President Muhammadu Buhari has again cautioned leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at both national and state levels against imposing unpopular candidates as the 2023 general election approaches.
The president gave the warning at the 11th meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
He also enjoined the leadership to always follow due process in all the party processes as well as to develop more mechanisms against corruption.
“I enjoin you all to follow due process in all the party processes and more importantly to develop more mechanisms against corruption.
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“I call on all party members to abide by all extant laws, rules, and regulations and to leaders of our party to avoid imposition of candidates that cannot win popular elections.
“This dictatorial behavior cost us many strategic seats in the past. In the recent past this led to some of our strong members unfortunately opting to go elsewhere because of unfairly oppressive behavior of party leaders at state level.
“I must caution strongly against any tendency towards developing cliques, in–fighting within the party.
“We want to win well not succumb to factions on account of personal acerbities and desire to retain control at all costs. That surely is not the road to win,’’ he said.
The president also told new members of the National Working Committee (NWC), which had been delegated powers of NEC for a period, to work towards keeping the party together by creating more room for discussions.
“There’s no time to develop differences among ourselves. We have no time for that,’’ he added
Buhari also warned of tougher security measures in restive parts of the country, review of operations and strategy, reassuring Nigerians that the efforts that resulted in relative peace in South-South, and rescuing of North-East from the hold of terrorists would be ramped up.
According to him, the major security challenges have remained in the North Central and North West, saying, “We are going to be very tough.’’
He added: “I will like us to reflect on what the situation was before we came in. How many Local Government Areas were under the control of terrorists in the North-East?
“In the South-South, we all know what the situation was; now we have relative peace. With the resources at our disposal, we have done very well.
“People are very forgetful. Our main problem now is in the North West and North Central. People are killing one another in these places, what for? We are going to be very tough.’’
On forthcoming general elections in 2023, Buhari urged party members to be more mindful of the pitfalls that led to the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
“The PDP thought that only time could remove them, and the time actually came. They thought it was impossible to lose elections,’’ he added.
He said the APC was formed by a merger of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), some members from All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP, which was a faction of the then ruling party.
“We put together a committee with clear terms of reference on how to remove the PDP from power. The PDP thought it wasn’t going to be possible. But it happened,’’ he said.