By Femi Adesina
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja told stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the unity, security and prosperity of the country would matter most to him, beyond his days in office as President.
The President expressed delight that the party is on towards that eventuality.
He thanked the delegation led by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, “for the kind words on my role in processes leading to the emergence of our candidate, and his running mate, for the Presidential election in February, next year.
‘‘I want to thank you all for the roles you played in the build-up, first to our national convention earlier this year, and later, to the primary elections.
‘‘You were all of one mind, wanting the best for the Party, with the candidate emerging in a free and fair manner.
‘‘For us all, the cohesion and unity of the Party was the first priority, and ambition was second. I am glad that you all saw the larger picture, rather than narrow, self-serving interests.’’
President Buhari recounted that when the presidential running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, was presented to him a couple of days ago, he had said he would reserve his comments till the handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, at the Eagle Square.
‘‘I still maintain that same position,’’ the President said, lauding party members for acknowledging the many virtues that qualify the Vice Presidential Candidate for the noble position.
The President expressed confidence that Shettima would not disappoint the Party, and Nigerians at large.
He also commended the Party for resolving to further mobilize more Nigerians, particularly youths, to register, and get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), saying ‘‘It is the way to go.’’
The National Chairman of the party, the Chairman, the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Shettima, in separate remarks, expressed gratitude to the President for his exemplary leadership which has strengthened the Party in the aftermath of the convention and primaries.
Adamu said: ‘‘Our main goal is to see the success of the APC in the forthcoming general elections. There’s no better parting gift than to ensure that the APC produces the next President.’’
Bagudu told the President that he had set a worthy precedence on internal democracy in political parties, saying:
‘‘Under pressure to dictate or suggest , you were determined that the democratic process should be given the opportunity to work and what we have seen is that democratic processes can produce very excellent results.
‘‘We have a Presidential Candidate and a running mate, whom we are all proud of.’’
The Kebbi Governor attributed the gradual return of normalcy to the North Eastern part of the country to the spirited interventions approved by the President, acknowledging the rise in agricultural activities and food production in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The Vice Presidential candidate reiterated the willingness of the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and himself to serve Nigeria with justice, equity and fairness.
‘‘We want to solicit the support of the President once INEC lifts the ban on open-air campaigns and we want to latch on to your achievements and brand name to victory, and consolidate the leadership of the party,’’ he said.
@views exclusive rights: Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, July 22, 2022.