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Buni’s Valedictory Message at the 2022 APC National Conventions

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Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state

 

I am delighted with your esteemed presence at this epoch-making occasion in the life of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as we assemble here for the National Convention, climaxing the transition process which started with the conduct of ward, local, and state congresses. Today, we are going for the zonal and national offices as well as, the ratification of the amended constitution of Africa’s largest political party, the APC.

As you are aware, the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee which l am opportune to chair, is a child of circumstance constituted by the National Executive Committee (NEC), to restructure and reposition the party.

To the glory of God, and with your generous support, we collectively rescued the party and enriched its fortunes. l want to seize this unique opportunity to specially and gratefully appreciate our able and great leader, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his uncommon commitment and leadership style that has guided the committee to record some modest achievements for the party.

I would also like to appreciate the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (GCON), the NEC, and members of the Progressives Governors Forum for their untiring support and cooperation to ensure that the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee succeeds in resuscitating the party.

Similarly, the Committee enjoyed generous and tremendous support from the National Assembly APC caucus, other critical stakeholders, committed party men, and women who believed in our mission and ability to deliver the mandate and move the party forward.

Your Excellencies, distinguished personalities, ladies and gentlemen, permit me to quickly reflect on some of the modest achievements recorded by the party under the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee whose tenure is ending today, for us to appreciate how far we have gone in revamping and improving our beloved party.

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Upon assumption of office, the committee embarked on a genuine and all-inclusive reconciliation process to give everyone a true sense of belonging, confidence, and reassurance in the collective ownership of the party. We, first of all, visited some critical stakeholders to engage them in resolving the disputes and other hanging disagreements in the party. While some of these visits were made public, others were done out of the public glare and without media publicity. Similarly, we visited some aggrieved chieftains who sincerely shared their ill feelings with the committee. We spoke to each other frankly, placing party interests above personal interests.

I am glad to state that those frank discussions built a new hope in the hearts of the aggrieved persons such that, those who earlier left the party returned back, while those contemplating to forsake the party, never left.

However, when we commenced the assignment, we realized that the problems on the ground had far outweighed our estimation of the time required to resolve the huge problems bedeviling the party. This made the initial Six months dateline grossly inadequate, unrealistic, and not practicable and therefore, the need for extension of more time. Happily, for every extension, we brought in additional values with positive developments into the party.

Having reconciled substantial stakeholders, members and groups, the committee commenced membership registration and revalidation exercise, being one of the mandates of the CECPC, to establish the party’s numerical strength for proper planning and mobilization. The exercise provided our new members the opportunity to register as legitimate members of APC with equal rights, privileges, and opportunities, as well as, to give back the ownership of the party to the members, using the bottom-top approach. I am glad to state with all sense of fulfillment that the membership registration and revalidation exercise, recorded over 41 million members who registered with the details of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and passport size photographs. This unprecedented increase in membership from the previous 11 million registered members to over 41 million registered members, provides the party with an added advantage of winning elections in Nigeria with landslide victories.

Mr. President, distinguished members, ladies and gentlemen, APC under the Caretaker Committee, made history with an unparalleled record of high-powered defections into the party. Three serving governors of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr. Dave Umahi, Cross River State, His Excellency Dr. Ben Ayade, and Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Mutawalle, defected along with Millions of their supporters from PDP into the APC.

I am glad to add that the fortunes of the party were further enriched with the defection of former Speakers of the House of Representatives, former PDP national chairman, member PDP Board of Trustees, several Distinguished Senators and Honourable members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, and several other heavyweights cutting across all the geo-political zones of the country.

Let me reassure those of you whose defections are being challenged in the courts that you have nothing to fear because your defections did not contravene any law. You will by the grace of God emerge successful and victorious in the superior courts at the end of these litigations. Your wise decision to join APC along with Millions of your supporters shall never be in vain.

I am gratified to inform this gathering that the Caretaker Committee under my watch has finally and fully settled the balance of payment for the National Headquarters. We have taken full ownership of the property. It is named after His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. The National Secretariat will henceforth be known and addressed as ‘BUHARI HOUSE’.

I am pleased to say that the CECPC conducted peaceful and successful Congresses at the ward, local, and state levels and reviewed the party’s constitution to clear ambiguities and to provide for the missing lines. The reviewed constitution is ready to be presented to you for ratification.

To promote party governance, teamwork, and inclusiveness, the caretaker committee introduced wide-scale consultations and engaged many stakeholders outside the committee as chairmen and members of various sub-committees on reconciliation, membership registration, Congresses, and Appeal committees among others

In addition, the Caretaker Committee in conjunction with the Presidency, introduced a tripartite consultation forum between the party, the National Assembly APC caucus, and the executive arm of government to build a conducive and healthy working relationship for speedy execution of government policies and programs for the benefit of Nigerians. I am glad to say that, this initiative with support from the leadership and members of the National Assembly and the Executive, has positively redirected the relationship between the three organs from that of mutual suspicion to that of trust, understanding, and teamwork.

As a matter of deliberate policy, the party organized a National Youth summit attracting youth from all the political wards across the country to mobilize the youth and to give them a sense of belonging and to enhance their commitment to the party. Similarly, women party faithful from across the country were assembled in Abuja and sensitized on active participation and generating support for the party. The party also took deliberate measures to give special recognition to People Living with Disabilities and now represented in every function of the party.This is in recognition of the great roles they play in the mobilization of the electorate, and participation in election processes.

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is pertinent to point out that we are conscious of the anxiety among our members for the conduct of the Convention to elect substantive national leaders. We are also aware of the rising interests among individuals and groups especially those with the ambition to aspire in the 2023 general election.

This anxiety has however translated into some internal wrangling and squabbles recently recorded in the party. Such internal disputes are both normal and common, especially in a growing democracy like ours. The beauty of such disagreements is the ability and resilience to resolve them and emerge out of them stronger.

Once again, l wish to commend Mr. President for the excellent leadership exhibited in resolving the seeming contention with ease, and without adverse effects on the party and the Convention.

As we elect the new national officials, l call on every member of the party to please support and cooperate with the leaders from ward to the national levels. We should please bury our differences and collectively work for the interest and success of our party. This is very necessary for us to approach the 2023 General election with a united front. We can only achieve much in unity, just like the broom which is our party symbol. Our support to the new leadership would no doubt promote internal democracy and the emergence of popular, credible, and generally acceptable candidates to fly the party’s flag in the 2023 election for the party to succeed.

Let me once again express my profound gratitude and appreciation to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, His Excellency the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (GCON), His Excellency President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the Honourable Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajiabiamila, the founding fathers of the party, former National Chairmen, their Excellencies Chief Bisi Akande, John Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, their Excellencies members of the Progressives Governors Forum and the Distinguished Members of the National Assembly for the amazing support that l personally enjoyed from you all.

The teamwork, cooperation, and unity exhibited by my colleagues, members of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee in the course of this assignment, have been exceptionally marvelous. This has truly made us extraordinary. We are indeed a family. I sincerely appreciate you all.

Let me also register our profound gratitude to all other stakeholders, our distinguished delegates, staff of the National Secretariat, the Youth, Women groups, and our supporters nationwide for the fantastic support you have extended to the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.

I am now more confident than ever, that with a population of over 41 million registered members and still counting, APC has the potential and capacity to remain Nigeria’s ruling party and indeed, Africa’s largest political party.

God bless the APC
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Politics

PMB And Nigeria:Anchoring The Argument On Adjuged Absenteeism

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President Muhammad Buhari

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

Since the unhappy remark from President Muhammadu Buhari in Imo state this week, that the achievements of his government are not given the publicity they deserve, the course of the discourse has changed, with some putting the blame on the President himself, for not attaching enough importance to media and publicity, particularly publicity in a democracy.

While some are of the opinion that because of the constrains of modesty, PMB was reluctant in talking about his achievements ab initio, because they may be misconstrued as a show off, or make him look like a leader that is too proud, others hold a counter opinion. To them, in a democracy, where leaders come to power pursuant to the promises made to the electorates during campaigns, such electorates have the right to be informed, sometimes in details, the extent to which such promises made were kept. And because, by electing the leader, the electorates have entered into an unwritten contract with the leader, giving such information by the leader should not be seen as a show off, immodesty, or the blowing of the leader’s own trumpet. It is the fulfilment of an agreement.

Two things prompted this article. One was a cliché sent to me by a friend, highlighting a quote from a purported statement attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari, viz: “What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing. Why should Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public? Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a President with a huge crowd with public funds? Why do I need to go on foreign medical trip if we can not make our hospital functional? Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we can not developed our university to compete with the foreign ones?”-General Muhammadu Buhari, Lecture at Chatham House London, February 21, 2015.

The second was a discussion I had same today, with my brothers in law, that paid a visit to us in the house.

I would start by addressing the cliché, with the hope of convincing my friend to understand the meaning of propaganda. According to the dictionary, Propaganda is, information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view. Had my friend read the purported statement well, by checking the grammatical construction and the caricature structure of misspellings, he would have seen that they are not only in conflict with English syntax and morphology, but also out of tune with the language style of someone that was once a Governor, a Minister, a Head of State, and as of that date, a President in waiting.

Not even in the inglorious yesteryears, when the office of Nigeria’s First Lady was occupied by someone who took delight in the use of colloquial English, was such abuse of phonology and semantics practiced. No good speechwriter would write such a repugnant speech for delivery at Chatham House, which is the world-leading policy institute with a mission to help governments and societies build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. And Buhari’s speechwriter can not be that crackbrained. No way. It’s fake news, but through the use of propaganda, some people have spewed the garbage, in order to influence public opinion against a leader. PMB is a victim of such spin because he has absentee propagandists.

The second segment of the genesis of this article, which has to do with the discussion with my in-laws, also anchors the argument on adjudged absenteeism. Yes, absentee propagandists for PMB and his regime. My guests and I had a lengthy discussion on the seven years of PMB in power, and almost all of them were of the believe that not much has been done by the government.

But I told them it is a stereotyped opinion. The government of PMB had recorded landmark successes, but because of absentee propagandists, instead of hailing the President for such milestone achievements, he is ignorantly damned by the gullible.

After we overviewed some of the strides in infrastructural development, including roads, rail, housing, and security, they agreed that indeed much has been done, but not that much is relayed to the public. On security, yes, security, despite the current challenges, they admitted that truly Nigeria is safer today, compared to what obtained in the past.

Not a single bomb blew off in Abuja since 2015. All the sand bags and road blocks have disappeared. In fact, I told my guests, if it were in the yesteryears, I wouldn’t give them access to the house without the normal ritual of frisking, to ascertain they are free from dynamites. Such was the level of distrust, even amongst relatives.

We delved into the excesses of some aids of the President, whose performance in office is questioned by many, but who the President refused to sanction. Also here, I said, if Nigerians are serious, they should forward petitions with evidence of their wrongdoings. PMB can not be accused of inaction based on information passed around that cannot be substantiated. Such information are classified as rumours or hearsay. And I gave the example of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation that is being prosecuted, pursuant to the submission of a petition.

Food prices, Oil and gas reforms, General economic condition, Power, Agriculture and the sustained successes recorded by the military, including the good news today, of the aerial bombardment of terrorist Turji’s camp in Zamfara state were discussed. In all, when the situation today is juxtaposed with yesterday, including a comparism with the so called developed societies, Nigeria under Buhari is not doing badly.

But because some people are anchoring the argument on adjudged absenteeism, and the government has no propagandists that would blow it’s trumpet, some tend to think the issues are not being robustly tackled.

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Politics

PMB/Abdullahi Adamu And The Position Of Positive Politics

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President Muhammad Buhari

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

As expected, the media is awash with the comments of President Muhammadu Buhari in Owerri yesterday, Tuesday,13/09/2023, where he sounded bemused by what is happening in the country, with regards the splendid performance of his administration. PMB was in Imo state, where he went he commissioned some projects executed by the Governor, His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma. While speaking after the commissioning, the President said when he came to power in 2015, many local government areas in Borno and Adamawa states were controlled by the Boko Haram terrorists, whom he described as fraudulent people, but have now been overwhelmed by his government. The President took time to blow his trumpet, by outlining some of his achievements in the past seven years.

“Between 1999 and 2015 when we came in, I would like people to check the Central Bank and the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company), the average production was 2.1 million barrels per day. Nigeria was earning at this time 2.1 million times but look at the state of infrastructure, look at the road. Look at the railway, it was virtually killed. Power, we are still struggling. But when we came, unfortunately, the militants were unleashed, production went down to half a million bpd. Look at the problem in the North-East, check with anybody from Borno or Adamawa, how many local governments were in the hands of the government and how many were in the hands of Boko Haram? Fraudulent people, whoever they are, are fraudulent! But now, go and ask the hard-working Governor of Borno State, a very hard-working Governor. The Federal Government is in charge now. In terms of time and resources, this administration has done extremely well. I have to say it because those who are supposed to say it are not saying it. I don’t know why”-PMB.

The countenance of the President as he glared at the audience while putting the question was not only baffling, but bewildering and perplexing. His expectation is that, having done so well with so little at very challenging times, one would expect a sustained and enthusiastic show of appreciation from the electorates, to whom promises were made and the promises are kept. But to his surprise, his regime seems to be receiving the reverse. Why? The President extended the blame even to his predecessors, whom he said, despite earning so much from crude oil, they failed to develop the country’s infrastructure.

While some are blaming the principal image makers of the government for failing to market the administration’s achievements well, in his characteristic frankness and political maturity, the national chairman of the ruling APC, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, said the issue needs to be looked at holistically, and that can only be done, if we adopt the attitude of positive politics.

Sen. Abdullahi Adamu’s concept of positive politics is one that imbibes the kind of behavioural changes that would influence others, with the goal of helping the party, the leaders and the country, through the portray of good image and the publications of accomplishments.

As the leader of the party, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu’s office is almost always besieged by visitors, whose mentioned mission is to help in the actualization of the ambition of the party. At every opportunity, the Chairman is unequivocal in his message, that the time to play positive politics is now.

“The time for playing politics with such undesirable qualities like manipulation, power abuse and undue self-interest is over, particularly now that the party is presenting a new person on the Presidential ballot”-Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.

To press home his sermon on positive politics, and while receiving a team that came today to partner with the party in its bid for success, the Chairman dismissed the apprehension about the people being unsympathetic to the ruling party, by listening more to the opposition. He said all-over the world, the opposition is listened to more than the government. But that is not to say the government in power is not doing well. Granted, there are areas of concern, and the party is working hard to address them, through the application of positive attitude in politics, he said.

To buttress the bewilderment of PMB on the failure of those entrusted with the responsibility of promoting the achievements of the government, as well as the chairman’s push for positive politics, someone in the visiting team of today said, “If achievements are not communicated, it’s like talking to someone in a foreign language”. The result is that he wouldn’t understand what you are saying. And precisely that’s where PMB has found himself as a victim. Yes, a victim of negative communication.

There is a particular cliché that is circulating in the social media with a query, thus, “Now that Nigerian troops are winning the fight against Bandits in KADUNA STATE, why is it that those agent of DARK-NEWS and their members of Satanic group aren’t reporting?”

The answer is simple- People are not ready to play positive politics, which encourages constructive, but positive criticisms.

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Politics

2023: Abdullahi Adamu’s Thrust And Trust In The Turn Of Tinubu To Turn The Tide

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Abdullahi Adamu APC National Chairman

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

Leadership, particularly political party leadership, is an important responsibility that helps to direct the affairs of the party, for improved efficiency, and the ultimate achievement of it’s goal, which is electoral victory. Leaders are therefore expected to provide the clarity of purpose, motivation, and the needed guidance, for the party to arrive at the bus stop of success. Such thrust from leaders helps in serving several functions that are crucial to the success of the party, especially in the countdown to the general elections.

Nigeria is at that crossroad or critical political juncture, in which every decision made matters beyond the ordinary, and fortunately for the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, the captain of the plane, in the person of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, is a veteran in the art of party politics and the intrigues therein. Because politics is the art of governance, as well as the exercise of control within the party and the society at large, through the making and enforcement of collective decisions, one of the most important functions of a leader is to provide the vision, along with the thrust for the actualization of the vision. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu is not only providing the vision, but also the push or thrust, out of the trust that for the presidential race, it is the turn of Tinubu to turn the tide.

There is an apprehension in the minds of some political pundits, one of whom spoke to me yesterday, that, although the north is the stronghold of the APC, which governs 14 out of the 19 states of the region, but because Tinubu is not from the region, the chances of the north voting for him are slim. They would rather vote for their own, he said. I said to him, sorry, wrong number!. Tinubu’s victory in the north in particular, and the country in general, is a fait accompli.

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All the analysis and permutations are sign posting in the direction of success for Tinubu, and virtually all of them are coming from the mouth of the northerners, including the party chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu. Time without number, I’ve heard the chairman refer to Tinubu as, “ the President in waiting”. And the reason is simple- he is providing the thrust, out of the trust that it is the turn of Tinubu to turn the tide.

To turn the tide means to reverse the situation, and from the body language of the APC northern governors, and the thrust from the party Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Tinubu has come to do that, including shaming the sceptics. It may be recalled that, at the last national convention of the party on the 8th of June 2022, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu polled 1,271 votes, defeating 13 aspirants, after seven others stepped down for him at the last minute. The feat was accomplished through the unanimous support of the 14 northern governors, who were unambiguous in saying that it is the turn of the south to have a go at the presidency.

Yes, there is a justifiable concern that Tinubu would slug it out with the candidates of 16 other parties, including heavy weights like the Waziri of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and Eng. Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP), who are not only from the north, but strong forces to reckon with in the region in particular, and the country in general. But again, sorry, wrong number!, there is a collective thrust and trust, that it is the turn of Tinubu to turn the tide. And the crusade is championed by the Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.

In the beginning, because of the intrigues that played out, some detractors attempted creating a crack in the crusade, by insinuating something secretly illicit against the candidature of Tinubu, pointing accusing finger at the chairman, but that was only in the imagination of the political nincompoop.

Knowing Sen. Abdullahi Adamu well, alongside his non destructive predisposition, Tinubu has been busy debunking the conspiracy, including a personal visit to the chairman, with a follow up by his wife the next day, where they publicly punctured the machination.

The northern support is not surprising anyway, because, in recent years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had taken deliberate steps to build alliances with the political leaders in the north, especially in the states of Katsina and Kano, the key reservoirs of votes in the region. Tinubu’s concern for the concerns of Kano in particular, has helped to woo an incredible support and sympathy for him.

Indeed there is the issue of Kwankwaso and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in Kano, but given the political dynamics of Kano, with the antecedent of the state in voting based on circumstantial merits, as they did in voting Abiola against their own, late Bashir Tofa in 1993, many pundits are of the belief that, the support of the northern governors of the APC, and the trust and thrust by the Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, would combine to convince Kano to agree that, it is the turn of Tinubu to turn the tide.

Hon. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the APC Presidential campaign spokesperson was quick with a josh on the PDP, the presumed brain behind the non existent crack in the APC crusade, thus: “If PDP begs us, we may consider donating the real unifier, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to assist in unifying their ranks, to get them ready for their comprehensive defeat in 2023. We want a healthy opposition during the election. We don’t want the excuse that we fought with a disabled opponent”.

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