At the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, President Muhammadu declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.
Below are five takeaways from the president’s speech:
1. Why he is running for re-election:
President Buhari wants Nigerians to forget about what the opposition or critics of his leadership are saying. He said he took the decision to re-contest because he has to respond to “the clamour by Nigerians.” The president said he decided to make the announcement on Monday to give the APC NEC “the honour of notifying them first.”
2. Unity, Unity, Unity:
This was the summary of the president’s speech: Another election season is here, and it is crucial for the APC to go in as a united party in order to avoid defeat.
“It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits. Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division,” he said.
3. Congresses and convention must hold:
Buhari reiterated his position that the party needs to conduct congresses and a national convention to elect new leadership.
“I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.”
4. By law, members of the current executive are free to vie for reelection, but there is a hitch. Pres. Buhari pointed out the problem and suggested a solution:
“I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution. However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition.
Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.”
5. Buhari also asked the party to grant waivers to decampees into the APC from other parties:
“Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the Ward level whose tenures may have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties. This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above Waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times, and the journey that is ahead of us. Just like our party symbol; “the Broom,” which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the Grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitize Nigeria’s political environment.”