President Muhammadu Buhari has warned his party’s leadership, the All Progressives Congress (APC), of the consequences if they do not work together to project the party ahead of the 2023 general elections. Buhari stated that if the leaders and other party members do not work together, the APC will lose to the opposition.
The president spoke during a Nigerian Television Authority interview on Thursday (NTA).
Buhari also promised that those defecting from the opposition parties to the APC, who are facing corruption charges, would have their day in court.
He ruled out the possibility of a member of the party being forced into leadership.
The president issued the warning to his party’s leaders in response to a question about a leadership feud within the APC that was thought to be jeopardizing the party’s upcoming national convention, which had been scheduled for February.
Buhari said the APC should be structured bottom-up and linked his refusal to sign the recently passed Electoral Act Amendment Bill to the need to give people and political parties the power to choose the system that suits them.
According to him, the ruling party needs to implement a system that allows voters to choose their preferred candidate from polling units to wards, council areas, states, and finally national levels.
Read Also: Let Jonathan be, because the APC has a better presidential candidate in Buhari, the ex-SSA
“We have a timeframe within which we must work,” Buhari said, “because the four-year tenure is constitutional.” Nobody can get in the way of it. So, if the party is unable to reach an agreement, the opposition can take control. What was the PDP’s response? They claimed that the opposition could not unite, but when the ACN, ANPP, CPC, and APGA united, they were off; they are still off, as they can see.
“My position is simple, and I believe I succeeded in getting my point across in the sense that we start from the bottom up; from polling units to wards, local governments, states, and finally Abuja.” So, the party, because I’m concerned about my party, the party, will know their positions in all constituencies. As a result, when they arrive in Abuja, they are likely to collaborate.
“Abuja does not have a kingmaker, and no constituency is being dictated to.” In our party, all constituencies are expected to produce leadership. What other parties do is their business, but we want to make sure that our members know they are valued. It goes from the polling unit to the ward, to the local government, to the state, and finally to Abuja. So, those who want to be elected at any level should put in the effort. Nobody is going to make a decision.”
In response to allegations that opposition politicians facing corruption charges were defecting to the ruling party in the hope of receiving immunity from prosecution, Buhari stated that no corrupt politician would go free under his watch, even if they were members of his own party.
“I don’t like to accept that joining our party will weaken our commitment to accountability,” he said. We take people who aspire to lead at any level seriously, based on their performance and professional and personal integrity.
“However, the issue is that we must work within the system.” Even if you suspect individuals, there isn’t much we can do unless there is proof. So, in reality, it is the system that allows some people to become corrupt.
“They won’t be able to.” As far as I’m concerned, no one can get away with anything. Imagine what the opposition could do to me if there was something on my record; there could have been a lot of confusion, but fortunately, I believe we try to find officers with integrity, which is the best thing for Nigerian leadership at all levels.
“Have integrity in your actions. We will get better results if this is done. If that isn’t done, a lot of time will be spent talking, arguing, and making a lot of noise.”
Buhari also spoke about the country’s security challenges. He expressed optimism, however, that the situation could be resolved before he leaves office, stating that security forces are working hard on it and that more equipment and ammunition are being procured.
“Yes, the government is capable and will do it,” the president said, “because members of the security, armed forces, and others, their own security is dependent on one Nigeria.” So, regardless, when people are selfish, they put themselves first. So, even for their own sake, they must stabilize Nigeria, and I am confident that they will.
Read Also: NYSC staff congratulate Director General Major General Shuiabu Ibrahim on his recent promotion
“I understand we’re short on funds. For example, if people think about how we found the Northeast and South-South, and how far we’ve come, they’ll see how difficult it is to deal with militants.”
He claimed that the government had purchased helicopters, planes, and armored vehicles, as well as their ammunition, to improve security across the country.
When asked how his age had affected his capacity as president, he said the pressures of office had been immense, but he couldn’t complain because he had asked to be elected.
He observed that many of his coworkers were now enjoying retirement and hoped to follow in their footsteps in the next 17 months when his term would come to an end.
“I believe COVID-19 has come to my rescue in the sense that the number of people who need to see you can’t see you,” Buhari said. I see my coworkers, who are now resting, and I assure you that I am looking forward to the next 17 months when I will be less busy as well.
“Age is catching up with me; working in an office for 6,7,8 hours a day is no joke.” Executive council memos from as many states as possible will be considered on a weekly basis. So, yes, it’s a lot of work, but I asked for it, and I can’t say no.”
“Yes, because, look, as you know, I have been a governor,” Buhari said when asked if he was willing to hand overpower. I’ve served as a minister and am currently serving my second term as president. So, I’ve gone through the system, and there’s nothing else I can do with this country.” I have given my all, and I hope that when I leave, Nigerians will reflect and, at the very least, express gratitude. I’m not expecting anything in return. But I’m hoping that Nigerians will acknowledge that this man has done his best. This is the highest level of expectation I have for Nigerians.
“Take a look at the current situation in the Southeast. How many police stations were robbed and weapons were taken away? We closed the border with Benin and the border with Niger as well. However, we had to accept the reality that the weapons came from our own arsenals, and that police stations had been attacked, among other things. So, the main issue is that I hope to leave a Nigeria that is more secure than it is now.”
In terms of fighting corruption, the president urged citizens to live within their means, stating that there would always be challenges if people tried to cut corners.
He also stated that power generation is critical to his administration’s success, and that the federal government is figuring out how to better utilize solar panels as an alternative to conventional power, which is costly and vulnerable to sabotage.