President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and state governors elected on its platform to institutionalise the ruling party to guarantee its survival beyond the end of his second term in 2023.
The president made the admonition yesterday when he received APC governors who were at the State House, Abuja, to congratulate him on the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal’s judgment which upheld his re-election.
Buhari said that, “what I will say to the chairman of the party and governors in return for your congratulating me is to make sure you really institutionalise the party so that when we leave, the party will continue to lead.’’
He described as “fabulous coincidence” the judgement of the tribunal which lasted almost the same duration as the maiden Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.
The president said that the FEC meeting came as a relief as it took away the tension that would have gripped him if he was to watch or listen to the proceedings of the tribunal live like many Nigerians.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the February 23, 2019, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had dragged Buhari and the APC before the tribunal seeking to nullify his victory at the polls.
According to the president, the weekly FEC meeting provided him an opportunity to take his mind away from the judgement being delivered, and that luckily for him the first memo which was on 2020 budget took about five straight hours of proceedings.
Buhari, however, urged the governors and the leadership of the APC to make efforts to institutionalise the party so that it would outlive them in governance.
His words: “On this judgement, again it was a fabulous coincidence that it came almost the same time the first Federal Executive Council meeting of this government was taking place. It lasted about the same time with the judgement. I thank God for that because I think I would have gone into trauma or something.
“So, I was busy trying to concentrate on the memos. The first memo was on the budget and it took more than five hours. So, while you were doing your thing for nine hours, we were doing ours for about seven hours here.
“It was a very interesting coincidence and I thank God for it because I would have been in trauma or something of that sort.
“So thank you very much for sharing the glory with us. What I will say to your congratulations, the chairman of the party and the governors, is that we make sure that we really institutionalise the party, so that when we leave the stage the party will continue to lead,” he said.
In his remarks, the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said that the judgment was “eloquently and analytically” delivered to clear all doubts on the veracity of the president’s school credentials, adding that “we never had any doubt. We were convinced of our victory.’’
Oshiomhole assured President Buhari of the APC’s loyalty and support for his administration.
He said: “It is of particular interest that the only asset that the president has invested and continued to invest is his integrity. We saw some people trying to throw mud at that integrity. On personal integrity, the opposition party does not have in their rank any man or woman who has your integrity.’’
Also, the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, congratulated President Buhari on his victory at the tribunal.
While describing the judgment as clinical, with surgical precision in dealing with all the issues raised, Bagudu assured the president of the support of all APC governors and other governors that had benefited from his leadership.
“The APC governors are here today to celebrate the victory of the president at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal which gave judgment on Wednesday.
“As said by the chairman, it was a judgment that is very pleased to all of us and on behalf of all the APC governors I say a big congratulation to you and to our party for this success,’’ he said.
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