President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that the nation’s governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC), will continue to bequeath strong political institutions that reflect their choices, through non-interference in elections.
President Buhari cited the outcome of the polls in Ekiti, Anambra, and Osun States as indicators.
The President stated this when he received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, led by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, at the State House.
He said that “non-interference in elections gives credence to the political process, ensures participation and inclusiveness, and shows that the governing party respects the electorate.”
President Buhari said under his leadership, the APC would continue to respect Nigerians by ensuring that their votes count and the people’s voice matter in choosing political leaders at different levels.
He said; “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.’’
For the forthcoming 2023 elections, President Buhari said “the government will also ensure that 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 intimidation 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.”
President Buhari urged the party’s political leaders to intensify efforts in “thinking, meeting and strategising for the 2023 elections.’’
The Chairman of the PGF, Atiku Bagudu, thanked the President for his leadership, guided by wisdom and foresight, affirming that the Nigerian economy had been growing, despite challenges.
Bagudu said; “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 in the first quarter of this year. Infrastructure projects are ongoing in parts of the country, and the social intervention programme is expanding.”
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.
He said; “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, despite 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.’’
The PGF Chairman told the President that some APC Governors were contesting elections for a second term in 2023 with impressive records in their first term.
He said; “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.’’
The Kebbi State Governor commended the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, for their steadfastness and stewardship.