By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that those who defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to other political parties were the selfish, corrupt and weakest members who could not align with the vision of his administration.
President Buhari stated this while accepting the Expression of Interest and Nomination Form to contest the 2019 Presidential election on the platform of the APC from a political group known as Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network, NCAN, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
President Buhari who expressed pleasure for being honoured by the group made up of youths from different parts of the country said that the vision to rescue the country started in 2002, adding that the country reached a hopeless state in 2006, hence he decided to contest for the Presidential position in 2007.
He said he was moved by the state of hopeless in the country where selfish interest of elected leaders superceded national interest, stressing that the 2007 election in the country was a disgrace.
He said, “Our political journey started as far back as 2002, when the country was still recovering from the Military rule.
“Although the country was united to protect its democracy, majority of Nigerians in the government did focus on addressing the challenges of the average Nigerian man and woman.
“I recall some of you in this hall visiting me in Kaduna, to demand that l come out of my second retirement to participate in politics. At that time, resources were being looted, the future of our children and their children was bleak. I was a bit reluctant, to be honest.
“So, naturally in 2002, l was reluctant to come out of my second retirement to participate in the election.
“However, the arguments being put forward then was very compelling. So, we worked hard and formed a credible opposition. Nigerians voted and by the time the results came out, we had lost by 12 million votes. We fought in the courts for over two years, finally, the Supreme Court ruling did not support us.
“In 2006; many, including some of you met again in Kaduna. This time, it was clear for all to see. The country was getting worse. We came out again. When the 2007 results came out, we were told that we lost by 18 million votes. This election was nothing but a disgrace . It was called a charade. Again, we decided to do the right thing, we went to court.
“In the 2011 election, things got a bit better. We only lost by 10 million votes. However, many Nigerians had lost hope. By 2014; Nigeria, regarded as the largest economy in Africa by the GDP could not protect itself nor feed itself. It got to a state where government was borrowing to pay salaries, despite the record breaking oil revenue.
“Whether it was by design or through divine intervention, the Permanent Voter Card, PVC, was deployed to conduct that election. The PVC became the savior of Nigerians. Finally the people’s voices could be heard through the ballot box and the journey that started in 2002, became a reality.
“We are decisively addressing the security challenges in the north east.
“On infrastructure development, we are completing work on the railways and building new ones, we are reviving power projects. We developing affordable housing projects across the country.
“Our fight against corruption is also yielding results. Corruption has been fighting back both from within and outside but we held our ground.
“We now have a party of strong and patriotic individuals who are ready , willing and able to continue on this journey to building a strong, secure and corruption free Nigeria.”
He expressed happiness that the youths could appreciate the efforts of his administration, describing them as patriotic Nigerians comprising of three million members.
He also said that his achievements over the past three years had not been easy.
The corrupt, selfish have left APC
“Today, I am pleased to say the weakest amongst us those whose selfish expectations did not align with our patriotic zeal had exited our party.
“We are now a party of strong and patriotic individuals who are ready, willing and able to continue on this journey of building, secured, self- sufficient and corruption-free Nigeria.
“I am honoured today to receive this nomination form which your members from all over the country contributed to buy.
“It is a gesture from an association of patriotic Nigerians which I was made to believe comprises of over three million members which believed in our principle of bringing positive things to Nigeria.
He listed his achievements in office to include completed rail project and new ones under construction, government support for farmers, including the rehabilitation of fertilizer plants, introduction of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which he said has reduce stealing in public service as well as provision of jobs and cash for the most vulnerable Nigerians
Deputy Chairman of NCAN, Chuckwuemeka Nwajiuba, in his opening remarks, said the group that purchased the Expression of Interest Form for President was made up of three million Nigerians, some he said contributed as little as N68 to purchase the form after a triple A assessment of the performance of the President.
Nwajiuba said NCAN was a network of young Nigerians in various fields of endeavor who following the assumption of office of the Buhari’s administration, got together to make a conscious effort to keep tab of the policies, programs and projects of this administration, with a view to making an informed contribution towards the growth of a virile and stable country, that we all can be proud of.
He said that the group consists of mainly young persons in different and varying professions and occupation and that they have seen the dogged seriousness and focus with which despite all the challenges, the administration has delivered and continues to deliver on its promises, and other matters arising in the course of governance.
He said, “From the massive reestablishment of security of life and property by reclaiming the territorial integrity of our country even in the face of threat from within, to the redirection and strengthening of our economy, by increased productive capacity in agriculture and financial prudence even in the face of an almost negaive balance sheet in 2015, and massive infrastructural development, whilst growing our reserves.
“He has also reined in systemic corruption by firmly enforcing even erstwhile policies, which no one had the courage or the strength of character to enforce, be it the TSA, the IPPSA, the EGP, the operating freedom of law enforcement, in dutiful compliance with the laws of our land. The list is endless.
“Nigerians for the first time in many years could see a leader who painstakingly took decisions solely on the bases of national interest, above his or anyone else’s. A leader who belongs to all and behooving to our country and to God only, who in HIS infinite mercy brought our president back from the brink of death and restored him to strength and vigor.
“These Ambassadors whose network seeks to consolidate these gains and engrain this focus, then decided to contribute their intellect, and little earnings towards ensuring that our president is encouraged to continue this service, being as is now apparent the real beneficiaries of all the toil and tenacity of purpose that now radiates from this leader, in spite of the hue and cry from a vociferous few whose strangle hold on our commonwealth has become somewhat dislodged.
“It is on account of the resolve of these ambassadors that they proceeded to obtain the nomination form for the president from the All Progressives Congress, to encourage Mr. President to seek to be re-elected for another term to help consolidate the work he is doing.”
“Please let us re-dedicate ourselves to the service of this beautiful nation of ours and bring all our heart, intellect and character to impact its governance and people.”