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Buhari To APC Governor, Nigerians: I Won’t Interfere In 2023 Elections, Will Replicate Ekiti, Osun, Anambra Polls

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For the umpteenth time, President Muhammadu Buhari assured Nigerians that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would continue to bequeath strong political institutions that reflect their choices, through non-interference in elections, citing outcome of polls in Ekiti, Anambra and Osun states as indicators.

The president, who received members of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) led by the Chairman and Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, at the State House Tuesday, said “non-interference in elections gives credence to the political process, ensures participation and inclusiveness, and shows that the governing party respects the electorate.”

The president said the APC, under his leadership, would continue to respect Nigerians by ensuring that their votes count and the people’s voice matter in choosing political leaders at different levels.

“I want Nigerians to know that we respect them, and for us to show that we will allow them to vote who they want. We all witnessed what happened in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. What happened in those states gives me a lot of hope that we are succeeding,” he said.

The president said the federal government would also ensure Nigerians don’t get intimidated or humiliated by those in positions, or the more privileged.

“We will not allow anyone to use personal resources or their influence to intimidate other Nigerians. We will not allow intimidations materially, morally or physically. This is the kind of leadership that can emerge and consolidate our nation.

“In six months, Nigerians will appreciate the government of APC that we are sincere and we respect them,’’ he said.

He urged the party’s political leaders to intensity efforts in “thinking, meeting and strategising for the 2023 elections.’’

PGF chair Bagudu

In his remarks, Governor Bagudu, who chairs the PGF, thanked the president for his leadership, guided by wisdom and foresight, saying the Nigerian economy had been growing in spite of challenges.

“We want to congratulate you on the positive trajectory of the economy, with the 3.5 per cent growth in the second quarter, up from 3.1 per cent of the first quarter of this year. Infrastructure projects are ongoing in parts of the country, and the social intervention programme is expanding,’’ Bagudu said.

The governor said the growth trajectory had defied initial predictions of some multilateral institutions, affirming that the World Bank and others had acknowledged the resilience of the economy, and reviewed their positions.

“Your Excellency, as we speak, there is drought in Europe and China. The Ukraine-Russia war is taking a toll on economies. In the UK, there is rationing of electricity, and energy shortages in China.

“While other countries are banning food export, we are preparing for more production, in spite of floods in places like Jigawa State. We note your instruction for the release of 40,000 tonnes of grains.

“We also note efforts on improving security and measures to cut oil theft,’’ he said.

The PGF chairman told the president that some APC governors were contesting elections for second term in 2023 with impressive records in their first term.

“We note the pronouncement of ASUU. We recall the appeal of the President to ASUU while we were visiting Daura that they should consider the future of students.

“We will not dwell on that now. We are ready to accept any negotiations for resolution,’’ he said.

The Kebbi state governor commended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, for their steadfastness and stewardship.

We need to act fast – Osinbajo

In a related development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform that there was need to act fast on the country’s economy and the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Osinbajo said this Tuesday when he received the APC governors in his office at the Presidential Villa.

They were on a felicitation visit to the VP currently recuperating from the surgery done last month.

“We all need to work together on these critical issues. We need to think through things, and we need to do it fast,” he said.

The vice president and the governors agreed to further engage on the economy, ASUU strike and other pressing issues with a view to bringing urgent resolution for the benefit of the Nigerian people.

While welcoming the governors, Osinbajo expressed his appreciation for the visit and the good wishes.

He commended the expertise of Nigerian doctors and the availability of cutting-edge medical facilities existing in the country.

Osinbajo said “some Nigerian hospitals have world-class facilities but that doctors are restrained by regulations from advertising and as a result, many people are unaware of the quality medical services available locally.”

Present at the meeting were Governors Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state; Simon Lalong of Plateau state; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state; Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa state; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara; Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun ; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, and the deputy governor of Ebonyi state, Kelechi Igwe.

APC on Tinubu campaign council

Meanwhile, the APC National Working Committee (NWC) Tuesday denied reported frosty relationship between its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the party’s National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu over composition of campaign council.

The clarification is on the heels of media report that the ruling party hasn’t been able to unveil the full list of members of the Presidential Campaign Council as a result of power tussle between the duo.

Recently, Tinubu announced Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong and Minister of State Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN) as director general and spokesman of the campaign team respectively, a development competent party source said, “the APC NWC was taken into confidence before the formal announcement.”

But speaking with newsmen Tuesday evening in Abuja, APC Deputy National Organising Secretary Nze Chidi Duru dismissed insinuation that both Tinubu and Adamu were working at cross purposes.

Duru who confirmed that the announcement of Governor Lalong and Keyamo enjoyed the buy in of the party’s national secretariat, further maintained that both the Tinubu team and the party’s national secretariat were working together and would unveil the full list of members of the campaign council before the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) announced the flag-off for campaigns.

He said: “There is no power tussle over positions. None of such has happened and the party and the candidate are working together. But it is important to say that we agreed on DG and spokesman.

“The governors will control the structures at the zones. The party can’t be excluded and it won’t even exclude anybody. We will have an embracing and all inclusive campaign council. There is no discord anywhere. More importantly, the party chairman agreed on the issue of DG and spokesman.

“Before the INEC flag on September 28, all other positions will be unveiled. The chairman is leading the conversation.”

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