By Emmanuel Mogbede
With the conclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national convention which climaxed activities that started with the ward, local government and state congresses, under the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) on March, 26, the stage is now set for the party to move to the next level.
The new Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, former governor of Nasarawa State, who currently represents Nasarawa West in the Senate, emerged under a consensus arrangement after six aspirants stepped down.
The aspirants included: Malam Saliu Mustapha, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Sen. Sani Musa, Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, former Gov. Abudulaziz Yari of Zamfara and Etsu Muhammed.
This followed an earlier request by President Muhammadu Buhari that a consensus candidate should be picked to ensure a peaceful and rancour-free national convention.
This was after Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff, a former two-term governor of Borno and a frontline aspirant in the contest for the APC chairmanship race withdrew from the race.
He said he decided to withdraw from the race in compliance with party decision.
“The party has taken a position that the position of its national chairman should go to the North Central zone.
“The President is the leader of the party and he has taken a position. I have always told you that I will contest if the position is zoned to my zone,” Sheriff said.
Like a true sportsman, Sheriff while withdrawing from the race, thanked the party members, stakeholders, and Nigerians, who had been with him throughout his campaigns across the country in the last two years.
The other aspirants later followed the path of Sheriff and withdrew from the race.
“May I kindly refer to the appeal by President Buhari for the chairmanship aspirants of our great party to agree to a consensus arrangement wherein our colleague Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is made our consensus candidate for the chairmanship position,” Akume had said.
Saliu Mustapha, a former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC),while giving reasons why he pulled out from the race few hours to the party`s convention at the Abuja Eagle Square, said he did it in the larger interest of the party.
To Mustapha, he ran a good race, but had to step down in the greater good of the party.
“Indeed many would have wanted me to take the battle to the convention ground, because that was our goal, but we had to pull back in deference to our great leader President Muhammadu Buhari.
“My decision to concede was never an easy one, but I pride myself as a core party man who does not joke with loyalty and party supremacy,” he said,
Mustapha in the true spirit of a sportsman, congratulated the new APC leadership and urged them to hit the ground running.
To Chief David Kente, a chieftain of the APC in Taraba, there is no winner or loser in the contest for the party`s executives in its just concluded national convention.
Kente who is also a governorship aspirant in Taraba, congratulated Sen. Adamu on his emergence as APC new national chairman and other members of the party`s newly elected National Working Committee (NWC).
“For the APC family, the contest for party offices does not produce winners and losers, we are all winners because our primary interest is to strengthen and unite the party.
“Let me on behalf of our great party congratulate those who have emerged as our national officers, you are all welcome on board,” he had said.
He commended the sportsmanship of other aspirants, especially those who stepped down to pave way for consensus candidates.
To Gov. Mai Mala Buni, Chairman, APC CECPC, who supervised the filling of the 78 positions, including NWC and non NWC members, it is now time to work in unity to ensure that the party remains in its winning ways.
Buni while calling on the party’s members across the country to support its new leadership, said such support is critical to keep the party united and in its winning ways in 2023 and beyond.
“As you are aware, the CECPC which I am opportune to chair, is a child of circumstance, constituted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to restructure and reposition it.
“To the glory of God, and with your generous support, we collectively rescued the party and enriched its fortunes.
“l call on every member of the party to please support and co-operate with its new leaders from ward to the national level.
“We should please bury our differences and collectively work for the interest and success of our party; this is very necessary for us as we approach the 2023 general elections.
“We can only achieve much in unity, just like the broom which is our party symbol.
“Our support to the new leadership would no doubt promote internal democracy and the emergence of popular, credible, and generally acceptable candidates to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 elections,” Buni stressed.
To him, with a population of over 41 million registered members and still counting, the APC has the potential and capacity to remain Nigeria’s ruling party and indeed, Africa’s largest political party.
Adamu, the newly-elected APC National Chairman in his acceptance speech while congratulating those who aspired to occupy the party’s national offices, said that although they did not succeed this time, they could succeed some other times.
“They did not succeed this time, but in God’s time, many of them would yet realise their ambitions to serve our party and country in many other positions.
“As politicians, we are not strangers to gains, losses and disappointments, of the outcome of every political contest.
“Let us show maturity and good sportsmanship and accept the outcome of this convention with grace,’’ he said, adding that the APC needed all hands on the steering wheel.
Like the proverbial broom that works better in unity, Adamu said: “together we can steer the ship of state through the inclement weather of our divisive national politics to the promised land.’’
While thanking the aspirants and party members for their spirit of sportsmanship, Adamu said the new party leadership would continue to count on their co-operation as loyal party members and patriot, saying his emergence was God’s wish.
“It is only through God that we have emerged as the NWC of our great party, now, it looks so simple, but it is not our doing, but the doing of Almighty God who made all this possible.
“A month ago, I didn’t know I will become the chairman of APC. Here I am today, receiving the instrument and authority from the outgoing chairman of the party’s CECPC.
“Only God can do this. It is neither my personal wisdom nor my charisma. There may be elements on the way.
“But all this were made possible by the endorsement of Almighty God,” Adamu said.
He thanked President Buhari for his commitment to the party’s development and its leaders for ensuring his emergence and prayed God to reward them all.
He, however, acknowledged that the task ahead was enormous, especially with the 2023 general elections in view, and other events that could test the party’s stability.
“For me, by the time we start working, our main task will be how we handle the elections as a party.
“We will work day and night. We have less than 12 months to face the general elections, so, everybody should buckle up.
“The little I have had about President Buhari is that he has complete allergy for failure, so, failure will not be in APC from today.
“I promise you in the spirit of collective leadership, that team work is the only way. I cannot deliver alone,”Adamu said.