President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday informed the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to commence preparation ahead of the 2019 elections following the release of the timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Buhari made the call in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the party’s national caucus meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
PHOTOS: APC Caucus Meeting ongoing at the State House. President @MBuhari presiding. Vice President @ProfOsinbajo, @APCNigeria Chairman John Odigie Oyegun, Speaker @YakubDogara, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, State Governors, Ministers, and others in attendance. #AsoVillaToday pic.twitter.com/OgRCeE9wov
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) February 26, 2018
The president, while advising the party leadership to avoid what he called “illegal manoeuvres” in picking the party’s candidates at all levels for the 2019 elections, also aimed a thinly veiled dig at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He urged them to ensure internal democracy and avoid shortcuts which he said had characterised the opposition party and had left it divided.
He said, “Now that INEC has come out with the timetable for elections in 2019, the party should prepare itself for congresses at wards, local governments, states and the centre.
“We should strictly follow the constitution of the party in undertaking these party elections. We should ensure internal democracy and avoid shortcuts and illegal manoeuvres which have characterised the opposition party with the consequences that they are now divided.
“The APC has a history of conducting free and fair primaries whenever consensus about any candidacy is not reached.
“Regardless of the outcomes of the primary processes, it is imperative that we all work together to ensure the victory of our party.”
The president then blasted the former ruling party, PDP, for presiding over the looting of the nation’s resources saying:
He continued: “It is easy to forget that we succeeded a government with a record of unprecedented theft and systematic mismanagement.
“Nigeria was fast heading for a state of collapse. It is easy to forget the fuel subsidy fraud, arms fund diversion, depleted excess de Account savings, depleted foreign reserves, massive unpaid debts to contractors and suppliers amidst failure to invest or even maintain our infrastructure namely railways, roads, electricity, in spite of having earned over US$500 billion from Oil & Gas alone, during the 16 years of PDP rule.“Lest we forget, we must always remind ourselves of the dire situation in which we came to office.
“Therefore we must not be shy in projecting our tremendous achievements from 2015 to date. The territorial integrity of Nigeria longer under threat.
“A number of security challenges still exist, but they exist in even the most well policed and well-secured countries.
“I am confident that the measures we are taking will tackle the acts of rural banditry, herdsmen/farmers conflicts, communal clashes, kidnappings and other crimes.”