Text of Address by General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, at the Inauguration of the National Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressive Congress, APC, on Monday, January 12, 2015.
1. I would like to welcome all of you to this occasion and most sincerely thank all members of our great party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, for their support and tireless devotion to the ideals that brought us together. With your permission, Mr Chairman, I would first of all like to thank those leaders who toiled and gave their all to make the merger that gave birth to our party such a great success.
2. Let me seize this opportunity to first pay special tribute to the leadership given by Chief Bisi Akande to the entire enterprise. It is no exaggeration to say that APC owes everything to the leadership given, the tact, wisdom and fairness displayed by Chief Akande.
3. Next, I would like to recognise Asiwaju Bola Tinubu whose sacrifices, organisational skills and extensive political network did much to straighten and cement the blocks of the merger and then take APC to unprecedented heights of acceptance in important areas of the country.
4. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of you for the confidence you have decided to repose in me to be the presidential flag bearer of our great party. I feel honoured and thoroughly humbled.
5. In addition, I want to thank each one of you who have accepted to serve on Presidential Campaign Council. I have no words to thank you enough. Needless to say, your choice to serve on this council is in recognition of your dedication and commitment to the ideals of our party, and it is in each case on merit.
6. I would like to thank all the colleague-aspirants with whom I vied for the presidential ticket of our great party for everything — for all the sportsmanship displayed, for gallantry in their concession, and in the promptness with which party unity was affirmed and restored. We must congratulate ourselves for one of the cleanest and keenest-fought political contests this country has yet witnessed. Our ability to sink whatever differences of opinion we have shows the level of our political maturity, and our capacity for growth. And the experiences, approaches, talents and skills that we have individually brought to the common party pool have that much enriched and strengthened our party as it embarks on its way to victory.
7. I should like to congratulate the party and especially His Excellency Chief Kayode Fayemi for conducting the most transparent primary election in Nigeria. That election has become an example and a reference point, and it should become the new standard by which all subsequent inter-party and intra-party elections in the country will in future be judged.
8. Finally, I would like to thank Professor Yemi Osinbanjo for accepting to bring his rich repertoire of experience and expertise to enrich a ticket that will be leading this country in the next few months.
9. And just as our primary election was an example for the nation, so must our conduct of the campaign also be exemplary. As I said in my address to some of our supporters on September 30, 2014, I would like to repeat: “With your support, I intend to offer myself for the position of the president of the republic on the platform of our great party. I intend to make a formal announcement on October 8, and I hope I can count on your continuing support and sacrifice. However, I would like to point out to you that, to be more meaningful, your support must extend beyond my person and always be available to the party and all those the party puts forward; because it is the party that is the platform.
10. “You must at all times remember that the APC is a party with several qualified people for each and all the positions that will be contested, including that of the president. It is the primaries that will determine who eventually represents the party in which capacity. If I get the party nomination, I expect you will redouble your effort and commitment until we clinch the presidency. But in the event that it happens to be one of the other aspirants who wins, I will expect you as good party men to extend to him your total support. We are a united party, and united we shall remain, because our strength lies in our unity.”
11. “For this and for other reasons, I must warn all my supporters, volunteers and other well-wishers within the party or even out of it not to insult or be rude to any other aspirant or party leader on my behalf. My supporters must not engage in any kind of behaviour or conduct that will tarnish the image of any leader or promote division and rancour within the ranks of the party. Whoever does that should know he or she is working for the enemy.”
12. “At the same time, I would like to appeal and urge you to be good ambassadors of the opposition. As a body, the opposition is committed to the rule of law; and as members of the parties in the opposition, you must learn to do the same at all times. In particular, you must learn to be vigilant especially just before, during and immediately after elections, whether these are rigged or not, so that sponsored hoodlums are not made do not commit illegalities that are in the end blamed on you. Not only must you not take the law into your hands, no matter the level of provocation, you must be able to expose those planning to do so before they act.”
13. “I know it is all too painful for you to see votes you cast being disregarded and votes illegally thumb printed being counted to rig out the choice that you have legitimately and conclusively made. And it is even more painful when you know that the road to remedy has been firmly shut in your face; for, you are always called on to accept a judgment whose justice you cannot see, whose logic is flawed and whose facts speak against itself.”
14. “All the same, I urge you to take to patience. I wish to assure you that the leadership of the opposition is not unmindful of this sad and frustrating situation, and has accordingly put in place a mechanism that will permanently put an end to rigging in this country.”
15. We intend to prosecute this campaign to win and we shall win. We undertake to end the impunity of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, a party that has proved clueless in every material particular. It has failed to address any of the important concerns of the people of this country. It has filed to deal squarely with the great security challenge that has faced this nation within these last five years. And it has remained touchy and impervious to all constructive criticism, and without concern for human life and for the suffering going on in the land.
16. As we campaigned, Boko Haram attacked Baga town in Borno State, reportedly killing 2,000 people; but to this clueless government, this toll is just a number, a statistic that adds up to the litany that has gone before it. And worst of all, this PDP government has split the country along all known fault lines. It is time to send them into deserved retirement; which, in the normal cause of events, it will have done nothing to deserve.
17. On our part, we have solemnly promised this nation that we are going to secure it against all threats, manage its resources efficiently and with demonstrable transparency, and then fix whatever is amiss in it. Under an APC government, no one will go to bed hungry, angry with the government or with the fear of insurgents or nocturnal visitors. We shall secure the government for the people and fix it. And, verily, we shall deliver on every of our promises.
18. Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure and privilege to formally inaugurate the 2015 National Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressive Congress, APC, under the leadership of His Excellency Chief Rotimi Amaechi, with the following suggested terms of references;
a) To give a sense of participation and belonging to major stakeholders and engenders widespread support for the project.
b) The body acts as a buffer between the campaign organization and the Presidential candidate and Vice Presidential candidate.
c) The board identifies and resolves conflicts arising from the operation of the campaign organization.
d) The board enunciates and monitors broadstrategic objectives of the campaign.
e) The board serves as mechanism for checks and balances in the overall efforts towards achieving set objectives of winning the general elections of 2015.
f) The board shall oversee the campaigns voters registration and anti-voter suppression efforts.
g) The board shall ensure that the campaign’s messaging is consistent with and incorporates the key planks of the party manifesto.
h) The board will ensure that resources will be made available and appropriately allocated to assist the campaign.
19. Needless to add, Chief Amaechi is a fighter who has never failed in any assignment, and every member of the presidential campaign council has been chosen on account of experience and expertise and proven track record. With such a team and with the unprecedented acceptance that the APC enjoys in all parts of the country, the question is not whether the party will defeat the PDP. The question is the nature of the landslide with which the clueless party will be sent packing. I promise you that the landslide will be unprecedented.
20. And with suggested terms of reference as your guide, I urge you to put all your trust in God and the support of the people; and victory is yours. May God guide and bless the APC in its quest to rescue Nigeria. And to us, it is a done deal. Less than two years ago, APC was just a dream. It became a promise. Then it became a reality; and, today, it is a miracle—a miracle waiting to happen. And it will happen.
21. I would like to thank all of you for your patience and attention.