We Will Dislodge PDP in 2015 – Buhari
Former head of state and 2011 presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has restated the determination of the new All Progressives Congress (APC) to push the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) out of power in 2015. He assured Nigerians that the party would give them new life and hope.
Buhari, who spoke in his Kaduna office yesterday when he received members of the Democratic Emancipation Movement on a courtesy visit, thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registering APC.
Refusing to rule out the idea of running for president in 2015, Buhari said: “My decision will be tied to the constitution of the APC; if the party chooses me as its candidate, I will contest. If they do not consider me, I will not contest but I will still support the party. My decision to run in 2015 will solely be the party’s decision.”
Gen. Buhari also spoke on the merger journey: “I have thought about this merger since 2007. This is because I found out that none of the opposition parties could challenge the PDP successfully. But if we come together with those that have representation at the National Assembly and the state assemblies, and go back to sensitize our constituencies, even if the PDP wants to rig they would find it impossible to rig.
“I discovered that by being so divisive we made ourselves very vulnerable. So, the best way to survive and for this country to stabilise is we just have to come together, and I believe along the line we made necessary sacrifices.”
Thanking INEC for the registration of the APC, Buhari stated that the journey to the registration was memorable, adding that INEC deserved commendation for acting as a true electoral body.
He said: “To be honest, we have to thank INEC, because when we thought we had applied according to the 2010 Electoral Act, the INEC drew our attention to the Electoral Act that says there must be a headquarters at the federal capital that is good enough to be called a headquarters of a national party; then our constitution, our manifesto, the harmonisation of the main three parties.
“We thought that the initial nine signatories were enough to manage the party in the interim between registration and convention, but INEC advised us and told us that we needed to get at least 25 or 35 people to come out from the geo-political zones to sign.”
On why INEC deserves commendation, Buhari said: “If the INEC wanted to be wicked, they could have kept mute and just sent us a letter that our application was not complete; they could have done that. But for them to send us an observation which was later corrected, I believe they have been very impartial and we thank them for that.”
He noted: “Tension has already come down; people now think that they have a viable alternative. This feeling, I believe, is across the country, not only in the north or in the south-west. There is a good feeling about the party in all the geopolitical zones of the country.
“Our next important step is the mobilisation of constituencies to make sure that elections are conducted according to law.”
He recalled that “in 2003, 2007, 2011, a lot of disgraceful things happened during those election years”, saying that the party faithful are trying now to put the structure of APC on the ground from the ward level to the national with the hope of giving Nigerians hope and capturing power.
He added that “those that are going to be in charge of the party from now to the convention are the people that are very committed to the party’s stabilisation of the system and political strength of the country. We have started working hard to ensure that we avoid problems”.
Buhari further acknowledged the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s efforts in opening the democratic space for registration of more parties, saying that his legal battle up to the Supreme Court in this matter was worthy of note: “It was the late Gani Fawehinmi who took the letter I wrote and went to the Supreme Court to stop the ruling party from denying other parties registration. We all thank Gani Fawehinmi for his foresight to challenge the matter at the Supreme Court.”
Speaking earlier, the Leader of the Democratic Emancipation Movement, Mr Tom Maiyashi, said: “We know that there were a lot of sabotaging efforts by the enemies of progress to ensure that APC was not registered, but finally it has been registered. The registration of the APC marked a point in the political history of our country, that will mark the beginning of a watershed in the political struggle of Nigeria.
“In fact the PDP is very lucky that the APC is registered, because the registration of APC has doused a lot of tension in the country. People now have hope that there is an alternative. It was not an easy thing, but we have an alternative. The monster that is called PDP will be drifting out of stage by the year 2015.”
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