On behalf of the APC South Africa, as part of the All Progressives Congress home and abroad wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on his well-deserved victory at the poll. The resounding victory is an acknowledgement that he is a man loved by the people. We also wish to acknowledge the victory of all contestants for Senatorial and House of Representatives seats both from the APC, PDP, YPP and all other parties that will be represented in the 9th Assembly. It is heartwarming to know that people were given voices and choices in elections where freewill is allowed to thrive. This is an election not written behind the curtain. Sadly, the election was also marred by disenfranchisement and violence with records of deaths in parts of the country. This is not what we wish for in an election and we hope that future engagement can become better. We can demonstrate that we are not people given to violence in the Gubernatorial and other State elections coming up on the 9th March 2019. Our hearts go out to the families that lost loved ones and are affected by the skirmishes and violence that attends the February 23, 2019 elections. However, given the overall assessment of the electoral processes and the enormous challenge that was before the Independent National Electoral Commission, and considering comments from the electoral observers we gave kudos to the electoral umpire under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. The contributions of all security agents and the good people of a great Nation are acknowledged. NIGERIANS are the WINNERS.
Given the atmosphere that pervade the political space before the election, one cannot say that all is well with the country as it stands and hence enormous challenge lies ahead. We thanked all political actors especially the critics from both sides of the divides. The political hotheads made the 2019 politics reached feverish pitches in different spheres in Nigeria. Nigerians have decided on their national governance and voted their consciences. Yes, people were selfish and thought of themselves, their futures, their offsprings and the type of Nigeria that they will love to have and how to get there. This time around, and as confirmed by election observers, ballot is not just one box in which to drop a paper with thumb print but a decision for the next four years and beyond. Leadership and elective offices have been summed up in a journey and not a destination. Once again, we confirmed robustly that Nigerians are the winners.
Furthermore, given that over the last almost four years, some real progress have been made, the reward of good works can only be more works. Governance is beyond partisanship and should be all inclusive. All political actors will now need to drop the garb of their individual parties and join hands, work together to move the nation forward. The President will need to provide leadership in this regard. A cursory look at the election results will indicate that while the President garnered 15,191,847 votes, a total of 11,262,978 voted for the next contender, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. That should sound a note of warning to the incumbent and the numbers at hands should not be the focus but the ones outside. The reasons for this level of “outside votes” should be explored and addressed by our great party, the All Progressives Congress to avoid enormous disaster in 2023, as it befell PDP in 2015. Many Nigerians believed that the government has not kept faith with the promises made to Nigerians. We are aware of the challenges on ground but efforts must still be intensified and the government can do better by connecting and communicating more with the public. The areas where the party scored significant mileage should be strengthened and the weak areas should be addressed as we go along the journey. It is heartwarming that the Party has now made inroads to places where it was detested earlier, particularly in the South-South and the South-East. The South-West voted their conscience and the North largely voted in one way with many dissenting opinions in all instances. It is instructive to point out the following:
The efforts that have been put on infrastructure development, health, agriculture, empowerment of small business owners should continue unabated. It needs to be proven to Nigerians that the past efforts were not merely implemented to target electoral victories. A clear message must be sent that these programs are here to stay. While we acknowledge the independence of 36 States, as is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution based on the federal system, we implore him to keep close eyes on the governors. Their activities and performances have direct impact on the level of despondency or hope of the public and have direct bearing on the government at the national level. Impunity must not be allowed to thrive. We encourage the President to continue to push for the complete financial and administrative autonomy of the third arm of government, the Local government Authorities (LGAs). Their effectiveness will directly impact on the lives of the citizenry as the closest arm to the people and this will be a major key to success of any serious administration.
Suffice it to say that the diaspora campaigned and delivered by our “operation call home” strategy. We did it successfully in 2015 and better in 2019. Each member was given a target of at least 10 persons to convince. While we cannot quantify the immediate impact of this strategy, we believe that it contribute enormously to the overall electoral success of APC. With this achievement, we implore our dear President to again look into the issue of Diaspora voting and institutionalize it before the end of this administration. It is embarrassing when citizens of other countries ask, “… and so did you vote?” and “how was the election?”, there is no answer to give. It is degrading to Nigeria at this level and period of human development. Nigerians in Diaspora must not be disenfranchised for the fact that they reside outside the shores of Nigeria. The Embassies are our mini-Nigeria outside the shores and can be used to prosecute this agenda. You have scored a first by recognizing Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola as a father of Democracy and with the award of the GCFR. This singular act on Diaspora voting can be another first for your administration.
For the purpose of clarity and for proper guidance, we will like to posit as follows:
A good government, going forward will: 1) Review its activities for the last four years; 2) Look critically into reasons why it has become somewhat unpopular in some areas with the people and revise or discard unpopular decisions principally those that borders on hardship, nepotism and decisions on security, but not by compromising the principles of good governance; 3) Retain reasons only if it is in the best interest of the country and its people for the future; 4) Because all people can be grouped into the innovators –those that may understand immediately, the adopters –those that may understand with delays and the laggards – those that may not see the reason to understand but have to be dragged along on the road to progress, the government must not take criticism as all negative; 5) Consider critically and thrash genuine reasons why some people detest the administration; 6) Get a copy each of the manifestoes of Parties and check how it align with the government developmental agenda and see what to adopt; 7) Avoid bitterness and witch-hunt but call on serious minded opposition members to partner with the government in order to deliver service to the people we serve; 8) Appeal to the nation and call on all to support the government; 9) Regularly review opinions and implementations that bother on improvement of service delivery and good governance; 10) Redouble effort at repackaging and repositioning the National Orientation Agency to be awake to its responsibility. The silence of the agency while the drums of bitterness and hatred sounded loud during the campaigns was antithetic. The office should use the next four years to calm frayed nerves and preach messages of hopes to Nigerians.
The citizens will also do well to keep aside all bitterness that ensued prior to the elections, support the present administration, continue to be the watchdogs who criticizes the government where necessary but gives credits where and when it is due and support the cause of nation building. Many of our religious leaders must be willing to change. Quite a number of them displayed sterling qualities during the electioneering period but some clearly hit below the belts and made people to reconsider their stands. The anointing is not to hoodwink people and preach hatred. It is to give divine directions and guide adherents of beliefs. It is unimaginable and bewilderment to use the anointing, freely given by God to preach the death of a President just because you did not agreed with his principles.
Finally, the supposedly third force must learn a lesson in politics. There is a period for maturity and personal ego must be kept aside in real nation building. It surprised us and leave one in wonderment to see nearly seventy persons and their followers, all claiming to have a solution and that they want to implement, yet they cannot simply agree on how to do it right. Do we have 70 ways of doing it right? We definitely have those with genuine interests as well as political contractors and the deceivers. It is important that we have a potent third force and the youth can begin to reposition themselves for this assignment. However, agreement must be reached, intentions must be filtered and leaders from within the group must come up through genuine consultations. It is important to consider nation building beyond individual personal aggrandizement. In DEMOCRACY, the majority must have their way but the minority must always have their say and this should be taken into consideration all the time.
As a reminder, the administration promised us these three things primarily: assurance of security, rebuilt economy and total war against corruption. This should still be prioritized alongside reuniting the nation.
Congratulations to all Nigerians as we move into the Next Level Train. Do not be left behind.
Engr. Bola Babarinde Chairman APC SA
Prof. Folorunsho Fasina, General Secretary, APC SA