President Muhammadu Buhari has assured members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the party’s leadership will sustain the hearing and healing process it started to ensure fairness, justice, and oneness before the 2023 general elections.
He gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with some APC senators on the outcome of the party’s primaries and their implications.
The President noted the complaints received by some members, saying machinery had been put in place by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to address their various concerns.
He, however, urged party members to exercise restraint and continue to demonstrate commitment to the ideals while the leadership continues to build and develop the APC and the country.
“I have noted your grievances, particularly as it concerns the just concluded processes, the cost to the nation, the threat to the majority position held by our party in the legislative chambers, and likely consequent cost to the electoral fortunes of our party as we approach the general elections,” the President was quoted in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.
“We must not allow these dire threats to come to pass. I must acknowledge that in every contest, there must be a level playing ground just as there would be grievances at the end. That is the test of our democratic credentials, systems, and practices. I have since the conclusion of the processes been inundated with various reports and complaints.”
President Buhari promised the lawmakers that justice would prevail, and aggrieved members would be assuaged, adding that the interest of the party and the nation would be protected.
In keeping with the party’s ethos, he vowed to continue to address the ensuing challenges and grievances through the APC machinery while paying keen attention to the outcomes.
“I must also remind you of the primacy of justice in all our actions. If justice is denied, the outcome is usually unpleasant,” the President told the senators. “This is because you are the members who keep the party running.
“I should add that as part of the policy of using the party machinery for effective resolution of conflict, the Chairman and some members of the National Working Committee visited the National Assembly recently to dialogue with our legislators.
“The leadership of the party is currently addressing the outcomes as part of the way forward. I am encouraging all the party functionaries to adhere to the truth and to be fair to all parties in any dispute.”
President Buhari also informed the APC senators that the strength and victory of the party in the election would depend on the unity of members and the ability to prevent injustices or heal them, whether perceived or real.
He said, “As the leader of the party, one of my primary roles is to ensure that our culture of internal democracy and dispute resolution is strengthened by creating the opportunity for members to ventilate their opinions, views, and grievances at different levels.
“Notwithstanding the fact that we have accomplished 23 years of uninterrupted democratic governance, our journey is still in a nascent stage, and we continue to learn from our challenges and mistakes. Similarly, our party is still evolving in its culture and practices, and it is my expectation and hope that we shall attain a mature level in our internal conduct.’’
The President thanked the senators for suggesting a meeting on the issues, which include the future of the party and pursuing solutions to the challenges thrown up by the recent election-related activities, particularly, the primaries.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation and Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, said at least 22 senators and members of the party were unhappy with the outcome of the primaries in their states, noting that they felt disenfranchised by the process.
He explained that the legislators had made sacrifices for the growth of the party and democracy in the country and asked for the President’s kind intervention.
“Mr President, in the Senate, we have worked hard and consistently sold your programmes beyond party lines. Be assured always of our support,” said Kalu