•February 25 elections not perfect—Adamu
The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said yesterday he had no preferred candidates for the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.
Tinubu disclosed this while addressing new members-elect to the National Assembly at a meeting organised by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This is even as the APC also charged senators-elect and the House of Representatives-elect not to rest yet over the electoral victories that paved their ways to the 10th National Assembly, but go back to work for the party’s victory on Saturday, March 18, governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections in their various states.
The President-elect’s position on the composition of the leadership of the soon-to-be composed 10th National Assembly was delivered at the meeting by the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima.
There were speculations that the meeting was convened by the ruling party to sort out the likely distribution of leadership offices in the two chambers of the next National Assembly, to avert a repeat of the 2015 scenario in which the party lost control of affairs within the chambers, despite having majority seats in both Houses.
In his speech at the parley, the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said it was an understatement to say that the ruling party was the clear choice of the people.
“Three times, we asked the people to give us the thumbs up; and three times they did not hesitate to do so. They did so in 2015; they did so in 2019; they have now done it again in 2023. It reminds us that to whom much is given, much is expected.
”It is an understatement to say that much has been given to us and we must reciprocate by giving much more to the people and our dear country.”
He expressed happiness that although the notice for the meeting was short, the response has been overwhelming. “Adamu said:
“It is not an understatement to say that our presence at this meeting points to our preparedness to join hands with the president-elect as he works on his plans to renew our hopes and rebuild our confidence in our government.
The APC national chairman, who told the President-elect, and his vice that they were the new team Nigeria, said: “From May 29 this year, the burden of our national unity, peace, and development will rest on your shoulders as a team.
”The National Assembly elections produced infusions of the old and the new. This blend of the young and the old should be a recipe for a harmonious working relationship.
The exuberance of the new members must be moderated by the age and the experience of the returning members, some of whom are now almost permanent fixtures in the legislature.
“Your elections testify to the people’s renewed hope in the capacity of our party and its leaders at all levels to deliver on its promises to build a prosperous, united, and inclusive nation in which the green passport is our collective identity as compatriots.
“It is a matter of personal pride tinged with humility for me that with your unequivocal support and singular commitment to our common cause as a party, I have been privileged as the national chairman of our party to lead it to victory.
”As the Onitsha man likes to say, it was not easy. It should be no less a matter of our collective pride equally tinged with gratitude that despite whatever our detractors and mischief makers may say, APC has continued to deepen our democracy and has given back to the people the power to institute governments of their choice.
“It is fair and honourable to admit that the February 25 elections were not perfect. We did not set out to conduct perfect elections. World history has no instances of perfect elections. Like all other democratic nations, we set out to conduct free, fair, and credible elections. This we did.
“I am proud to say we achieved this feat and delivered on the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari to the people.
“For the first time in living memory in respect of our elections, there were no allegations of vote-buying and outcry over all the other ills associated with the conduct of our elections. Rigging may not be dead, but it has been decapitated. Our democracy is maturing, and we are maturing with it.
“From the results of the February 25, 2023, general elections announced so far by the electoral umpire, INEC, the APC won the presidency, clean and clear, and a majority in both chambers of the National Assembly.
“We chose not to rout the other political parties because they are our partners in our national progress and development. I look forward to the governorship and state houses of assembly elections on March 18. I am sure the results will make our victory even sweeter.
“We deemed it necessary to convene this meeting for three critical reasons. The first is for the NWC, which is the organ charged with the day to day running of the party to welcome you, for and on behalf of the National Executive Committee, NEC, to the APC family and to impress upon you the fact that APC is much more than a political party. A family is a unit with shared common interests and common objectives.
“The elections at the national level are over. We are now in the critical phase of forming a government. It is a tough phase because whatever we decide from this moment will make or mar the new administration. It is not our portion, Mr President-elect.
“We would like to emphasise teamwork. Neither as president nor as legislators can any one of you go it alone. Once the President and Vice-President are sworn-in and the National Assembly is inaugurated, each of you becomes the face of our government, just as each of you becomes the face of our party in governance.
“Whatever you do and whatever you fail to do will either impact positively or negatively on the interests of the party as a family. Let us remember this in all we shall be doing in each of the two arms of government, to wit, the executive and the legislature.“