Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday expressed confidence that he’ll win the February 16 presidential election.
This is coming as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has explained why the governors were absent at the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 election.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting before it went into closed doors, the President said: “I would like to appeal to you to dedicate and commit yourself once again to the task at hand. There is no doubt that victory is with us; it is ours, but that shouldn’t mean we should rest even for a moment.
“Even though we are confident of winning, I urge you to work as hard as you can so that we can maximise the scale and extent of our victory.”
He charged the council members which included Bola Tinubu, the co-chairman of the campaign council, and Rotimi Amaechi, the director general of the campaign to ensure they delivered success to the party.
President Buhari said: “I urge you to rise to the challenge of the great expectations this party and Nigerians have for you – and the confidence that I personally have in the ability of all of you to deliver.
“Needless to add, your selection was not easy, because in forming this council, the party settled only for the best.
“You are the cream of the party and I assure you that with the unity of purpose and effective harmony and communication, there is no political opponent you cannot overcome.”
Speaking on why governors who are to serve as state coordinators in their respective states were conspicuously absent at the inaugural meeting, Oshiomhole, said they were busy campaigning as well as carrying out the business of governance.
Asked why the governors were absent Oshiomhole said: “Because they are governors, they are governing their states. Don’t forget that elections are not defined in Abuja, it will take place in the 36 states and I’m sure there are APC members who are campaigning for the House of Assembly, various federal house and senate constituencies, governorship constituencies. So it will not be helpful to bring them to Abuja. Here, it is about policies; it will be consummated and translated to practice across the 36 states, 774 local governments and wards.”
He reiterated that the elections would be on the difference between 16 years misrule and three and a half years of change.
“The key issue was to go through the programme of activities, calendar of campaigns, various interests group within the country, the business community, the youths, women, people with disabilities and various special interests groups.
“The whole country is Mr. President’s constituency; so he will have to visit each of the 36 states with appropriate message reminding people always. You know in the country today, given the challenges of survival, people tend to forget where we are coming from, they just look at where we are. There is a saying that except you know and remember where you are coming from, you cannot appreciate where you are. Even in the life of a man those who look at those in their front will never thank God enough but when you look at your back and see those behind then you will appreciate that you have made a lot of progress.
“So you need to constantly remind Nigerians of what happened in the last 16 years and what has changed over the past three and half years, and what will change even more over the next four years if given the mandate to continue to consolidate. You know that the business of construction is even much more challenging than when you are building a complete new house. So when you are saddled with the responsibility of repositioning an economy that has been so battered even in the face of surplus budgeting and the government was borrowing money. If you look at budget of five, ten years ago, you will find that almost the entire earnings of the government went into the current expenditure which is why this government with lower revenue is spending more on infrastructure.
“So we think that we have enough message; the issue is how to communicate it knowing that the level of literacy varies from area to area. And in this business of one-man-one-vote, whether you are a professor of Economics or a stark illiterate, the vote is the same. So the challenge in terms of messages is how to make sure that Mr. President’s constituents which are those who are economically and socially deprived, the masses of our people, the one you call talakas,that we assist them to recognise where we coming from and the fact that for once we have a president that nobody can call him a thief.”
In his remarks, the former senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said that the ruling party is poised to win the February 16 presidential election.
Akpabio, who was governor for eight years and senate minority leader on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also said that his former party had nothing to campaign with except criticism.
He said: “I will say that APC is very poised not just to undertake very smooth and scintillating and enjoyable campaign but also very poised to win the next election.
“We have very few weeks to the general elections, first the presidential election and we are quite ready. As you are aware, so far so good; we are running on the basis of our first term performance.
“The achievements of Mr. President are all there for people to see and I think the entire country is quite excited quite unlike our colleagues in the PDP who do not seem to have anything except to criticise, attempt to run campaigns of calumny and false accusations against us in the APC.
“Today (Thursday) we are meeting to re-strategise and conclude, dot the i’s and cross the t’s in the campaign structure so that we can come out with not just a formidable campaigns across the country but also sensitive our people in terms of voter education; we are ready for it.”