President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his intention is coming because of clamors from Nigerians.
His media office, in a statement, said while addressing a closed-door meeting of the national executive council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) NEC on Monday, that Buhari gave the reason behind his decision.
“The President said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first,” Garba Shehu, his media assistant, said in the terse statement.
Shortly before making the declaration, the president presented a speech on the report submitted by the APC national executive technical committee.
Below are Buhari’s remarks to the committee.
I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important meeting in the affairs of our party and our country. I want to specifically thank members of the Technical Committee for a job well done within the limited time frame.
It shows a great sense of commitment to the ideals of our party with a view to consolidating and positioning the party to continue delivering good governance in the overall interest of Nigerians.
With the present state of the party and based on the report submitted by the Technical Committee, It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits.
Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division.
Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.
I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution.
However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition.
Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.
Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the Ward level whose tenures may have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties. This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above Waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times, and the journey that is ahead of us.
Just like our party symbol, “the Broom,” which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the Grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitize Nigeria’s political environment.
Once again, I welcome you all to this meeting with the hope that we will, in our deliberations today, conduct ourselves without rancour and promote the highest interest of the party and the nation.