By Ismaila Chafe
#TrackNigeria: President Muhammadu Buhari has assured members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he is fully behind the party and its candidates in every state of the federation, and is campaigning for them wherever he goes.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, dismissed insinuations that President Buhari did not show full support for the APC while campaigning on Tuesday in Imo.
The APC in Imo had made headlines recently for the fractiousness within the ruling party, which has led to disagreements with Gov. Rochas Okorocha.
Okorocha, who is an APC senatorial candidate in the Feb. 16 elections, had vowed to work for his son-in-law, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, against the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
President Buhari had on Tuesday at the APC rally in Owerri, asked members of the party to vote according to their conscience in the 2019 elections.
The president urged the members to vote for any candidate of their choice irrespective of intra party squabbles.
“You can vote for whosoever you want, do not allow intra or inter party affairs to stop you from voting for the candidate of your choice,’’ he said.
Shehu stated that the massive crowd that gathered to welcome President Buhari in Imo was made up of not only supporters of the APC in the state, but also supporters of other parties who were united by their love for the President and their desire to see him re-elected, in spite of the local candidates they support.
He explained that President Buhari’s consciousness of this obviously-mixed crowd was the reason why he did not speak only about support for the APC during the campaign, but also encouraged the people to vote according to their conscience.
“While President Buhari is fully behind APC, he welcomes endorsements from those who do not belong to the ruling party but is also sensitive to their support for non-APC candidates at the local level.
“It would have been insensitive of him to offend his non-APC supporters by ignoring their local affiliations,’’ he added.
Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, noted President Buhari’s open endorsement of Hope Uzodinma, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Imo, whose hand the President raised high before the crowd at the campaign rally.
“President Buhari is for the APC in every state and there is no doubt about that, in spite of his immense cross-party support,’’ he said.(NAN)