Ahead of the February National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, some stakeholders of the party on Tuesday converged on Abuja, the nation’s capital, to chat a way forward for the party.
This was as some members of the Organized Private Sector OPS have made a case for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo ahead of the 2023 presidential election, urging the APC to cede its to him.
Delivering a keynote address at the 2022 APC Stakeholders Summit which had as its theme: “Rebuilding the APC of our Dreams,” Director General of the Progressive.
He said; “I do not believe in the zoning put in place by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP over the years, what I will call ‘blind trust’. Give people responsibility based on trust and that will not take us anywhere. I think it is high time we started raising issues and with due respect to people who are aspiring for the position of National Chairman, I know virtually all of them, they know what do.
“My preference would be that leaders have to sit down and look at members they have across the country. I tell you there are five critical positions from our last experience. We need to be very clear about that. The two Deputy National Chairmen, any one of them has to be ready to assume the position of National Chairman. National Secretary is very fundamental. We need a competent Secretary, because without a competent Secretary, the bureaucracy of the party will be weak.
“Legal Adviser is very delicate. He must be competent. If you don’t take time, courts will be running affairs of the party. So, if you have a very strong Legal Adviser, the party will be protected.
National Organizing Secretary has to be great at negotiating the candidates’ selection process.
“National Publicity Secretary is about communication. Now, if you ask me and I have written severally about it, what is our greatest weakness as a party and as a government, I would say it is that our communication is almost zero. What is going on today is that the PDP is having a voice because we are not communicating. They will tell us we are corrupt. These are people who took $2. 1 billion and shared amongst themselves and they are now having a voice.
“Throughout their tenure and the problem of insecurity we are having ask them how much investment they made in terms of equipment and personnel. We need a Publicity Secretary that will be very active in communicating the vision and all the initiatives the party is taking.
“Therefore, we must appeal to our leaders, instead of doing this blind approach to zoning, search for very competent people. Part of the problem where it is almost impossible is because of the fundamental issue; our leaders want people who are loyal to them that can guarantee their emergence as candidates at different levels. But we need to remind our leaders that experiences from 1999 to date has indicated that such a system never guarantees political safety”.
A national chairmanship aspirant of the party, Mallam Saliu Mustapha who also spoke at the summit expressed optimism that the convention would in February.
“Like you all know and I am sure you are well informed about the meetings that are going on in the party. Definitely the convention will hold but you must allow those who have been saddled with the responsibility to come up with the most appropriate time which I believe they hinted before that it will be in February.
“I believe they are putting final and finishing touches to the mode and conduct and the date that will be chosen. So, for me, it is still work in progress and we must give them that necessary support and give them that benefit of the doubt to help us to have a very successful convention.
“We will be doing things differently. As one of those that is aspiring to be the National Chairman, I hope if given the opportunity, it will be the opportunity to show that there is a reward system that can be very beneficial and can be very befitting to those who labour for it”, he added.
Another national chairmanship aspirant of the party, Sen. Muhammed Sani Musa cautioned the APC against allowing a return to the PDP era.
“As we approach another election, we must ensure that we do not allow our country slide back to the era of corruption and unfocused governance we witnessed during the PDP era. We must continue to build on those APC legacies. It is for this reason that I am presenting myself as a candidate that can position our party, the APC to achieve the electoral and political atmosphere necessary to ensure that we consolidate and accelerate our socio-economic transformation”, he stated.
Convener, APC Rebirth Group and organizers of the summit, Aliyu Audu urged the party leaders to give more opportunity to the youth in order to allow the party to continue to govern the country.
He said; “The idea is just to assemble vibrant young minds who are members of the party, the youth and the not so young people who have given their all to the party. We have seen some achievements under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari but we have equally seen a lot of disappointments with the way our party has been managed over the years.
“The President has repeatedly stated that power must return to the people. But we are also aware that some certain individuals have pushed their ambitions to the detriment of our national interests. We believe in this party as the party to take this country where it ought to be.
“We want to be actively involved in leadership, we want to be involved on the discussions that involve how our future is being shaped.”
Meanwhile, the Organized Private Sector for Osinbajo (OPS 4 Osinbajo) has said the vice president is intellectually equipped than any current presidential aspirant for the task of leading Nigeria’s economic rejuvenation towards future greatness.
“With Osinbajo, Nigeria’s organized private sector has much basis for optimism about post-2023 economic activities,” the group’s spokesman, Alhaji Abdulrahman Farouk said.
Emphasising that Vice President Osinbajo’s consistent focus and insider knowledge of the objectives and challenges related to the Buhari administration’s economic programmes are great advantages towards Nigeria’s economic rejuvenation, he said the vice president’s candidature offers greater hope for citizens who have high expectations about job creation, increased earnings and growth.
“Even though an aspirant has informed Muhammadu Buhari about his 2023 ambition, the most credible option still appears to be Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and for the Organized Private Sector as well as the citizenry, Osinbajo offers much fertile ground for hope to rapidly germinate.
The group stressed that rather than mere sentiments, Nigerians must carefully weigh the past and current potentials of various candidates towards using their voter cards responsibly in the 2023 election.
“Getting Nigeria’s economy to grow faster than the population is going to take a lot of consistent planning, discipline and integrity, as well as great consistency in implementation but with his sharp focus, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is expected to do well,” he stated.
According to Alhaji Farouk, economic reforms and fair incentives needed to generate rapid economic multiplier effects that can accelerate employment generation, increased export earnings and other economic dividends for Nigeria appear better assured when someone like Prof. Osinbajo is in power.
“The idealistic and very patriotic pursuit of various economic policies led by Osinbajo speak volumes about future potentials for people-focused policies; under his supervision, Nigeria’s social investment programmes have been ranked internationally but much more good news will unfold when he is fully in the saddle by 2023,” he added.