Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
President Muhammedu Buhari, has assured Nigerians that no amount of pressure, persuasion and clamour from his supporters will make him to attempt contesting for a third term in 2023.
Speaking at the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, he promised to abide by the constitutional stipulation on the tenure of an elected president.
He also pleaded with the party faithful to ensure that the ruling party fields the best candidate that will ensure that APC retains power after his exist, assuring that he will handover to whoever wins the election in 2023.
The president further warned the party members that history will not forgive them if the APC collapses after his exist, urging them to reposition themselves to dominate their constituencies.
Buhari, who arrived for the meeting around 3.15pm told the members that he could not afford to be reckless since he was not planning to contest the third term.
“At the meeting of the caucus, I made some comments which are still relevant here but to me, the most important is that every member of NEC should reposition themselves to make sure that you have dominated your constituency politically.
“The aim is that, as I mentioned on Thursday, history will not be fair to us out rightly if the APC collapses at the end of this term. History will be fair to us if the APC remained strong and not only holds the centre but makes gains.
“People will reflect with nostalgia that once upon a time, the builders of APC made a lot of sacrifices, worked very hard. The sacrifices are physical, material and moral to make sure that we maintain the leadership, politically of this system.
“This is what we should all aim at and ensure that our constituencies understand us and follow us to this great objective. The chairman has tried to mention our performance during the last series of elections, what happened in Imo, Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara are really unfortunate.
“I will like you to, in your constituencies, make sure that you read the Constitution of the party and understand it, and you stick to it. What we did for you the executive, NWC is bottom to top. You must make sure that people elected to be responsible for polling units to wards to local governments to states are respected in their respective constituencies.
“This is the only way we can make this party survive, this is the only way history will be kind to us that we have led with absolute concern for the country and for the people.
“If for any other reason, you divide the party, at any constituency and it causes failure, then be prepared that history will not recognise you as a leader at any level at anytime.
“I said we should read the Constitution because I will not make the mistake of attempting to have a third term or whatever term. Besides the age, I swore by the Holy book that I believe in that I will go by the Constitution and the Constitution says two terms.
“I know that I am in my last term and I can afford to be reckless because I know I will not be asking for anybody’s vote. For that reason, I want you to read the Constitution.
“I want you to read the constitution. I made sure that when the constitution says the election as we did it the last time will start in 18 months time or 20 months time, it is going to be done.
“Anybody who fails to maintain the respect of his constituents and is thrown out, it is his problem. Like the chairman has said, all those who left us to the Upper House, none of them was voted by his constituents. You want to take our people for granted but they know what they are doing.
“Every member of NEC from today should reposition himself or herself to make sure that you have dominated your constituencies politically,” he said.
Speaking further on the healthy relationship with the National Assembly, he said: On “the executive relationship with the legislature, the National Assembly, I was constrained to tell you that there was a time I called the Senate president and the leader of the House and told them that to sit on a budget for seven months is not politics and it is not hurting he president, whoever it is, it is not hurting the person but the country.
“For that reason I was pleased to mention that the 9th National Assembly … you can see and read it in the papers, they have so much commitment on important issues and we make a lot of progress.
“This relationship we will try and maintain, we cannot let some of the things go public but I assure you that we have made a lot of progress,” he said.
Among those in attendance at the meeting included former interim National Chairman of APC, Bisi Akande; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wade, Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya; Deputy Senate Leader, Prof. Ajayi Borrofice; Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and Deputy Senate Whip, Sabi Abdullahi.
Others were governors of Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule; Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Borno; Prof. Babagana Zulum; Kogi, Yahaya Bello; Katsina, Aminu Masari; Edo, Godwin Obaseki; Ondo, Rotimi Aksredolu; Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi, Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru, etc.
On the roll for attendance were the suspended Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua and also the suspended Deputy National Chairman North, Lawal Shuiabu.