Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari and the party are not jittery over the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the main opposition Presidential candidate in 2019 election.
Atiku was elected by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as its Presidential flag bearer during the party’s national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday.
Speaking with State House correspondents after leading four governors of the party to a closed-door meeting with President Buhari over the just concluded party’s primaries, Chairman of the APC Governors Forum and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, was optimistic that Buhari would be reelected in 2019.
Other governors at the meeting attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, included Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi); Abdullahi Gamduje (Kano); Kashim Shettima (Borno); and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos)
Also at the meeting was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Okorocha said that the party had no reason to lose sleep over Atiku’s emergence.
According to him, the party has concluded not to engage in any verbal attacks with any candidate in the forthcoming election.
He said that the APC governors were at the State House not only to congratulate Buhari for being elected as the party’s presidential candidate, but to also request for a date when they would bring all the party’s governorship candidates to him to show their readiness for the 2019 political battles.
He added “For the Governors to come together with our followers and supporters to further inform the world for our readiness to deliver him in 2019 election.
“This is just basically the message we have come and to say that Mr. President is more than ever ready for the entire exercise.
“Our election this time will not engage on castigations or talking. We will be taking on issues, Nigerians are tired of political abuses, what we want to be talking about is issues, the tract records of people involved in our elections.
“Nigerians are very wise now, before they elect anybody they will ask questions, what has been your tract records, who were you before, who are you now and everything about you. And for that reason we are confident that in 2019, APC will go through.
“We have also looked at the issues concerning our primaries, in every democracy, you should expect a kind of disagreement and we have kindly requested that something be done to bring warring factions together so that we can have a united party to face the challenges ahead and we are happy that will soon take place.
“Most of the problems have been resolved except for one or two states where we have issues and where it becomes more difficult, we ask for Mr. President’s intervention in the matter.
“We are talking about reconciliation, what is important to us is that we must never go into this battle, a divided family and we want to make sure that all governors are intact, all national assembly members are intact while going into this battle. We will never speak differently, we will speak as members of the party.” he said
On whether the controversy surrounding the Zamfara State APC primaries was part of the discussion, he said, “Zamfara is one of the issues that we have addressed also.”
Asked whether the APC was jittery because of the emergence of for Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the PDP and his tough stance since he emerged, he said that the party was not jittery at all.
He said, “I don’t know about talking tough, we can’t be jittery and history is there to speak, history is very important and it is there to speak so like I said we are not going to engage in this verbal war with anybody, we will be talking about issues. If we say look, you are not good, we tell you what we can do and we cannot do and what others cannot do.
“APC is not going to join in those talk shop but right we are discussing issues of what our party can for our people.”
On what was the President’s response, he said, “The President is quite happy with the whole outing and he is looking for a date to invite the governors, in fact, he will give us a date to celebrate him and tell the world our joy and happiness that he emerged as our Presidential flag bearer which is victory assured 2019.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha described the APC governors meeting with the President as a welcome development.
He said, “It is a welcome development, we are one big family in a contest there is bound to be winners and losers but in the spirit of the game of politics which is like any other sports, after the game is over, whoever has emerged victorious must be magnanimous and gracious in his victory and whoever has lost out will also accept it in the spirit of sportsmanship.
“So, this is a welcome move, our governor who is the Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, has spoken rightly all the things that are in motion to ensure that we quickly heal the wounds and bring the family together for a greater task ahead.
“We are a government that has credibly performed this morning I had the privilege of laying before the council a compendium of the policies, the programmes and the projects initiated and implemented by this government in two and half years. A total of one thousand and forty two page documents, not stories, facts of what we have been able to achieve.
“I think we are set to record, this campaign will be driven by issues, this campaign must be predicated on what you are able to bring to the table for the people of Nigeria. It is not going to be a noisy campaign, anybody that is preparing for noise should be prepared to receive defeat in February of 2019,” he said.