President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, met with stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The stakeholders were led to the meeting by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdulahi Adamu.
Addressing the APC delegation, the President said the unity, security and prosperity of the country would matter most to him, beyond his days in office as President.
President Buhari, who expressed delight that the APC was on course to achieving that desire, thanked the delegation for their “for the kind words on my role in processes leading to the emergence of our candidate, and his running mate, for the Presidential election in February, next year.”
‘‘I want to thank you all for the roles you played in the build-up, first to our national convention earlier this year, and later, to the primary elections.
‘‘You were all of one mind, wanting the best for the party, with the candidate emerging in a free and fair manner.
‘‘For us all, the cohesion and unity of the party was the first priority, and ambition was second. I am glad that you all saw the larger picture, rather than narrow, self-serving interests.’’
The President recalled that when the APC presidential running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, was presented to him recently, he had said he would reserve his comments till the handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, at the Eagle Square.
He stated: ‘‘I still maintain that same position”, as he lauded party members for acknowledging the many virtues that qualify the vice-presidential candidate for the noble position.
President Buhari expressed confidence that Shettima would not disappoint the party, and Nigerians at large.
He also commended the party for resolving to further mobilize more Nigerians, particularly youths, to register, and get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), saying ‘‘It is the way to go.’’
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the National Chairman of the party, the Chairman, the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Shettima, in separate remarks, expressed gratitude to the President for his exemplary leadership which has strengthened the party in the aftermath of the convention and primaries.
Adamu said: ‘‘Our main goal is to see the success of the APC in the forthcoming general elections. There’s no better parting gift than to ensure that the APC produces the next president.’’
Bagudu told the President that he had set a worthy precedence on internal democracy in political parties, saying: ‘‘Under pressure to dictate or suggest, you were determined that the democratic process should be given the opportunity to work and what we have seen is that democratic processes can produce very excellent results.
‘‘We have a presidential candidate and a running mate, whom we are all proud of.’’
Bagudu attributed the gradual return of normalcy to the North Eastern part of the country to the spirited interventions approved by the President, acknowledging the rise in agricultural activities and food production in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The vice presidential candidate reiterated the willingness of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and himself to serve Nigeria with justice, equity and fairness.
‘‘We want to solicit the support of the President once INEC lifts the ban on open-air campaigns and we want to latch on to your achievements and brand name to victory, and consolidate the leadership of the party”, he said.
The presidential flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, was absent just as governors of the APC from the South West.
Among the party stakeholders in the meeting were Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase, and presidential running mate of the party, Shettima.
Also present were some state governors elected under the party including Babagana Zulum (Borno); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa); Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); Mai Mala Buni (Yobe); former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, and fomer minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh.
In the meeting as well were the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; APC national officer, Emma Eneukwu, among others.