A former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate in the Feb. 14, 2015 presidential election, on Thursday promised to govern the country in accordance with the Nigerian constitution if elected.
Mr. Buhari made the promise at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, in his acceptance speech after being declared winner of the party’s presidential primary.
The Chairman of the APC National Convention Committee, Kayode Fayemi, who declared the results of the primary, said Mr. Buhari polled a total of 3,430 votes to defeat former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who got 954votes.
Mr. Fayemi said Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State scored 974 votes, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo 624 votes while Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, the Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, polled 10 votes.
Mr. Buhari, after being declared winner, said: “I understand there are challenges ahead. I promise that my administration will govern Nigeria in accordance with the constitution.’’
He promised to put in place a government that would realise a new Nigeria and put the country on a level where it would be respected more in the international community.
The APC presidential candidate promised to give priority to agriculture, healthcare and creation of wealth as well as enhance the power of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to tackle corruption.
Mr. Buhari, who described his victory as a great triumph of democracy, called for the support of all Nigerians.
“I need your support, I need your help to become the President of Nigeria in next year’s presidential election.
“I see this as an opportunity to rescue the nation from joblessness, poverty and to tackle all its challenges,” he said.
He commended the convention committee and leadership of the party for conducting a hitch-free programme, saying that the outcome of the primary was a testimony that “democracy is at work”.
Mr. Buhari also thanked other aspirants for accepting the outcome of the election and promised to work with them during electioneering.
Read full speech below.
Time To Rebuild Nigeria
Acceptance speech by General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress
National leaders of the APC
Members of the National Executive Council of the APC
Your Excellencies, State Governors
Honourable Members of the House of Representatives and Assemblies
The Chairman and Members of the Convention Committee
State and Local Government Chairmen of the APC
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
First of all, I wish to express my gratitude to the Chairman and members of the Convention Committee for planning and conducting a hitch-free convention. The same appreciation goes to the chairmen of National and State Executive Councils of our party. Thank you very much for doing an excellent job.
I would like to pay tribute to Chief Bisi Akande the first chairman of APC and his National Executive for managing the party in its early stages.
I also wish to commend Lagos State Government and state party for hosting this convention. Time was when people feared to come to Lagos. Today, Lagos is the cleanest and dare I say safest city in Nigeria. This achievement is due to the leadership and strength of purpose of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Babatunde Fashola the two Governors since 1999 and their team of professionals for this wonderful transformation Nigeria greets you!
The outcome of the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress is a demonstration of democracy at work. It is testimony to the fact that democracy as a concept is greater than the interests of individuals in a free and functional political system. What has just happened is not about winning or losing but about the triumph of liberty, freedom of choice and association, which are hallmarks of democracy.
To my fellow contestants; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Mr. Sam Nda Isaiah, I wish to thank you for putting up a good fight. The keenly contested primaries we just had will help to strengthen our party and democracy, and ultimately send our message to Nigerian voters in the impending elections.
To you all, I pay my absolute compliments and congratulate you on the success of your respective campaigns. I extend my gratitude to you all for accepting the outcome of this convention and agreeing to support my candidature as we move forward. I shall meet with you all in the coming days to fashion out how we shall confront the challenge ahead.
My dear fellow countrymen and women, it is with a deep sense of humility that I stand before you today to accept the nomination of my party, the All Progressives Congress to be its candidate and flag-bearer in 2015 presidential elections.
My nomination is not because I am better than any of the other contestants. I see it as a tribute and mark of confidence to carry the torch as we all join hands to rescue our dear country Nigeria, from those who have led us into the current state of insecurity, poverty, sectarian divide and hopelessness among our people.
I stand before you today to ask that you join me in a common cause. My call to you is not to realise the personal fulfilment of one man. This Common Cause is nothing less than the love for our nation and concern for its present condition. And a resolve to make things better for Nigeria.
What I say today is for all Nigerians: Christian and Muslim, Southern and Northern, rich and poor, young and old, man and woman. We are all citizens of Nigeria. There is no dividing line among us that I care to honour. Either we advance as one or fail altogether.
My choice and my colleagues choice and wish is that we progress together. Preserving the nation’s future is a scared obligation to all of us in this party. Leaders should be wholly committed to fulfilling this obligation otherwise they have no business being leaders.
Sadly, the current administration does not believe in this obligation. By their actions they are leading us to calamity.
At International Conferences, the Nigerian delegation is usually among the largest but at the same time the least effective. Our president should have the status and the voice of Africa’s largest nation. But in political influence we are among the weakest.
Shall we at home continue to live in a condition where the Power Holding Company and its successors seem only to have the power to hold us in darkness?
Shall we continue in a situation where 250 of our daughters have been abducted and the government has been unable to rescue them or provide credible information about what steps they are taking?
Shall we live in a nation where several people were trampled to death in search of jobs in a stadium and yet no one has taken responsibility for the tragedy?
Shall we live in a nation where the ranks of the poor swell and their poverty increase while the consorts of the powerful enjoy unprecedented wealth? The lives of the poor are bled dry while those of the powerful soak in excessive abundance.
My answers to these questions are “No, No, No, No!”
It is time to close this demeaning chapter in our nation’s history.
I ask that you join this effort, not for me, but to establish a better land for all of us.
I understand and accept the hard challenge ahead. When all is said and done, let it be written that Muhammadu Buhari gave his all for this nation.
As such, I make these five pledges regarding the government if we are elected next February;
We will govern Nigeria honestly, in accordance with the constitution.
We will strive to secure the country and efficiently manage the economy.
We will strive to attack poverty through broadly-shared economic growth and attacking corruption through impartial application of the law.
We will tolerate no religious, regional, ethnic or gender bias in our government.
We will return Nigeria to a position of international respect through patriotic foreign policy.
We will choose the best Nigerians for the right jobs.
Our government will be committed to the cause of the common man. Whether you are a Christian from Bayelsa State or a Muslim from Katsina State, you are first and foremost a Nigerian in my eyes. I shall treat you equally as my people, my national family, my brothers and sisters. There can be no genuine love of our country without loving all its people in our diversity.
Just as APC stands as a new party for a new Nigeria, our government will institute new policies to realise the new Nigeria.
We shall institute just policies that afford people the dignity of work and pay them a living wage for their sweat and toil. We intend to do this by instituting a national industrial policy, coupled with a national employment directive, that together shall revive and expand our manufacturing sector, creating jobs for our urban population and decreasing our reliance on expensive foreign imports.
We shall implement a national infrastructure master plan that will provide construction and related jobs across the land. Furthermore, by improving our transportation infrastructure through road, rail and port construction we expand the outer bounds of economic growth as no economy can grow beyond the capacity of its infrastructure.
Agriculture remains the backbone of the economy. Our government, when elected, will establish an agricultural policy that provides farmers a dignified living through improved inputs, improved extension services, access to credit and price support mechanisms.
On corruption, the government will enhance EFCC’s powers to investigate independently. Moreover, we intend to plug the holes in NNPC accounting. There will no longer be two sets of books, one for public consumption and another for insiders who profit from this slick fraud. In an APC government, the public will know how much NNPC makes and where all the money goes.
No longer shall illegal flows of massive sums leave these shores to finance other economies. While our people languish in poverty, we effectively give financial aid to nations that is not justified. I am sick of this. It must stop. The money saved will finance jobs, health care and the provision of social safety net for the needy, weak and vulnerable of our land.
We will be a compassionate government, for out of compassion arises the truest forms of wealth and progress a society can attain.
We shall open the door to tertiary education to excellent students who otherwise could not afford it. Pregnant and poor women and children shall be entitled to basic health care.
This is a Nigeria that I envisage but it is a far cry from the Nigeria that is now. Change is imperative if we are to avoid the impending national failure. Poor leadership placed us in the ditch. Continuation of poor leadership will only dig a deeper trench for all of us to fall in.
Let us join hands in progressive union to pull each other and the nation from the abyss.
I pledge to do my utmost to make this happen but cannot do it alone. I need your support. I need your help to become President of Nigeria so that government may come to serve you, so that it may bring relief to the broken and weary among us and so that it may usher in a new Nigeria meant for us all, a Nigeria that is the birthright of everyone but the exclusive possession of no one.
God bless you.
God bless our fatherland – Nigeria
General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
December 11, 2014