The governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, has said the All Progressive Congress, APC, will be guided by its constitution to resolve whether President Muhammad Buhari will be given an automatic ticket or not for the 2019 presidential election.
He said this while speaking with reporters in Abuja, after the meeting of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, with state governors and National Assembly members, yesterday at the party’s National Secretariat Abuja.
There have been speculations as to whether the president would run or not in 2019 in recent weeks.
A chieftain of the party in the South-west, Bisi Akande, had also ruffled some feathers when he said recently that Mr. Buhari, apart from not indicating interest yet in recontesting, would have to compete with other candidates to secure the party’s nod in 2019.
Mr. Abubakar, who was in the company of Bolaji Abdullahi, the party’s National Publicity Secretary and an APC lawmaker, Ahmed Lawan, said the party had not deliberated on the modalities for the 2019 tussle.
“This meeting has not deliberated on that but the APC has a constitution and that is one of the items that was discussed – the amendment to the constitution of the APC in order to faithfully hold the convention in line with democratic principles, and we will abide by the provisions of our constitution.
”Article 20 (iii) of the APC Constitution 2014 says “nomination of candidates for (f) President shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level,” he said.
He dismissed reports that the president indicted governors for failing to meet up with their financial obligations to civil servants and pensioners, despite the billions they received from the federal government.
He also claimed he does not owe any of his state workers salaries or pensions.
“The President is concerned about the plight of the downtrodden and when you sit with him, he always talks about that. He did not direct any accusation at the governors, because the governors have actually utilised the Federal Government’s intervention for the payment of the salary.
“In Bauchi, I do not owe a dime in salary and pension. We are not begging for support but asking that what is due to us should be paid to us.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Abdullahi said the party supported the president’s charge to the World Bank to site developmental projects in the North as the area needed such support.
The president recently came under verbal attack when it was revealed that he had instructed the global bank to help revamp the fortunes of the North through developmental projects.
“You will recall what was canvassed in the media was that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the World Bank to focus their attention on the North.
“The issue came up for discussion at the meeting and they (APC) threw its weight behind Mr. President. And we would like to clarify in addition to all that had been said that the import of Mr. President’s message to the World Bank was in recognition of the particular devastation that Boko Haram has caused in the North.
“Therefore, when the President asked the World Bank to focus its attention on the North, he had in mind, the necessary reconstruction that needed to happen in that part of the country, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states that have suffered as a result of the Boko Haram activities. It was not, therefore, a statement intended to bifurcate any part of the country and show preference for any part of the country against the other.”
He also said the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun congratulated the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on his birthday and his “feat of bringing some of the significant figures on the African continent to Nigeria.”
Mr. Okorocha had been severely criticised when he erected a statue of South African president, Jacob Zuma, who had come calling.
Apart from the statue, Mr. Zuma also received a traditional title and had a road renamed in his honour.
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