To ensure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) remains dominant in the 2019 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari, last night, urged party members to bury the hatchet and work together.
According to him, the unity of purpose and commitment of party members gave the party victory is 2015.
He spoke at the opening of the APC National Caucus meeting at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President said: “I must heartily thank the party officials and members for the successes we have achieved in the 2015 elections in securing majority of the State Governors, majority in the National Assembly and majorities in the State Assemblies.
“We must remember that this resounding success would not have been achieved without the unity of purpose we exhibited in challenging and defeating an incumbent government.
“Those outstanding successes would not have been possible without your hard work, dedication, and above all, sacrifice. I wish to individually and collectively thank you all sincerely for believing in me and remaining steadfast party members despite distractions and antics of the opposition. This unity and success are needed now more than ever, because elections are now looming
“I must state at the outset that to succeed we must in all our actions and decisions follow strictly the constitution of our party. 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 $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 is no 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.
“I now turn to the party differences in various states. To this end, I have appointed a committee, headed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a leader of the Party, to reconcile differences in various states. We hope the committee will be given maximum support and cooperation to enable it to satisfactorily carry out its work and get the party united in purpose and in shape for the battles ahead.
“I am very much aware of opinions and criticisms about the pace of government. In particular, the delay in appointments to boards of parastatals. Many boards have been inaugurated so far.
“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 Centre.
“We should strictly follow the constitution of the Party in undertaking these party elections. We should ensure internal democracy and avoid short cuts and illegal maneuvers which have characterized 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.” He said
The President paid tribute to members and commended the APC leadership for its interest in getting the manifesto implemented in states and at the centre.
National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun said he fully supported the Asiwaju Peace Committee and “I encourage us to support the committee. The success of this committee will provide great impetus to the realisation of victory for the party in the elections.”
According to him, members should be truly proud of the achievements of our governments at all levels.