Former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, have hailed the election of of former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In separate statements yesterday, they described Buhari’s election as the culmination of a new dawn not just for the party but the country as a whole, noting that the election had raised the bar of internal democracy, transparency and fairness in the party.
Saraki, a chieftain of the APC, described the primaries as a watershed in intra-party democracy.
In an electronic mail, the senator representing Kwara Central added that the just concluded APC presidential primaries had it all—procedural integrity, free expression of the will of the people, fairness and competition.
Said he: “For me, this reflects the fact that APC is in tune with what is missing in our democratic culture: tolerance and accommodation. The party has shown by this primary that we are in tune with the mood of the nation and the yearning for a more inclusive and less divisive leadership.
“The APC delegates have by voting for and choosing Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as its flag bearer in the 2015 general election declared that it wants to change Nigeria. It has by so doing declared that it can no longer be business as usual.
“Aside the uncommon level of transparency apparent throughout the convention, it is worth pointing out the level of sportsmanship and togetherness exhibited by all the contestants for the party’s premium ticket. It was one of the finest moments of our political party history.
“It is not happenstance. Rather, it shows that it is easier for people to take a fall if they know that the fight was fair and the rules applied generally. The feeling of fairness and deference to the will of the people and loyalty to the party then follows.
“Never in the annals of party presidential primaries in Nigeria has there been such infectious atmosphere of no-victor-no-vanquished. These eminently qualified Nigerians put aside personal loss and ambition for the greater vision of a changed Nigeria. This reflects the unflinching and collective resolve of the APC to see Nigeria rescued from the abyss this current administration has plunged her into.
“You will agree with me that the quality of the ideas that were put forth in the various manifestos by our aspirants showed truly the APC is bringing change not for a few but change for all Nigerians to move us together, forward. The oneness in which our aspirants conducted themselves should tell every Nigerian that despite the naysayers’ predictions, the APC is united, strong and ready to reclaim the soul of our nation.
“I call on all the aspirants who fought the good fight and the entire party leadership to rally behind our candidate, Gen. Buhari, so that we may give all Nigerians, irrespective of their language, religious creed, sex and place of birth, the people-oriented leadership that we need to get past these difficult times.”
He called on all Nigerians, “especially those who have suffered under the failed years of President Jonathan; those who have not benefitted in anyway under the nepotistic programmes conducted by this government; those that do not want their children growing up in a failed Nigeria -where rampant insecurity and blatant corruption is the norm – to get in line and fall in place to help elect General Muhammadu Buhari as our next President.”
Choice of Nigerians –Aregbesola
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said that the emergence of the former Head of State is the best democratic pill to galvanise Nigerians towards the needed change.
He said the former Head of State is not just the candidate of the APC but that of the entire Nigerians who have been yearning for a dramatic and total change.
Aregbesola said the decision by all party men and women to elect the former head of state demonstrates the commitment to presenting a candidate who would not only win the presidential election but go ahead to rescue Nigeria from the present quagmire anti-democratic and anti-development elements had brought her into for more than a decade and a half.
Aregbesola, in a statement signed by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, was quoted as speaking shortly after the declaration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the APC after a keenly contested primary held in Lagos.
“We must congratulate Nigerians for the emergence of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of our party. The excitements, commendations and jubilations that have greeted the election and consequently the announcement of Gen. Buhari are clear demonstrations of the fact that Nigerians have been anxious and now poised for an immediate change in Nigeria.
“It is clear now that Nigerians are determined to jettison their religious, tribal, partisan and other mundane interests to rally support for our candidate. Gen Muhammadu Buhari, I can confidently say, is not just the candidate of the All Progressives Congress but the popular choice of entire Nigerians,” Aregbesola was quoted as saying.
Reminding Nigerians of the urgent need to fix the country, Aregbesola said the outcome of the primary election itself confirmed that the APC has taken transparency, the fight against corruption and graft to a new height.
“People have chosen the best man for the job regardless of all other less edifying considerations. Buhari represents the face of the required battle against corruption. He represents openness and commitment to good governance.
“For those who consider the awful impact of corruption on our country, the choice of Gen Buhari would easily translate to the readiness of Nigerians to battle against the most debilitating scourge against the country’s growth,” Aregbesola said.
Listing the challenges that lay before an APC government at the centre, Aregbesola reminded Nigerians that the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party at the centre has spelt economic doom, political complications and social morass.
“We have witnessed the most horrendous crimes against the soul of this country. There has been a mindless rape of the country by a gang of looters who have made Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
“There is needless hunger in a country with many untapped opportunities. All the critical sectors have been bled to states of coma and what we have left as a country is a fractured entity gasping for breath.
“With the election of General Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians are assured that a new Nigeria is possible.”
Election is proof of internal democracy —Ajimobi
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State congratulated the APC for the successful organisation of the presidential primary election, saying: “The emergence of Gen. Buhari as the presidential standard bearer of our great party in a free and fair primary election was a further attestation of the high regard which our party has for democratic process and internal democracy,’’ the governor said.
Governor Ajimobi also noted that with the successful completion of the primary in a convivial atmosphere, APC was now set to take over power at the centre from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through the ballot box and take the country to greater heights.
The governor also commended the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by other contestants by accepting the outcome of the primary in good faith and congratulating the eventual winner.
Governor Ajimobi thanked the Chairman of the Convention Committee, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and other members of the committee for being fair and just in the handling of the onerous assignment. -TheNationNg