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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

APC to Jonathan: Come, Join Us



Chief Bisi Akande,

•Masari heads committee on party  structures
•Congresses, convention may hold December 
•Buhari: We’ll displace PDP in 2015

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and John Shiklam 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Tuesday invited President Goodluck Jonathan to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and join the progressive fold.
APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, extended the invitation to the president on Tuesday  in Abuja at the inaugural meeting of the Interim National Executive Committee of the party.

He said the APC was ready to confer its membership on any Nigerian that is ready to identify with the party.
As part of efforts towards strengthening the party, a former House of Representatives Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Masari, has been appointed to chair a nine-member committee to advise the interim national leadership on how to set up structures in all parts of the country.
The APC is also considering holding its congresses and convention by December to elect those who will run various strata of the party.
Also, a chieftain of the party and former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has assured the people that the APC will defeat the ruling PDP in 2015 to give Nigerians a new lease of life.

On who will fly the party’s presidential flag in the 2015 general election, Akande said APC could not be stampeded on the issue until the party's national convention likely to hold in December.

He said the task of the Masari committee would be to advise on how to organise congresses at the ward and state levels of the party.
“Our duty is to organise party congresses from ward level to local and state levels and at the national level to hold the convention to establish a proper structure for the APC. Until the congresses and convention are done, we are having party leadership in the interim.
"We are trying to build our foundation from bottom to the top and not from the top to down and we have had some talks about possible names of APC presidential candidates, but that is not true, we have not reached that stage.

"Our major preoccupation is to set up the structure of our party. Until after November or December when we hold our national convention, where our national executive will be elected, there is no idea about who becomes our presidential candidate, flag bearer, governor or anything," he said.

However, he added that the only exception would be Anambra State where a committee was already working out modalities for nominating candidate of the party for the November 16 governorship election.
He confirmed that there is going to be congresses for members in Anambra State soon to enable them decide who would be the party’s candidate in the November poll.

"At today's (yesterday) meeting, we have set up several committees to advise us on how to go about our affairs and most especially the elections in some states like Anambra and Delta States and local government elections in states such as Kwara, Anambra and Cross River. 

"The committee is to proffer strategies on how APC can contest and win elections in these places. You know political parties are in politics to win elections.
"We are also expected to hold our national convention in November and December and it is only after that that we can talk about the issue of the flag bearer or the presidential candidate," Akande added.

According to him, the outcome of the committee’s report would determine how and when to inaugurate these structures.
On the pending court case by a rival political group, he said nothing would alter the fact that APC had been registered, adding that the party has come to stay.

"In Nigeria today, we do not know any other APC apart from the All Progressives Congress and we do not contemplate anything and nothing will happen to move this APC out of place. We remain a party and we shall remain a party forever to rule this country," he said.
He said APC was no longer new being an amalgam of old parties and so it would not face any challenge in contesting the 2015 elections.

"In doing so, the only thing we feel is creating some misunderstanding is that people are anxious to be part of APC but because the party has never given a directive, some people were just talking on behalf of the party without authority.  We are putting a stop to that.
"Any statement about APC should emanate from the office of the party's publicity secretary and what he says reflects the true position and mind of the party.  We are warning all people who are arrogating to themselves chairmanship of APC in the states and local government areas to desist from doing so because they are unauthorised. 

"All those who are printing forms and calling rallies in the name of APC are also not authorised to do so,” he said.
He said the supporters should exercise patience until the constitution of party structures so that authority could flow down to every level.
On what the emergence of APC portends for the polity, Akande said Nigeria has by that singular act made progress in the democratic process.
"I think that the country is making progress. No matter what anybody thinks, even our enemies believe that a two-party system deepens democracy better and if we do not contribute anything to the deepening of democracy in this country, we have championed the possibility of giving Nigerians a two-party system in a democracy,” he added.

At another forum yesterday, APC chieftain, Buhari, said the party was determined to push the PDP out of power in 2015.
According to him, the APC would give Nigerians a new life and hope.

Buhari, who spoke at his Kaduna office when he received members of Democratic Emancipation Movement (DEM) who visited him, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registering the APC.
He however declined to make any categorical statement on his presidential ambition in 2015, saying his decision would be tied to the constitution of the APC.

"If the party chooses me as its candidate, I will contest; if they do not consider me, I will not contest, but I will still support the party. My decision to run for 2015 will solely be the party’s decision," he said.

Speaking on the merger of political parties that formed the APC, Buhari said the talks about merger began since 2007.
"This is because we found out that none of the opposition parties can challenge PDP successfully. But if we come together with those that have representation at the National Assembly and the Houses of the Assemblies and go back to sensitise our constituencies, even if the PDP wants to rig, they would find it impossible to rig.

“I discovered that by being so divisive, we made ourselves very vulnerable. So, the best way to survive and for this country to stabilise, we just have to come together and I believe along the line we made the necessary sacrifices,” he said.

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