President Muhammadu Buhari promptly launched his campaign for a second term in office early on Sunday morning after being overwhelmingly endorsed as candidate by 14,842,072 members of the All Progressives Congress across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Taunting the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which had governed Nigeria for 16 years, up till May 2015, President Buhari asked the party, also holding its convention simultaneously in Port Harcourt, what it did with all the money earned under its watch.
“Fellow Nigerians, think how much PDP governments earned between 1999 to 2015. Think what they did with it.
Infrastructure down! Security down! 18 local governments of Nigeria under control of a hostile army of insurgents. Reserves depleted! Bankruptcy around the corner.
“What did they do with your money?”, Buhari asked in a tone indicative of fireworks to be expected in the weeks ahead for the electioneering campaign.
Mr Buhari thanked all eligible members of the party who stepped down their ambition to allow him emerge as the party’s sole aspirant and now its candidate.
“I thank you all for your encouragement and support, and I will not disappoint the people of Nigeria,” he said.
The president paid special tribute to the party’s national leadership and its founding fathers and the National Presidential Convention Committee for organising what he called a perfect convention.
He maintained that the federal government was tackling corruption head-on, and it is also rebuilding the economy and developing infrastructure, saying that the APC was proud of its achievements.
He also said that his recent interactions with the international community have been very encouraging, adding that the international community was giving the Nigerian government the necessary support.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the reported 14.8 million votes that Mr Buhari received from APC members in a direct primary was announced early Sunday morning by the Ekiti State Governor elect, Kayode Fayemi, who was the chairman APC Presidential Primary Election Committee. Mr Fayemi had also chaired the APC Convention in Lagos in 2014 that elected Buhari as the party’s candidate.
The result was later affirmed by no fewer than 7,000 delegates from across the federation and the FCT through a yes vote.
The delegates were made up of three from each local government area elected at the party’s recent state congresses aside the statutory delegates.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo who is the Chairman APC National Presidential Convention Committee, described Mr Buhari as the “antidote for all political locusts.”
“He is the insecticide for all political termites and the saviour of the oppressed and downtrodden, and the best president for the people.
“We are impressed by his exemplary honesty, sincerity and commitment to a greater Nigeria,” he said, adding that President Buhari has positively impacted on the lives of Nigerians in the last three and half years.
He called on Nigerians to vote for him again in 2019 to enable him consolidate on his achievements and take the country to greater heights.
Mr Ajimobi said the convention had opened a new chapter in Nigeria’s political history and called on APC members not to succumb or be distracted by the negative propaganda of the opposition.
“We have a job to do, let us all join hands with President Buhari and roll up our sleeves for the task ahead,”he said.
Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, formally presented President Buhari to the convention as the party’s 2019 presidential candidate, amidst cheers from delegates and other party members.
“I hereby formally present President Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of our party for the 2019 presidential election to everyone here and to Nigerians, and by the grace of God, victory shall be ours,” he said.
Present at the convention were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC Governors, National Assembly members and party delegates from the 36 states and FCT.