Leadership: Buhari, Akande, others unfold APC manifesto today

05By Nasir El-Rufai

The All Progressives Congress (APC) will today present its eight cardinal programmes to the whole world in Abuja, as the leaders of the new party — General Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Bisi Akande and others — address the press on the state of the nation. According to an informed party source, today’s press conference will be used to address some burning issues in the polity and proffer alternative programmes to the people who are eagerly awaiting the 2015 general election, which the party is optimistic would be in its favour. The source said, “General Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Bisi Akande and a few other chieftains will address the press in Abuja tomorrow (today) on the state of the nation and possibly present the APC’s eight cardinal programmes to the whole world. We have been telling PDP that it has failed; the politics of issues has begun, we have no business in frivolous things, we have a better alternative programme for the country and we would present it probably at the conference.” The party’s spokesman, Lai Mohammed, on Sunday issued a statement asking the spokesman of the president, Dr Doyin Okupe, to stop insulting Nigerians and instead tell the populace why the PDP failed them, even as he disclosed what the APC programmes contain. He stated: ”Our eight cardinal programmes, which we shall be articulating in the days ahead, represent a summary of how we intend to rescue the long-suffering citizens and rescue our nation. These are War Against Corruption, Food security, Accelerated Power Supply, Integrated Transport Network, Free Education, Devolution of Power, Accelerated Economic Growth and Affordable Health Care. ”Our Guiding Philosophy will derive its impetus from these seven principles: Belief in, and the fear of God; Upholding the rule of law; Preserving national unity; Pursuit of a just and egalitarian society; Building of strong institutions; Commitment to social justice and economic progress; and Promoting representative and functional participatory democracy. ”These are the issues we will be enunciating in the days ahead as we steer the politics of our nation away from jejune matters that are at the core of the PDP misrule to serious issues of relevance that will benefit our people under an APC federal government.” The statement added that a party that defies rules and lies through its teeth cannot be trusted to rule over a people who are eager for their country to join the comity of developed nations. “While one of the PDP gong-bearers, Okupe, was telling Nigerians that President Jonathan has not informed anyone that he will contest in 2015, his wife was coercing hundreds of hapless women, including those in uniform, into a show of shame tagged a “Peace Rally”, but in essence a campaign for President Jonathan ahead of 2015,” Mohammed added. No zoning of presidency in APC – Shekarau Former Kano State governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has disclosed that the APC has not made any provision to rotate the presidency to any particular part of the country, saying that all merging parties from every part of the country have equal opportunity to contest for the post of president in 2015. Shekarau, who spoke during an Hausa service programme of Freedom Radio in Kano yesterday, also said that “electing a leader is a collective decision of the people, not of the party”. The former ANPP presidential candidate in the 2011 election said constitutional common sense will be the guiding principle of the APC leadership, unlike in the ruling PDP where power is rotational. Shekarau also cleared the impression that Chief Bisi Akande was made the interim national chairman of APC because his party (ACN) has more serving governors than any merging party, saying that he was rather made the chairman based on understanding. He explained that the APC agreed on a transitional provision that binds them to a common ground which in turn brings about the nomination of 35 members to steer the affairs of the party at national level within the period of six months. He said, “This 35-man interim leadership cuts across all merging parties with nine members from each party, including groups from APGA with six members and two members from DPP.” Shekarau added that the interim leadership of the APC will ensure the issuance of party membership cards, establishment of committees to man the affairs of the party at state and local government levels, and design a manifesto that will serve as a guide in electing party leadership. According to him, preceding the registration of APC, the party has no leadership at states, local governments and wards level, saying it remains the choice of the 35-man interim leadership of the party to have their eyes and ears in each state. The former Kano governor explained that the APC has come up with a new provision of electing party leadership at the unit level (ballot box point) where an open ballot will be carried out to elect 12 or more people to watch over the ballot box at polling units. He reiterated his party’s commitment to ensuring internal democracy take its hold in electing individuals to fill leadership positions of the party. Where consensus is necessary, it will be done, he said. leadership

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