Nigeria: Our Unity At Convention Signposts Victory in 2023 Polls – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said the unity of purpose displayed by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at its national convention on Saturday was indicative of the party’s promising success in the 2023 general election.

Buhari congratulated the newly elected APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the 79-member National Executive Committee (NEC) elected at the convention. But he blamed the media for reporting imaginary division within the ranks of the ruling party.

Adamu, who emerged through a consensus arrangement, also took a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his acceptance speech, saying the opposition party is sad and disappointed at the success of the ruling party’s national convention. He spoke yesterday after the new National Working Committee (NWC) of APC was sworn in.

The new national chairman argued that PDP and other opposition elements had expected to make a political fortune from an anticipated crisis-ridden convention. He said the ruling party had fulfilled its covenant with Nigerians.

The accusation came as Adamu’s strongest rival and former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, also said the successful convention had put APC’s enemies and naysayers to shame.

Similarly, Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said at the weekend that the successful outcome of Saturday’s national convention of APC was proof that the party would remain in power beyond 2023.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Ou; his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, congratulated Adamu and other members of the new NWC as well as the zonal executives of APC on their election.

But the PDP leadership, yesterday, mocked APC for allegedly imposing as its chairman a man arraigned in court on 149-count charge bordering on fraudulent award of contracts and stealing of public funds estimated at N15 billion.

However, Buhari, in a release by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, stressed that the intraparty unity display during the convention had put the ruling party on a firmer footing for victory in the forthcoming general election.

The president returned to the convention ground at Eagle Square, Saturday morning, along with the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the senate president, to witness and celebrate the inauguration of the newly elected party executives. He said the smooth conduct of the election had raised the prospect of a mouth-watering APC victory next year.

Buhari stated in the release, “The APC convention hosted this weekend sets the scene for an APC victory in the presidential and general elections next year. It is a victory over naysayers, who believed the party was divided but are now disappointed.

“We believe that it is equally a victory for the president who has ensured unity across all party positions; and it is a victory for the voters of Nigeria, who can now be assured of a smooth succession to new leadership in 2023.

“What the convention made clear was how the media has been peddling fake news of division, when the hard reality of unity, cohesion, and, indeed, personal warmth between members of the party’s leaders – incoming and outgoing – was evident for all to see.

“Of course, the blame for this mindset ought rightly to go to the opposition, who in all these years had done the work to only divide the country, leading to all manner of separatist agitations. But this is not the wish, nor is it in the character of the citizens, as was clear for everyone to see at the Eagle Square.

“When their fake news of disunity was undone by the facts, some in the opposition could not help themselves but take to the newspapers and the airwaves to find another way to shore up their reputations. That some of the APC’s new leadership were once in the opposition was the new line to take to the media, somehow suggesting that those who have left one party should not hold positions in another. Yet, do the Scriptures not teach us of the virtue of sinners who repent and change their ways?

“What the Scriptures say less is of sinners who repent, change their tune, and then choose to re-sin in full public view by returning to their former ways. Given that most important leaders of the opposition PDP first left the party before they returned to it, we might expect the media to ensure criticism of them is damning and absolute. It is incredulous that anyone would consider them trustworthy or acceptable candidates for any public office.

“The stage is now set for the APC primary elections later this year, when the party’s new flag bearers will emerge. No doubt, some will attempt to argue the impossible – that an APC primary election is a source of division while an opposition primary election is a source of consensus.

“But the good voters of Nigeria can see through such acrobatics and know the facts that, when the contests for 2023 come, APC offers a track record of success and leadership, while the opposition has only decades of failure and complicity in response.”

Speaking after he was sworn in, Adamu said, “As we conclude this very successful convention of our great party, I know that our opponents in PDP and other opposition parties are now sulking, wearing long faces of sadness, bewilderment and dismay.

“They had been hoping and praying to make a fortune out of our misfortunes. They were also hoping and praying to capitalise on assumed failures of our party to reap political benefits.”

Adamu, who emerged through a consensus arrangement after all the other six contestants were prevailed upon to step down, pleaded with all aspirants to “show maturity and good sportsmanship and accept the outcome of this convention with grace.”

He stressed that even though they did not achieve their ambitions at the convention, a good number of them would still serve the party and the country in several other positions of responsibility.

The APC national chairman said, “We are, however, satisfied that APC has fulfilled its covenant with the Nigerian people. Of the three main pillars of its promises to the Nigerian people in 2015, that is, security, economy and anti-corruption, much progress has been recorded in all three areas and many more.

“APC is set to do much, much more when Nigerians continue to bestow on us their love, support and confidence in next year’s general election.”

Adamu said no administration had the record of APC in the provision of critical infrastructure, which was hitherto considered impossible in the country. He listed such projects to include “the Second Niger Bridge, complete rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway, the Lagos-Ibadan express rail, the Abuja-Kaduna express light rail, the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline… “

Adamu took the oath of office and oath of allegiance at 12:22pm yesterday at an event witnessed by Buhari, Osinbajo, Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Attorney General the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubkar Malami, governors, and other members of the party.

He called on all aggrieved members of APC to put their differences aside and work for the interest of the party.

Adamu thanked the president and leaders of the party at all levels, as well as members of the party nationwide for electing them into offices of responsibility and promised to discharge his duty with diligence.

He said while he acknowledged the onerous responsibility that had been placed on their shoulders as an executive, they would work hard to ensure that expectations were met and the party was not disappointed.

To those, who lost in the contest, Adamu said, “I wish to also congratulate the great party men and women, who also aspired to occupy these national offices of our great party. They did not succeed this time but in God’s time, many of them will yet realise their ambitions to serve our party and country in many other positions of responsibility.

“As politicians, we are not strangers to gains, losses and disappointments with the outcome of every political contest. Let us show maturity and good sportsmanship and accept the outcome of this convention with grace. Our party needs all hands on the steering wheel so that together we can steer the ship of state through the inclement weather of our divisive national politics to the promised land.”

He charged APC members to renew their faith in the party and its leadership at all levels and remain patriotic.

On reconciliation, he said, “We need to commit to the resolution of our crisis within the confines of our party constitution. We must resist the temptation to blow every minor personal disagreement into a major party crisis. It is time for us to do things differently. When we quarrel, we open our flanks to our rival political parties that are only too eager to exploit them for their own benefit.

“I promise you here and now that we shall heal any wounds in our party; we shall effect lasting reconciliation among our members, and we shall go into the next general election as a strong and united party. I offer my hands of friendship to all our members. I want to assure you that my colleagues and myself will run an open-door policy to all members of the party.

“Together, let us rise and march towards the sunrise in our party and in our country. The time has come for us to show statesmanship to arrive at the new dawn. The time has come for us to be patriotic in words and deeds. The time has come for us to affirm our being the party of the people, for the people and by the people.”

He urged the media to address the tone, content, and standard of reporting, appealing to them to take a cue from the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Malam Abubakar Imam, Alhaji Alade Odunewu and other media pioneers, who upheld “the patriotic spirit of the founding fathers of their profession.”

Adamu, a founding member of PDP, two-term PDP governor of Nasarawa State, and secretary, Board of Trustees of the PDP, before emerging senator under the PDP, defected to the APC at the twilight of the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2014.

The new National Secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore, was also a PDP senator for Osun East from 2003 to 2011.

The list of politicians with PDP foundation in control at the APC NWC is long and include Festus Fuanter (Plateau State), Deputy National Secretary; Muazu Bawa Rjau (Niger State), National Vice Chairman, North-central; Mustapha Salihu (Adamawa State), National Vice Chairman, North-east; Barr Ahmed El-Marzuk (Katsina State), National Legal Adviser; Uguru Matthew Ofoka (Ebonyi State), National Treasurer; Senator Abubakar Maikafi (Bauchi State), National Auditor; Dr Betta Edu (Cross River State), National Women Leader; Barr F.N. Nwosu (Abia State), National Welfare Secretary; and Nze Chidi Duru (Anambra State), Deputy National Organising Secretary.

Jigawa State Governor and chairman of the convention committee, Bello Matawalle, said, five positions were contested out of the 35 national officers and only few on the zonal level, out of the whole 78 positions.

Almakura, Salihu Mustapha, Mohammed Etsu, Abdulaziz Yari, Sani Muhammed, and George Akume were the six chairmanship aspirants, who stepped down for Adamu after a consensus agreement was reached just hours before the convention proper.

Al-Makura: We Disappointed Naysayers, Enemies

Former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, said APC disappointed naysayers and put the enemies of the party to shame with the successful conduct of its national convention. Al-Makura, in a statement, congratulated Adamu, who emerged new national chairman of the party.

The statement said, “In displaying our first-rate problem-solving, dispute resolution, and organisational aptitude through a rancour-free and smooth national convention, our party has, once again, disappointed the naysayers and put the enemies of the party to shame.

“With the national convention done and dusted, I have no doubt that our great party is now well-repositioned and good to go into the 2023 elections with confidence, as I have no doubt that the new leadership has all it takes to navigate our party to victory in 2023 and beyond.”

Oyetola: Successful Outing is Proof We’ll Remain in Power Beyond 2023

Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, at the weekend, said the successful outcome of Saturday’s national convention of APC was proof that the party would remain in power beyond 2023. Oyetola was happy everything went well, despite negative expectations of pessimists

He expressed confidence in the ability of the new National Secretary of the party and representative of Osun State in the National Working committee (NWC), Senator Iyiola Omisore, to deliver, even as he congratulated the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

The Osun State governor, who said the peaceful conduct of the convention was a sign that the ruling party was united, formidable and remained indivisible, also held the view that Adamu would bring his wealth of experience to bear in the administration and management of the party’s affairs.

Oyetola, in a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ismail Omipidan, expressed confidence in the existing unity in APC. With this he said the party would remain in power beyond 2023, by the grace of God, and thanked Buhari for providing the right leadership.

The governor stated, “First of all, I must thank our leaders in the South-west for their support for our own Senator Iyiola Omisore. This is a great thing for us in Osun APC and I must thank other contestants for conceding and accepting to withdraw from the race.

“I commend them for the bold step, just as I assure them of our support in their time of need. I have no doubt in the capacity of Otunba Omisore to deliver and take our party to a greater level.

“As you can see, the peaceful atmosphere here and the seamless conduct of the convention, is a testimony to the strong unity that exists in our party. It is an attestation to the fact that we have our ways of resolving issues without necessarily resorting to conflict.

“Contrary to the negative expectations of some people, the convention went peacefully. The security operatives have done wonderfully well. I am really proud of what has happened today (Saturday). It is a sign that our party is united, formidable and remains indivisible.

“In achieving all these, I must personally commend the leadership quality provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, who always advocates harmony and peace in the party. It is natural to have disagreement, but what is important is the ability to have a workable mechanism to resolve any crisis without necessarily resorting to rancour.”

Expressing in confidence in the ability of Omisore to deliver and contribute to the growth of the party through his new position, the governor said Omisore would deploy his political sagacity, leadership qualities and experience, which he acquired in public and private sectors, towards building a virile and healthy party at the centre.

Sanwo-Olu Congratulates New Party Leadership

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, congratulated the newly elected national chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and other members of the NWC as well as zonal executives of the ruling party. Sanwo-Olu charged the Adamu-led NWC to work tirelessly with APC leaders and stakeholders to make the ruling party stronger for it to retain power in 2023 at the federal level and win more states in addition to the 22 states currently governed by the party.

The governor commended Buhari for his fatherly and leadership role in ensuring that that APC national and zonal executives emerged through a consensus arrangement. He noted that many aspirants, especially, the national chairmanship aspirants, stepped down, because of the respect they had for Buhari and other leaders of the party.

Sanwo-Olu, who was excited with the outcome of the convention, also commended the aspirants, who voluntarily stepped down for members of the NWC and zonal executives at the six geo-political zones to emerge through a consensus arrangement.

Sanwo-Olu, who was Chairman, Finance Committee for the APC National Convention, praised over 7,000 delegates from 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for participating in the convention.

He also congratulated the representatives of Lagos State in the National Working Committee (NWC), Mr. Dayo Israel, who was elected APC National Youth Leader as well as former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, who emerged South-west Zonal Organising Secretary.

The governor implored the new executives to work hard with APC national, zonal and state executives, as well as party leaders and members for victory of the ruling party in Lagos State, South-west and Nigeria, at large, during the 2023 general election.

Fayemi Rejoices With Adamu, Others, Lauds Buni on Successful Tenure

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, congratulated the newly elected national executives of APC under the chairmanship of former Nassarawa State Governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on their emergence at the party’s just concluded national convention.

Fayemi lauded the APC national caretaker committee headed by Yobe State Governor, Mai Malla Buni, for organising a successful national convention aimed at strengthening the party ahead of the 2023 general election.

In a statement shortly after the new executives were inaugurated, Fayemi said he was happy the party’s convention held successfully, despite initial anxieties, divergent interests and opinions of members over what they considered the best way moving forward.

He congratulated Adamu, the national Secretary, Omisore, and other elected NWC members, whose elections were ratified at the convention, and wished them success in the task of repositioning APC as the undisputable number one political party in the country with attendant electoral fortunes.

He urged the new national officers to look beyond the various opposition expressed by individuals or groups to their aspirations ahead of the convention, saying it is normal in any democratic setting. He urged the new executives to hit the ground running by reaching out to aggrieved party members and running an inclusive administration.

Lawan: Integrity, Experience Earned Adamu APC Chairmanship

President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, while congratulating Abdullahi Adamu on his emergence as the new national chairman of APC, said integrity and experience earned him the position.

Lawan, in a congratulatory message on Sunday, reiterated that Adamu’s victory at the national convention was a testimony to the tremendous respect he enjoyed across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity.

Lawan said, “I heartily congratulate His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on his emergence as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the just concluded National Convention of our great party.

“The unanimous affirmation of Senator Adamu’s candidature at the convention is a testimony to the tremendous respect that he enjoys across the polity for his integrity, experience and leadership capacity. I share this common belief in his suitability for piloting the affairs of our great party from this very important juncture.

“Senator Adamu’s antecedents as a political leader and astute administrator show that our party has made a great choice in his election as our National Chairman.”

The senate president also congratulated other members of the newly inaugurated NWC and zonal officers of the party on their elections and urged them all to do their best to deliver their mandates and live up to the great expectations of the teeming members of APC across and outside of Nigeria.

The senate president said the people of Yobe State were extremely proud of Buni for his achievements while he was chairman of the CECPC of the APC.

Gbajabiamila: We Remain One Big Family

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the way things turned out at the convention were proof the party remained one big family. Gbajabiamila said this while congratulating Adamu on his emergence as chairman at the party’s national convention on Saturday.

Gbajabiamila also congratulated other elected members of the party’s NWC, such as Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari; Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Emma Eneukwu; National Secretary, Otunba Iyiola Omisore and the six vice chairmen, among others.

The Speaker, in a congratulatory message, reiterated that Adamu’s emergence through a consensus arrangement proved that APC was one big family, where its members resolved their differences amicably.

He, however, tasked the new chairman and the other members of the NWC to put heads together to transform the party ahead of the 2023 general elections, He expressed optimism in the ability of Adamu and his NWC members to rally round APC members and other Nigerians to take the party to victory.

Yahaya Excited over Convention Outcome, Hails Buhari

Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, expressed excitement over the outcome of the party’s national convention, which elected former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, as National Chairman. Yahaya also hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for provided the much-needed leadership.

In a statement issued by his Director General, Press Affairs, Ismaila Uba Misilli, the governor also felicitated with other national and zonal officers of the APC, who were elected.

Inuwa, particularly, praised the leadership, direction, and guidance of Buhari, which, he said, facilitated the consensus arrangement that produced the leaders of APC.

The statement said, “The maturity displayed at the convention has demonstrated the spirit of unity of purpose and strong will of our members as well as indivisiblity of the force of our great party.

“Special appreciation must go to our leader and amiable President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for providing leadership and guidance that saw to the successful and rancour-free conduct of the convention.

The governor also praised the caretaker/extraordinary national convention planning committee, headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, for successfully superintending over the affairs of APC within the period of its stewardship and for strengthening unity, understanding and camaraderie among party faithful.

We’re Equal to the Task, Says Ganduje

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje said the party had the necessary capability to succeed in the conduct of its national convention. In a statement yesterday, Ganduje said the exercise had made the party more united and stronger.

“And we are sure we are equal to the task. It is also a great success if you look at the procedures followed in order to come up with this exercise. I know you are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari has advised us to go on consensus,” Ganduje said.

To effectively comply with Buhari’s advice, the governor said, “We undertook a lot of consensus in this exercise.”

He explained that in areas where consensus did not work, they had to go into election with all the proper procedures for election.

“You can see that they have counted votes and some announcements were made. Winners have already emerged as winners,” he said.

Ganduje appreciated that at the end of the exercise, “We have come up with a new brand of leadership.”

Your Chairman is Battling Alleged Corruption, Opposition Mocks

PDP, yesterday, mocked APC over its choice of Abdullahi Adamu as national chairman, saying he is battling corruption allegation. The opposition party said Adamu had been arraigned in court on a 149-count charge of alleged fraudulent award of contracts and stealing of public funds estimated at N15 billion.

PDP described the APC event as a convention of lies, celebration of illegality, corruption and arrogance in failure, adding that any leadership birthed through such process can only be overtly corrupt, debauch and illegal.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, PDP said it was clear that with the combination of the corrupt, deceitful and rudderless Buhari-led APC government and the illegitimate Adamu-led party leadership, corruption, economic hardship and rudderless movement in the APC government would worsen in the country in the remaining one year of the APC in government.

PDP said the composition of the APC national leadership was a clear confirmation that Buhari had never been committed to the fight against corruption as well as his willingness to further open the national vaults to ravenous treasury looters in APC.

It challenged members of the APC national leadership, particularly, Adamu, to come clean on corruption charges against them.

PDP stated, “The new APC chairman should inform Nigerians why he was not courageous enough to submit himself to trial at the Federal High Court, Lafia, Nasarawa State, rather than hide under technicalities. Senator Adamu should, therefore, come clean to Nigerians on the said case before parading himself as a saint.

“It is, therefore, pathetic to see Senator Adamu showboating on stage to impress his puppet master by attempting to denigrate other Nigerians and our great party, the PDP.

“Our party has only pity for Senator Adamu and does not intend to confer him an undue relevance with a response. Senator Adamu should, however, be conscious of the fact that time does not run against the state in criminal matters. He should, therefore, not have any illusion that being an APC chairman will avail him a perpetual cover.

“It was appalling to see APC leaders come out one after the other at their national jamboree to spew out lies and false performance claims on the economy, infrastructure and security even in the face of biting economic hardship, high cost of living, excruciating fuel emergency, lingering crisis in the education sector and escalated insecurity that was happening real time and simultaneously when the ridiculous claims of achievement were being made.

“Is it not shameful that while APC leaders were lying on stage in Abuja, terrorists were busy attacking the Kaduna International Airport, located in an APC-controlled state?”

The PDP, however, restated its cautions that the APC NWC did not have the legitimacy of office as the process that produced it under the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) remained unconstitutional and flawed.

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