Halt planned defection from APC now, loyalists tell Buhari
A parliamentary Support Group working to promote President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 elections has asked the President to halt the reported plan by members of the National Assembly to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to other parties.
The group said President Buhari’s intervention would avert a repeat of what happened to the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the 2015 elections.
The group on Thursday night expressed concern that the in-fighting following the congresses and convention where some members were allegedly shut out from the exercise was yet to be resolved, a development the members said could portend danger for the APC.
But Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, has said that the Presidency was engaging with the members of the National Assembly, stressing that after the interaction, there would be a synergy and eventual consensus for a final resolutions.
Speaking when they visited the President on Thursday night at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the group spoke on how the APC should tackle the forthcoming 2019 general elections as a united family, to avoid the predicament of the then ruling PDP which culminated in its eventual defeat in 2015.
Chairman of the group and a member of the House of Representatives, Musa Sarkin Adar said: “We looked at the concerns within the country and the various political parties because election is approaching and we members of APC in the National Assembly felt that it was necessary to come and interface with Mr. President and the national chairman of the party to address issues and concerns raised by members across the federation.
“In each state of the federation, there are certain concerns and misgivings when the congresses were held from wards, to local government to state levels, there were so many discrepancies and issues that came up and people made a lot of complaints and they were not listened to.
As a result of that, some people thought that they would move out of the party and join another party.
“Others, even before that, have made up their minds they are going somewhere else and we feel it is necessary to come and inform the president that we are committed to remaining party members, but issues should be looked into and addressed properly so that all aggrieved members can be persuaded to remain together so that we can ensure victory for our party in the 2019 general elections.
“It is also to encourage the relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly to be cordial.
We know who caused all those frictions and we are trying as much as possible to make sure that such things do not happen again for the betterment of this country.
“From the experiences of the previous Assembly, which we were opportune to be members then, we know what happened and we know what it caused the country.
So, it is now a clarion call for us to rally behind the President and the need for us to also be listened to so that the issues of development of this country can be addressed.”
On President Buhari’s response, Adar said: “Very well and very fantastic.
We explained to him the idea of zonal intervention or what is called constituency projects, that it is not money given to us, but projects worth millions of naira that we should only site where it should be sited in our various constituencies and it is one of the most unifying factor of this country.
“Because it is one of the ways in which you can have a reflective performance of the government in certain areas.
For example, if you go to rural areas where there are no basic amenities such as water borehole, primary school or primary healthcare, before you take certain projects to them, it will be difficult.
“But these constituency projects that are allocated to us on the basis of where you come from and you select 1, 2, 3, 4 or whatever the money allocated to the project is given, then that is what your people will benefit from and as such, there is equitable distribution of infrastructure across the nation.”
Also speaking, the SGF, Boss Mustapha said: “Well it’s a very encouraging interface between the legislature and the executive.
Don’t forget that the National Assembly had an Open Week, throughout the course of this week, this is a continuation of that engagement and I believe that after this kind of interaction with different arms of government, we will be able to build synergy, build consensus on issues and find resolutions to them.
We are the party in government, the legislature is part of government; if the executive does not succeed, it will also rub off on the legislature.
So it is just a continuation of this dialogue that can afford us the chance to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people.”
Also, Abdulmumini Jibrin stated that the group was at the Presidential Villa to show solidarity to the President and encourage him to continue with the good work he was doing for the country as well as to discuss some issues concerning the APC.
On the rumours that there may be mass defection National Assembly members to the opposition and that the APC may lose the majority in the Assembly, Jibrin said it was part of the challenges associated with most ruling parties.
Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday said his decision to declare early for the 2019 Presidential election was to douse rising speculations and give the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) enough time to prepare for the polls.
President Buhari, who received members of the Buhari Support Group Centre (BSGC) at the State House, said he noticed that speculations were already constituting distraction to governance and stirring tensions, so he had to declare during the National Executive Committee meeting of the party.
“I had to announce before the National Executive Committee of our party about my intention to ask for the party’s nomination for next year’s election so that we can save a lot of time and cool tempers.
“A lot people were trying to make it a habit of being a nuisance to themselves and many Nigerians, so when I came out I said those who are serious let them come out.
According to the President, early declaration guaranteed more participation and inclusivity within the party, and further strengthened the bond with supporters and Nigerians.
“Some of the people thought to be uneducated and unsophisticated are very educated and sophisticated during elections; for those who have money to give they say bring the money we will still do what we want to do,’’ he added.
President Buhari noted that God’s Divine intervention and the use of technology during the 2015 elections exposed the weakness of previous processes where a privileged few sat and allocated figures to constituencies during elections.
“They just sit and look at a constituency and they award the numbers, then they say anybody who disagrees should go to court; now for somebody who is looking for the next meal where does he get money to pay Senior Advocates of Nigeria?
“Thank God for technology, with the PVC, you know where you registered and it can be shown whether you voted or not,’’ the President said.
He advised Nigerians to get their voters’ card for the 2019 elections, and ensure that they vote to please their conscience with pride as citizens.
The President commended the BSGC for all the sacrifice and steadfastness in championing his candidacy.
In his remarks, the Coordinator of the BSGC, Umaru Dembo, said “through thick and thin, rain or sunshine, hot or cold, we are here to assure Mr. President that since 2014 we have been working, expanding and helping to explain the new life that your government has ushered in for the good people of Nigeria.’’
He said the BSGC had initiated the documentation of the President’s achievements in a book authored by Dr. Sani Muktar Bichi and himself.
Dembo assured the President of a bottom-up process of mobilising more supporters for the administration, while appreciating him for reversing the trend of impunity, corruption and lawlessness that reigned before 2015.
Dembo said the BSGC was an umbrella organisation encompassing “Women for Buhari and Osinbajo’’, “A Kasaa Tsare’’, “Northern Youths Assembly,” “Buhari Renewal Mandate” and others in support of good governance in Nigeria.