2019 Elections: Looters Desperate To Take Power – Buhari Warns APC Stakeholders

President Buhari has warned All Progressives Party (APC) stakeholders to be wary of looters of the national treasury who are desperate to take over power in 2019.

The President stated this on Tuesday night at a dinner with APC Aspirants’ Forum at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He told the aspirants that “those who mismanaged the resources of the country are still very much around, with incredible wealth’’, warning the aspirants to be vigilant and circumspect in making choices as the future would only be salvaged by those who love the country.

The President urged political party aspirants who lost out in the primaries to remain faithful to the country and hold fast on integrity, as there would be more opportunities to serve along the way.

Buhari said the primary motivation to contest elections should be to improve the country and not for pecuniary reasons.

“We must maintain our faith in the country,’’ he told the coalition of party members who contested the primaries.

The President said he contested presidential elections three times before coming to power in 2015, adding that providence would always pave the way for the just, committed and patient politician, who wants to truly serve the country.

“I spoke with the APC party chairman almost every other day, at least for an hour during the primaries. And sometimes, we met for two and half hours on ensuring internal democracy during the primaries,’’ the President said.

He pointed out that in spite of all efforts to appease everyone and give them a chance at the polls, some aspirants were still not treated fairly.

“I urge you to stay faithful if your objective is to serve the country. I came back to power in this “agbada’’ to convince Nigerians to make sacrifices that the country needs now for a better future,’’ he added.

In his remarks, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the meeting was organised to address grievances and fallout from the APC primary elections across the country.

The minister said it would be unfortunate to allow the grievances overshadow the challenges before the country, assuring the aspirants that the government would assuage their yearnings to serve the country.

Malami said the aspirants should work collectively with the President in building the party and setting up a framework that would ensure healthier relationships and better internal democracy.

The leader of the APC Aspirants’ Forum, Hon. Yusuf Banki, said the network of 7,000 members would work to ensure President Buhari’s victory at the polls in 2019.

But reacting to the statement of the President, the PDP said that he was referring to members of his party, the APC as looters who want to desperately takeover from him.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said nobody in the re-branded PDP could be accused of looting the nation’s treasury.

“He has collected all of them and they are now members of his party.

“May be, he is talking about the sleaze in the NNPC, or he is talking about the N200 million used to cut grasses in IDP camps.

“Certainly, he was not referring to members PDP. Those you may refer as corrupt have left PDP, they are now in APC,” Ologbondiyan stated.

Also yesterday, Buhari appealed to political actors to be decorous in their conduct and utterances in order not to fan the embers of disunity.

The President, who spoke while launching the emblem for Armed Forces Remembrance Day, shortly before the Federal Executive Council meeting at Aso Rock, also launched the fund for the support of Nigerian veterans and fallen heroes with N10 million.

‘‘We would have no country to lead if our acts of deliberate incitement lead to the disintegration of our dear nation,’’ the President said in his address at the Council Chambers.

‘‘Let us put Nigeria first and realise that in every contest, there must be one winner,’’ he added.

Buhari reminded the nation that the celebration was a painful reminder of the perils of war and the need for the nation to avoid a recurrence.

‘‘The celebration forcefully reminds us of the resolve of our citizens to remain in one united country, Nigeria.

‘‘It also points out the fact that we had been through a bitter and unfortunate war that led to the loss of millions of our compatriots and the need to do all within our powers to avoid a reoccurrence of war,’’ he said.

President Buhari also used the occasion to appreciate the gallantry and sacrifices of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the campaign against insurgency and other internal security operations.

Noting that the efforts of the armed forces have led to the return of normalcy in affected parts of the nation, the President regretted the recent murder of two young and promising aid workers; Saifura Khorsa and Hauwa Liman, by Boko Haram terrorists.

‘‘It is painful that this happened despite all the efforts of government to effect release of the two victims.

‘‘We condemn the callous and cowardly act in its entirety and call on all citizens and friends to forge a united front against this common enemy of our destiny.

‘‘Once more, I extend the heartfelt condolences of the Government and people of Nigeria to the families and friends of these martyrs,’’ the President said.

He pledged that the resettlement and rehabilitation of citizens affected by the war on terror will continue, commending Dangote Foundation for its partnership with government in the rebuilding process in Borno State.

The President, therefore, called on other corporate organisations to borrow a leaf from this noble initiative, as government alone cannot satisfy all the needs, given her limited resources.

Buhari also expressed delight that businesses operating in Nigeria were beginning to give special consideration to members of the Armed Forces and veterans.

‘‘Specifically, some airlines operating in Nigeria offer discounts to members of the Armed Forces. This gesture is commendable and in line with my call for recognition, consideration and appreciation of our Armed Forces.

‘‘I urge more business ventures to chip in by assisting the Security Forces in whatever way they can,’’ he said.

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