economy were some of the reasons that spurred the group to pay for the expression of interest and the nomination form for him.
“Nigerians, for the first time in many years, could see a leader who painstakingly took decisions solely on the bases of national interest, above that of his or anyone else. A leader who belongs to all and behoving to our country and to God only, who in His infinite mercy brought our president back from the brink of death and restored him to strength and vigour.
“These ambassadors whose network seeks to consolidate these gains and engrain this focus, then decided to contribute their intellect and little earnings towards ensuring that our president is encouraged to continue this service…”
Campaign DG of Buhari’s Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, assured that the president was as fit as a fiddle and ready for the campaigns.
Also present at the short ceremony were the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and other presidential aides.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has warned that consensus candidature would only apply where no other aspirant signified interest through purchase of nomination forms for the position in question.
Apparently referring to states like Ogun, Yobe among others that have adopted consensus arrangement, the party, in a statement by its spokesman, Yekini Nabena, said it had become pertinent to make the clarification.
“While consensus is provided for by the party’s Constitution, the option is conditional. Consensus does not foreclose direct or indirect primaries for all elective positions as contained in the resolution of the sixth meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC),” he said.
The clarification came as National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, vowed that the party would do everything possible to wrest Taraba State from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He described the incumbent Darius Ishaiku as traveling governor.
“We are in very interesting times, we have a governor in Taraba on the PDP platform and who narrowly escaped with the position courtesy of the rigging machine of the PDP. From all that I hear from the ordinary people of Taraba, they can’t wait to have Governor Darius Ishaku out of the government house of Taraba.
“We, at the APC headquarters, are absolutely committed to giving you all the moral, organisational and persuasive support that we can provide to organise, mobilise and ensure that the great people of Taraba State come out enmasse to vote for whoever will emerge as the governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates on the platform of our party, come February 2019.
“Under the APC, the good people of Taraba State will witness sustainable development, peace, and security. They will have a resident governor, because what we have now is a governor that spends one day in Taraba and six days outside Taraba whether in Lagos, London or in other parts of the world. You can’t govern in absentia. I believe that our Party will make a difference.
“I am encouraged by the people I see who are working together on the platform of the APC in our shared determination to provide good governance to the people of Taraba state. Today’s meeting is the beginning of a collaborative effort to democratically takeover the governance of Taraba state,” he said