The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has called on leaders and elders of the party to keep their eyes on the target and work as they have never done before, despite the shift in elections date by six weeks.
He made the call during an address to party leaders and elders at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
“The days and weeks ahead will be tough”, Buhari said. “Our resolve will be tested and all kinds of evil tricks will be on display. But do not despair. The goal is in sight. Change is coming. The people of Nigeria will prevail. God has destined Nigeria to be a great country. We shall overcome and Change shall be achieved”.
The presidential candidate described as “worrisome”, the recent revelations by Capt. Sagir Koli about how he, a serving officer at that time, was deployed, with other serving officers, some more senior in rank, to work with leading figures of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to rig the Ekiti elections.
“Up till now, there has been no official denial of this most unfortunate event. It makes me wonder, in the circumstances that led to shifting of the date of the general elections, whether the security services are even now being prepared to play similar roles in the March 28th and April 11th elections”.
Buhari stressed that Nigeria’s security services have serious constitutional responsibilities to the people of the nation, and so their importance to the wellbeing of the country cannot be under estimated.
“It is therefore imperative that their leaders must not drag these invaluable institutions into the realm of partisan politics”, he said.
The APC presidential candidate also commended some of the party leaders in attendance at the meeting, who lost out in the various primaries to choose candidates for the party during the elections and rather than being disappointed, have thrown their energies and resources into the campaign, not minding their personal losses.
“There are others who have been made mind boggling offers by our opponents in a bid to break our ranks and curtail our momentum in the march to change Nigeria for good, yet you have chosen to be on the side of a cause that is just”, he said.
The former head of state also urged the party leaders and faithful not to assume that the battle is won and concluded.
Buhari said, “The imminent change in answer to the yearnings of our people has been delayed by the postponement of the February 14th, 2015 elections. Our patience and resilience will be tested in the days ahead. We must pass this test.
“Six weeks is a long time and we do not know the plans of the other side but with our strong resolve we will prevail. Therefore let us keep our eyes on the ball”.
The APC flag bearer likened the postponement to a game of football, which has gone into extra-time. “In a time like this, which in football analogy can be referred to as extra-time,we must avoid making costly mistakes. In the weeks ahead, I would like to implore you to remain true to the vision – to build a country that works for all of us and not just for the few”, he said.
Buhari said there is a general consensus among stakeholders “to rescue and stabilise our nation from the hands of plunderers”, adding that “The important issue today is that we must use the next six weeks that have been imposed on us to re-charge and re-focus on our goal. We should aim to achieve a victory that will be beyond dispute and proceed to form the next government and start work on the task of rebuilding our beloved country”.