By Bolaji Ogundele, and From Jide Orintunsin, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) subscribes to free, fair and credible elections, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday.
He said the ruling party lost some states in the last general elections because of its tolerance and respect for individuals.
The President spoke while receiving governors Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers) and Matawalle (Zamfara) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ayade and Bello Matawalle recently dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling party.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President said the ruling party has respect for Nigerians, hence its subscription free and fair polls.
Ayade and Matawalle were accompanied by Yobe Governor who is APC’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni; Kebbi State Governor who is Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Chairman, Atiku Bagudu and Jigawa State Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar.
Presenting APC flags to the two governors, President Buhari said: “This is one of the happiest times for us in this party. For you to have the courage to leave your constituencies speak a lot. I wish Nigerians will reflect about it.
”I congratulate you for leaving your constituencies for our great party. We lost many states at the last election, which is unusual for a ruling party. But we did it to prove that we are a tolerant group. We wanted to demonstrate that we respect individuals.
“We emphasized that we respect our people. That was why we insisted on free and fair elections. Leaders should show honesty and respect for their followers.”
Stressing the importance of Ayade and Matawalle membership of the ruling party, the President said: “To be principled and identify your objectives is a great quality that should endear us to our people. Your people will respect you more for having the courage to come to APC at your own time. Nobody forced you, but you believe it is the best way to serve your people. I value your decision.”
Buni said his colleagues joined APC in appreciation of the good works the President was doing for the country.
Party’s kick-off July 31
The All Progressives Congress (APC) will kick-off its congresses at the wards on July 31, its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Chairman Mai Mala Buni announced yesterday.
He said the local governments and states would follow in that other.
Buni who is the Yobe State governor, said the congresses were shifted by one week because the initial dates clashed with Sallah festivities.
The APC chair announced the new date in a letter with reference number APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/021/40 dated 11th July 2021 to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The letter, which was signed by the Buni and CECPC Secretary Senator John James Akpanudoehede, notified the electoral body that the party’s congresses will now commence on July 31.
The letter reads: “Further to our letter referenced APC/NHDOINEC/19/021/39 dated 6th July 2021 on the above subject, we write to please inform you that the congresses will now commence on 31st July 2021 starting with the ward congress, local government and state congress will follow sequentially upon the completion of the ward congress.”
The CECPC has scheduled meeting for today to ratify dates for other congresses and propose a date for the national convention, which will be conveyed to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.
The party had on July 6 informed the INEC of its intention to shift the timeline for the conduct of its congresses and national convention.
According to timetable, the party fixed sale of nomination form for ward congress for July 1 to 7 and the inauguration of ward/local government congress screening/screening appeal committees for July 10
The congresses were scheduled for July 24 (ward); July 14 (local governments) and July 18 (states).