The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will abide by its constitution to resolve the controversy over whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari will be given an automatic ticket to contest the 2019 Presidential Election.
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While speaking to reporters in Abuja, Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, said this was the stance taken by the Party on the 2019 Presidential Election at an expanded meeting of the party’s National Working Committee with state governors and principal officers of the National Assembly, held at the party’s National Secretariat on Wednesday.
When asked whether the party’s ticket for the 2019 Presidential Election was open to all or restricted to the incumbent President. Abubakar, in the company of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, and the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan said:
“This meeting has not deliberated on that but the APC has a constitution and that is one of the items that was discussed – the amendment to the constitution of the APC in order to faithfully hold the convention in line with democratic principles, and we will abide by the provisions of our constitution.”
Article 20 (iii) of the APC Constitution 2014 stipulates that “nomination of candidates for (f) President shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level.”
The Bauchi State Governor also used the medium to comment on some current national issues.
He said: “The President is concerned about the plight of the downtrodden and when you sit with him, he always talks about that. He did not direct any accusation at the governors because the governors have actually utilised the Federal Government’s intervention for the payment of the salary.
“In Bauchi, I do not owe a dime in salary and pension. We are not begging for support but asking that what is due to us should be paid to us.”
“You will recall what was canvassed in the media was that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the World Bank to focus their attention on the North.
“The issue came up for discussion at the meeting and they threw their weight behind Mr President. And we would like to clarify in addition to all that had been said that the import of Mr President’s message to the World Bank was in recognition of the particular devastation that Boko Haram has caused in the North.
“Therefore, when the President asked the World Bank to focus its attention on the North, he had in mind, the necessary reconstruction that needs to happen in that part of the country, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states that have suffered as a result of the Boko Haram activities.
“It was not, therefore, a statement intended to bifurcate any part of the country and show preference for any part of the country against the other.
“So, the APC throws its weight completely behind the President’s position and we believe that as long as the North-East remains and continues to represent a dark spot in the human development indices for Nigeria, there is a need to direct special attention to that particular region of the country.”
Those present at the meeting included Governors. Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Abdullahi Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa). The Deputy Governors of Ondo, Kano, Kogi and Nasarawa states represented their principals at the meeting.