BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Adamu has on the occasion of the meeting of the National Working Committee of the party with the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice-President elect, Kashim Shettima and National Assembly members-elect held at the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday assured Nigerians that the incoming government of the party will serve the people of Nigeria.
Addressing the meeting, Adamu said, “I crave your indulgence to do what I have never done before in my public speeches. I offer you some under statements that hew to the purpose of our gathering here this afternoon.
“It is an understatement to say that you have all won your elections. All of you passed through the crucibles of the Presidential and National Assembly elections and emerged like purified iron from the furnace of a free, fair, and credible elections. To use my favourite phrase, you all won fair and square. Victory is sweet – and that too is an understatement.
“It is an understatement to say that our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is the clear choice of the people. Three times, we asked the people to give us the thumbs up; and three times they did not hesitate to do so. They did so in 2015. They did so in 2019. They have now done it again in 2023. It reminds us that to whom much is given, much is expected. It is an understatement to say that much has been given to us and we must reciprocate by giving much more to the people and our dear country.
“And so, bearing these understatements in mind, let me formally welcome you, Mr President-elect, Mr Vice-President-elect, Mr Senate President and all the elected distinguished men and women to this family gathering of our party at the instance of the National Working Committee of our great party.
“The notice for the meeting was short but the response, as you can see around you, is overwhelming. It is not an understatement to say that our presence at this meeting points to our preparedness to join hands with the president-elect as he works on his plans to renew our hopes and rebuild our confidence in our government.”
Commending them and the process that produced them, Adamu said, “I salute Mr President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Jagaban of Borgu. I congratulate you, Mr Vice-President, Senator Kashim Shettima. I very heartily congratulate all the distinguished men and women elect. I salute you all.
“You are the new team Nigeria. From May 29 this year, the burden of our national unity, peace, and development will rest on your shoulders as a team. The national assembly elections produced infusions of the old and the new. This blend of the young and the old should be a recipe for a harmonious working relationship. The exuberance of the new members must be moderated by the age and the experience of the returning members, some of whom are now almost permanent fixtures in the legislature.
“Your elections testify to the people’s renewed hope in the capacity of our party and its leaders at all levels, to deliver on its promises to build a prosperous, united, and inclusive nation in which the green passport is our collective identity as compatriots.
“It is a matter of personal pride tinged with humility for me that with your unequivocal support and singular commitment to our common cause as a party, I have been privileged as the National Chairman of our party to lead it to victory. As the Onitsha man likes to say, it was not easy. It should be no less a matter of our collective pride equally tinged with gratitude that despite whatever our detractors and mischief makers may say, APC has continued to deepen our democracy and has given back to the people the power to institute governments of their choice.”
The APC national chairman noted that it is fair and honourable to admit that the February 25 elections were not perfect, saying, “We did not set out to conduct perfect elections. World history has no instances of perfect elections. Like all other democratic nations, we set out to conduct free, fair, and credible elections. This we did.
“I am proud to say we achieved this feat and delivered on the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari to the people. For the first time in living memory in respect of our elections, there were no allegations of vote-buying and outcry over all the other ills associated with the conduct of our elections. Rigging may not be dead, but it has been decapitated. Our democracy is maturing, and we are maturing with it.
“From the results of the February 25, 2023 general elections announced so far by the electoral umpire, INEC, the APC won the presidency, clean and clear, and a majority in both chambers of the national assembly. We chose not to rout the other political parties because they are our partners in our national progress and development. I look forward to the governorship and state houses of assembly elections on March 18. I am sure the results will make our victory even sweeter.
“We deemed it necessary to convene this meeting for three critical reasons. The first is for the NWC, which is the organ charged with the day to day running of the Party to welcome you, for and on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to the APC family and to impress upon you the fact that APC is much more than a political party. A family is a unit with shared common interests and common objectives.”
Adamu noted that the elections at the national level are over and they are now in the critical phase of forming a government adding that it is a tough phase because whatever “we decide from this moment will make or mar the new administration. It is not our portion, Mr President-elect.”
He maintained that the party needs a united force to deliver good governance. “We would like to emphasise teamwork. Neither as president nor as legislators can any one of you go it alone. Once the President and Vice-President are sworn-in and the National Assembly is inaugurated, each of you becomes the face of our government, just as each of you becomes the face of our party in governance. Whatever you do and whatever you fail to do will either impact positively or negatively on the interests of the party as a family. Let us remember this in all that we shall be doing in each of the two arms of government, to wit, the executive and the legislature.
“The president-elect needs help in putting together the new national team that will help him make a positive difference in the institution of good governance. I know his policies will be guided by the party manifesto. I urge you, as legislators, to familiarise yourselves with the party manifesto and our President’s plan of action, so that you understand your role and appreciate why certain decisions are taken by the president.
“Secondly, a democratic government is a government freely instituted by the people. A government of the people by the people is a servant of the people in the service of the people. We must never lose sight of what this entails in our form of government. Despite your wealth and your sartorial elegance, you still must be prepared to dirty your hands in serving the people. You must not relish your bigmanism at the expense of the interests and the hopes of the people who gave us the vote. On the day you received the people’s vote you signed a binding sacred social contract with them.
“Thirdly, the news media and especially the social media are full of speculations of some of you jostling for leadership positions in the national assembly. This is not unusual. People have the right to struggle for positions of leadership for which they believe they are eminently qualified. But we, in the national working committee of the party are not comfortable with the tone adopted by those who seek those offices. Those offices are not tribal or sectional rights and must not be so portrayed.”
Warning the national assmbly members elect on jostling for leadership positions in the yet to be inaugurated 10th assembly, Adamu said, “We would like to offer a word of caution to all of you in this regard. It may be good to start early but sometimes when you start too early you jump the gun and court unintended consequences that may cause nasty divisions in the party and thus affect its health. Leadership positions at the national level is a delicate matter and must not be approached with levity or lack of seriousness.”
He said it may be good to start early but it is wiser to be patient. He said some of them may recall what happened to the party and the National Assembly in 2015 when some members of the national legislature chose not to wait for the decision of the president and the party in sharing those offices an act which created bad blood within the party and between the executive and the legislature and therefore urged them not to regress.
He further assured them that the president-elect and the party leadership will make appropriate consultations in working out a formula for sharing those offices. “I assure you that whatever sharing formula the Party and the President-elect arrives at will be fair, just, equitable and satisfy the majority of our members.
“For Mr President-elect and Vice-President elect, the task ahead of you is huge, even frightening. This is the time for you and the party to gird our loins and focus on hitting the ground running from May 29, 2023. I know you are men with a purpose. I know that you are driven by the love of the people and the country in seeking this exalted office. I salute you and give you my blessings and the blessings of the national executive committee and the national working committee of our Party.
Adamu charged them to work hard to make victory certain for their governorship candidates as they return to their respective states. “Let me draw attention to the forthcoming Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for March 18, 2023. I urge you to return to your respective states and give all the necessary cooperation to the Party and APC candidates contesting the elections. There must be no misunderstanding between the state teams and yourselves that may affect the fortunes of the Party at the elections. You must therefore join hands with the existing structures in the state to bring victory for our Party. I wish you luck.”