Concern has started in All Progressives Congress (APC) on how to move the party forward ahead of its National Convention billed for February 2022. As a result, National Chairmanship aspirants will be storming Abuja on Thursday to map out strategies of moving the party forward in preparation for the 2023 general elections.
This is developing as the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) is urging President Muhammadu Buhari to make his promise on free and fair elections in 2023 a worthy legacy he can leave behind after his eight years in office.
President Buhari during a virtual summit for democracy organised by President Joe Biden of the United States on Friday assured Nigerians and the international community of free and fair elections in 2023, pledging peaceful transfer of power to another administration after his tenure.
Reacting to the pledge by the President on Sunday, CNPP in a statement by its Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu, said President Buhari should go beyond promises and pledges “and leave a legacy of free and fair elections.”
The CNPP, therefore, urged President Buhari to also “as a matter of unforgettable legacy, sign the electoral act amendments into law without fear or favour.”
“There are two remarkable legacies left behind by President Goodluck Jonathan: he signed the Freedom of Information Bill into law and conducted free and fair elections that saw an opposition party defeating a sitting President in Nigeria.
“Then President Jonathan went beyond that and conceded defeat even before the announcement of the final results of the presidential election in which he was a major and interested actor in, being a sitting President.
“The world will always stand at attention for a true leader with a democratic heart who is ready at all times to remain on the part of rule of law, justice and equity.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to be such a leader in the remaining days of his tenure and give Nigerians credible, free and fair elections in 2023. This call has become necessary in view of the fact that all promises made by APC and their presidential candidate during the 2015 and 2019 electioneering campaigns were not kept.
“For instance, today, Nigerians and the international communities, including the government of the United Kingdom, have been urging President Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act 2021 into law.
“His foot-dragging attitude and the body language of the presidency cast doubt on the sincerity of Mr. President to keep his promises on free and fair elections in the country.
“It is also about time Nigerians saw electoral offenders in jail for their roles in violating the sanctity of the electoral process or for altering the will of the people during elections”, CNPP said.
In the meantime, among the APC chairmanship aspirants are, former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha, former governor of Nasarawa State Senator Tanko Almakura, former governor of Borno State Senator Alimodu Sheriff, current Senator representing Niger East Mohammed Sani Musa, former governor of Zamfara State Abdulaziz Yari and former governor of Bauchi State Isa Yuguda.
Others include; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs Senator George Akume, Sunny Moniedafe, former Borno governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, former Gombe State governor, Senator Danjuma Goje and Mohammed Saidu Etsu
In a statement by the Chairman of the Annual Public Lecture Summit, Babatunde Ayeni, a prominent chieftain of the party and Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu, will deliver a keynote paper titled: “APC Beyond 2023: The tasks ahead – The Role of Stakeholders.”
The event slated for December 16, 2021, will be chaired by the Chairman, Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), and Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni.
The maiden edition of the summit was held in December 2020 with the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman as the guest speaker.
Ayeni said the annual public lecture summit, with the theme “….Towards Ensuring Enduring Democracy”, is a platform designed by the APC Press Corps to contribute to the intellectual development of the nation’s democracy.
Ayeni said: “The summit aims at providing workable templates for good governance and serves as a medium for deepening democratic norms and institutions by engaging key players in politics, public administration, academia, and economy.
“Reports and suggestions on the lecture will be made available to the party and interested members of the public.
“The National Chairman, Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni will be the Chairman of the occasion’’, adding that this year’s edition of the summit is designed to avail all the national chairmanship aspirants opportunity to share their views, present their plans and programmes on how to move the party forward even as contenders in the forthcoming National Convention slated for February 2022.