President Muhammadu Buhari has denied speculations by critics and partisans that he was working towards getting a third term in office, saying he would exit the scene by 2023 in accordance with the Constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the assurance in his opening remarks at a meeting of the National Executive Council NEC of his ruling All Progressives Congress APC at the National Secretariat in Abuja.
Contrary to speculations widely circulated in the media, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will not make the mistake of seeking a third term in office, declaring that the Nigerian constitution does not allow him to contest for a third term as President, and that he will leave by 2023
he said apart from his age, he was limited by the constitution which provides for two terms for anyone occupying the Presidency. “I know that I’m doing my last term and I can afford to be reckless because I’m not going to ask for anybody’s vote (again).”
The President also told NEC members to go back to their constituencies and provide purposeful leadership that would endear them to party members.
“It is OK, I’m the President, but the APC is in charge. I am concerned about history because having been a governor, a minister, in detention, attempted the Presidency four times and gone to the Supreme Court three times, there isn’t much that any Nigerian politician can tell me. I have gone through the mill,” promising to work hard to sustain the party and ensure it survived beyond 2023.
He also warned party leaders against divisive tendencies that could make the party fail in future elections. “The most important thing is that every NEC member should reposition themselves to make sure they have dominated their constituencies politically.
“History will not be fair to us, quite rightly, if the APC collapses at the end of this term. History will be fair to us if the APC remains strong, not only at the centre, but (also in the states) to make gains.
“People will reflect with nostalgia that once upon a time, the builders of the APC made a lot of sacrifices, worked very hard. The sacrifices are physical, material and moral to make sure that we maintain the political leadership of this system.
“This is what we should all aim at and we should ensure that our constituencies understand us and follow us to achieve this great objective.”
Buhari also described the defeat of the party in Imo, Bauchi, Sokoto and Zamfara states in the last general elections as unfortunate.
He said, “I want you to read the constitution of the party, understand it and from tomorrow stick to it. You must make sure the people elected from the polling units, wards, local governments and states are respected in their constituencies.
“This is the only way you can make this party survive, this is the only way history will be kind to us that we have led with absolute concern for the people and the country.
“If for any other reason, you divide the party at the constituency and this leads to failure, you should be prepared that history will not recognize you as a leader at any level.”
Buhari also described the relationship with the ninth National Assembly led by Dr Ahmad Lawan as smooth, unlike what was obtained in the eighth National Assembly led by Dr Bukola Saraki.
He said, “The ninth Assembly has so much commitment. We sit together on important issues and we make a lot of progress.
“We will try to maintain this relationship because there are a lot of things that will not go public. “We cannot allow those things to go public but I want to tell you that we are making a lot of progress.”
Buhari, however, said it was hard for Nigerians to feel the impact of his government because of the 16-year “misrule” of the previous People’s Democratic Party-led administration.
He blamed the elite for keeping quiet while the PDP was allegedly wasting the country’s resources.
In his earlier speech, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said the APC-led administration had achieved successes in the economy, security and anti-corruption war.
He also said the eighth National Assembly leadership frustrated the Buhari administration between 2015 and 2019.
“By the special grace of God, the electorate chose to punish them with their Permanent Voter Cards and their ballot papers. They were all voted out and APC senators were voted to replace them,” he said.
In a veiled reference to Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West District, Oshiomhole said, “There is one that is still struggling, but as it is, he is at 20,000 feet below ground level and he is hoping there would be a miracle that would bring him from the ground level and climb the tree to the Senate.
“God willing, by the end of the month, when the re-run in Kogi State would be done, the 16th stubborn one would go the way of the other 15.”
Top officials at the NEC meeting included the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; a former interim APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Senate President, Lawan; Deputy Senate President, Mr Ovie Omo-Agege; and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase.