PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has given full charge of his re-election bid to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He made the announcement while launching the APC Presidential Campaign Council at the Abuja International Conference Center on Monday.
However, he assured that he will participate fully in the campaign while trying to keep the focus on the business of governance during the period.
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He said: “Even though we have only 40 days, this campaign is going to tax us all because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country. But I must also add that, though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer.
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.
“That is to say, the operational buck of this campaign stops at his table, and I, therefore, urge all of us in the leadership of this campaign, in the field operations on the campaign trail and in the Secretariat to consult with Asiwaju whenever guidance is needed.
“It is on this note, and in the name of God, that I now have the pleasure of inaugurating the APC Presidential Campaign Council 2019.”
The President said that he wanted to leave a legacy of enthronement of democracy and therefore reiterated his commitment towards a free and fair election.
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He said: “Let me reiterate my commitment to free and fair elections. If there is one legacy I want to leave is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government. And for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free and fair. That means citizens have a right to vote for candidates of their choice without intimidation in any form. I have warned INEC and security agencies to that effect.
“We will keep insisting that votes must count. Our campaigns will be anchored on our performance in the last four years. There is no doubt that our party has succeeded in taking Nigeria to a new level of enduring peace, economic growth political stability, justice and progress. This is the new level we are promising Nigerians, the details of which we will take to Nigerians as we embark on our campaigns.”
According to the President, Nigerians voted for the APC in 2015 because they put trust and confidence that it would make a great difference.
He stated: “We are now building on the experience of our successful outing in the 2015 elections. It is my hope that this wonderful team put together will anchor our campaigns to lead our party and its candidates to victory in the general elections in a few weeks’ time.
“A victory for us as a party is a victory for all well-meaning Nigerians, who are committed to Change from an inglorious past; where those in positions of public trust willfully took for themselves what belongs to us all; where the security of our citizens was second place to their acquisition of unwholesome wealth; where our economic growth was sacrificed for the fleeting ease of import dependency.
“We have in the last 3 years and 6 months reversed this downward slide that the PDP took us in its 16 years of misrule. We have restored the territorial integrity of our nation, thanks to our gallant men and women of our armed forces. We are systematically engaged in all the remaining corridors of insurgency, kidnappings, robberies, herdsmen and farmers clashes.
“We have reset our national values: corruption is no longer condoned and is no longer seen as normal for public office holders. The agencies of government are no longer equivocal in dealing with anyone who flouts our laws.
“The high and low are receiving jail terms, loots are being recovered, and Nigerians are increasingly displaying the timeless values of honesty, honour and decency. I congratulate us all for making these changes possible.
“Our economy has become a prudently managed enterprise. Our resources are now working for us, as we ensure the delivery of key national infrastructure, which was left unattended over these past years.
“The direct impact of our policies on improvements in roads, railways, and power supply are evident. There is greater evidence of economic diversification seen in growing local production of agricultural produce and solid minerals.
“Our government has succeeded in the last four years in halting national drift, removing the shadow of insecurity and fear dominating our life and reviving our economy from decline to stability and growth. The macroeconomic health of our economy, indicated by several measurable factors such as a stable exchange rate, lower inflation, growing foreign reserves, has been applauded by independent local and international rating agencies.
“In addition, the quality of elections since 2015 has continued to improve with declining levels of problems that have defined elections in the past. Free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation.
“We have insisted that votes must count and have maintained a policy of non-interference in elections. INEC has so far since 2015, conducted fair and credible elections in 195 constituencies nationwide, which have been attested nationwide to be qualitatively better than previous elections.”
The President implored the party leaders to resist being provoked, remain focused and civil in our campaigns, saying: “Let us engage our citizens on issues and ask for reflection on the comparative difference between 2015 and 2019 on security, economy and corruption and abuse by those entrusted with leadership in Nigeria.”
In his remark, the Director General of the Campaign of the Council, Rotimi Amaechi, observed that there was no more stealing since APC came to power.
He added: “We are no longer stealing money. PDP stole the money meant to feed Nigerians and until they return it, they will not have peace.
“PDP has nothing to say to Nigerians. Our campaigns are going to be issues based. We are determined to save Nigerians.
“The President said he will fight corruption that he is doing it. He promised to create employment, improve the economy. We met a tattered economy that if we did nothing Nigeria will be at a mess but today the economy has been growing.
“In fixing the economy we promised infrastructural development. When I took over as minister of transportation, GE approached me and said we have approached different governments for 11 years to allow us to take over the rail with our own money but nobody agreed. This government agreed. Before March we will sign a formal agreement of concession to a consortium that will take over the entire narrow gauge and run it.
“The change that we promised we cannot complete in four years. Anybody that says we can do so in four years must be a magician. What we are pleading with Nigerians for is another four years to consolidate on what we have started.
“We assure Nigerians that by the end of our next four years, it will be different from the kind of 16 years that the PDP brought.
“I was in PDP, the slogan was share the money but here we are not sharing money. And because we are not sharing the money they are saying vote buying. Because they ran an election with government money, eating, buying cars with government money and nobody cared. This is a government and a party that cares and in another four years when Nigerians see public funds they will walk away.”