President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will not make the mistake of seeking to extend his tenure in office beyond 2023, vowing to stick to the prescription of Nigerian constitution.
He said that beside the factor of age, the oath he swore with the Holy Book is still potent, insisting that he is in his last term as president.
The President gave the assurance while addressing members of the All Progressives Congress at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at APC secretariat in Abuja.
Promising to handover to whoever Nigerians may chose as their leader post 2023, President Buhari expressed desire that the party retains power beyond 2023, and challenge all members of the NEC of the party to work hard to dominate their constituencies.
It appears there is a subtle push by chieftains of the party to lure him to stay beyond his term, but the president said he has gone through all the mills of politics, and that no politician can tell him anything.
“I am the President but APC is in charge and I am concerned about history because having been a governor, a minister, in detention, attempted (presidency) four times and gone to Supreme Court three times, there isn’t much that any Nigerian politician can tell me. I have gone through all the mill.
“So please, I will like to carry you along to make sure that we have woken up this country and wherever we find ourselves, we make sure that APC has become a permanent body. I said we should read the Constitution because I will not make the mistake of attempting to have a third term or whatever term.
“Besides the age, I swore by the Holy book that I believe in, that I will go by the Constitution and the Constitution says two terms. I know that I am in my last term and I can afford to be reckless because I know i will not be asking for anybody’s vote. For that reason, I want you to read the Constitution and make sure that what the Constitution”.
President Buhari, who regretted the setbacks the party suffered in Imo, Bauchi Zamfara and Sokoto urged the party members to devote time to reading the constitution of the party to avoid a repeat of the errors that denied APC opportunity to retain power in those states.
Apparently fearing possible implosion of APC against backdrop of internal crisis rocking the APC, Buhari urged members not to allow the party to collapse after 2023.
“Yesterday at the meeting of the caucus, I made some comments which are still relevant here but to me, the most important is that every member of NEC should reposition himself or herself to make sure that you have dominated your constituency politically
“The aim is that, as I mentioned yesterday, history will not be fair to us out rightly if the APC collapses at the end of this term.
“History will be fair to us if the APC remained strong and not only holds the center but make gains. People will reflect with nostalgia that once upon a time, the builders of APC made a lot of sacrifices, worked very hard. The sacrifices are physical, material and moral to make sure that we maintain the Leadership, politically of this system.
“This is what we should all aim at and ensure that our constituencies understand us and follow us to this great objective.
“If for any other reason, you divide the party, at any constituency and it causes failure, then be prepared that history will not recognise you as a leader at any level at anytime.”
Buhari also used the occasion to berate the nation’s elites over the poor state of the country’s infrastructure, observing that for 16 years, the elites looked on while the PDP government frittered away trillions of resources .
According to him, the PDP was earning 2.1 million barrels of oil daily at $100 for 16 years and yet fail to fix the roads and railways.
In an attendance at the August gathering are leaders of the party, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande; Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Vice President, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wade; Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya; Deputy Senate Leader, Prof. Ajayi Borrofice; Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and Deputy Senate Whip, Sabi Abdullahi.
Also in attendance were governors of Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule, Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum, Kogi, Yahaya Bello, Katsina, Aminu Masari, Edo, Godwin Obaseki, Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi, Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru, etc. the suspended Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua and the suspended Deputy National Chairman North, Lawal Shuiabu were also present.
Also speaking at the meeting, APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, noted that despite the plot by some renegade members of APC to pull out of the party at the last minute, that the party made gains that gave her unassailable lead in the two Chambers of the National Assembly.
He mocked former Senate President Bukola Saraki, pointing out that his plot against the APC fell flat before the electorate. In a veiled reference to Senator Dino Melaye, Oshiomhole said he too will be retired from the Senate.
“There is one that he’s still struggling but as it is, he is at 20,000 feet below ground level and he’s hoping that there would be miracle that would bring him to ground level and climb the tree to the Senate but by the special grace of God, under your leadership, that deficit, there will be no miracles in the election, particularly when they are free and fair. God willing, by the end of the month, when the re-run in Kogi State would be done, the sixteenth stubborn one will go the way of the other 15. That for me is remarkable because the message is clear that gradually but steadily when anyone who UAE the popularity of a particular political party, in this case, those who rode on the back of Mr President to win election turned round to monetise it and use that same power to attack not only the Presidency but to attack the institution of our party. I think those lessons will linger for us.”