Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday turned out en masse to vote in the presidential primary election across the 36 states of the federation.
Despite the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is the sole aspirant of the APC, party members nationwide were said to have trooped to their respective ward polling units as early as 7am to vote for his candidacy, with some of them declaring that they were “very eager” to participate in the open ballot system of voting.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC had adopted direct mode for the presidential primary of the party and adopted indirect mode for the gubernatorial primary in some states including Rivers.
The decision of NEC on indirect primaries was last Tuesday endorsed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.
Our correspondents who visited some of the polling units in their respective states yesterday report that voting took place in an orderly manner, amidst tight security.
In Kasina State, members of APC in Daura, the home town of the president, thronged the polling units to vote for him.
Organising secretary of the APC in the Northwest zone, Alhaji Abdulmanaf Daura, commended the APC members for the large turnout, in spite of the ongoing industrial action declared by labour on Thursday.
“The massive turnout is an indication that the people believe in the ideals of the ruling party; it shows that our mass appeal is intact,” he said.
Also, Katsina State commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Alhaji Ahmed Elmourzouq, said the election was a direct one involving all members of the party.
The commissioner noted that he was particularly impressed with the high turn out of women, saying that the APC-led administration at the state and federal levels would continue to execute projects that would benefit less privilege Nigerians.
APC chairman in President Buhari’s Sarkin-Yara ward, Alhaji Ali Mani, who also praised the large and early turn out of voters, expressed optimism that the ruling party would win all levels of the 2019 general elections.
Voting and accreditation of voters commenced simultaneously across the 11 electoral wards in Daura local government area.
In Anambra State, the presidential primary election of the APC conducted in the 21 local government areas went peaceful.
In Aguata, Anaocha, Awka North, Awka South, Oyi, Onitsha North and Onitsha South, Orumba North and Orumba South, party supporters massively participated in the exercise.
The chairman of the party in Aguata local government area, Mr Paul-Chuks Umenduka, stated that at Achina, his community, the direct primary election was peaceful.
“This primary election is going on peacefully as we have a sole candidate in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari for 2019”, he said.
Umenduka said that supporters of the party in the area used the opportunity to marshal out plans for campaigns to ensure landslide victory of all candidates of APC in 2019.
Another chieftain of the party in Aguata, Chief Modestus Umenzekwe, said he was particularly happy with turnout of party members, stressing that “with the number of people here today, it means 2019 will be a mere walk-over.”
At Nri in Anaocha local government area, Senator Uche Ekwunife, a senatorial aspirant on the platform of APC in Anambra, addressed members and supporters and assured them that the people would benefit if Buhari was re-elected in 2019.
Senator Andy Uba, representing Anambra South, in his Uga ward 1 venue of the presidential primary, commended President Buhari “for the second Niger Bridge and the Enugu-Onitsha road, among other projects in the area.
“I am sure his re-election will ensure more political appointments and infrastructure for the zone”, he added
In Ogun Stated the APC presidential primary election was successful and peaceful, as the party delegates unanimously adopted President Buhari as their candidate.
In some wards within Abeokuta, most party members got to there at about 8am to participate in the poll.
A former governor of Ogun, Olusegun Osoba, who took part in the primary election at ward 13, Igbore area of Abeokuta-South local government area, stressed the need for continuity in government.
Osoba, while addressing the party faithful, explained that there is need for unity among party members and leaders in order to succeed in the coming 2019 elections.
He said, “I have come here today to preach unity to our members. They should embrace peace and forget all differences that might have happened in the past. My message is simple: we must learn serious lesson from Osun.
“We must not be disunited and must go into all races as one family. Whoever emerges must become our official candidate, irrespective of the his/her position or age.
“We must accept whoever emerges as flag bearer at all levels and not only for governorship, but also Senatorial, House of Representatives and the state assembly. We must all go out and we must not allow the opposition to return”.
In Rivers State, no fewer than 388,653 members of the APC yesterday participated in the party’s presidential primary in 319 wards in the state.
A report collated at the APC secretariat in Port Harcourt by the presidential primary returning officer for Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, showed that all the members voted for President Buhari.
In Jigawa State, President Muhammadu Buhari scored 202,599 votes in the party presidential primary conducted across 287 political wards.
Announcing the result at the state party headquarter Dutse, the chief returning officer of the primary election, Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, said the party has total registered members of 253,073 based on figure from the 2014 registration exercise.
He noted that those who were registerd as party members recently did not participate in the election as they are not captured in the party database.
Governor Badaru declered President Buhari as the winner of the election having scored the highest vote in the primary election, which was conducted directly in accordance with party guidelines.
I’ll Perform Better In My 2nd Term, PMB Assures Nigerians
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians living in America of making a difference if he wins the 2019 presidential election and spends another four years in office.
“I will leave some difference in that office”, he said, while meeting with the Nigerian community in the United States of America Thursday on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The president regretted that the elite allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged for 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule, without as much as raising a voice in consternation.
A statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying: “They didn’t say a word. Under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund, of which he was Chairman), we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt. Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word.
“I was called Baba Go Slow. Those who were going fast, where did they get to? In 1983, military officers gathered, and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elite complained about that?
“Three times I contested elections; three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.’ It was mainly the ordinary people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency. Even pregnant women on the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies, and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country.”
The diaspora Nigerians, in their scores, are top flight professionals, drawn from fields like medicine, engineering, sports, the arts, investment, academia, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing, and many others.
Most of them expressed the wish to come back home and contribute to the change making a headway in Nigeria.
To this, President Buhari replied: “You are contributing to this great country (America). If you want to help back home, invest in education in your constituencies. If you educate people, they won’t then accept nonsense from anybody.”
President Buhari said the administration he leads has by and large kept faith with its three key campaign promises: to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.
“I’ve tried to do my best since I came. Security-wise, we are better. Boko Haram still conducts cowardly attacks, but the insurgency is not the same as it used to be. They are terrorists, and have nothing to do with religion. We will continue to deal with them. Ask people in the North-east, especially in Borno State, they will tell you they can sleep with two eyes closed now”, he added.
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