Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned aggrieved aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress to be careful of the choice they make because those who mismanaged the nation’s resources in the past are still around.
A statement on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted the President as saying this at a dinner with the APC Aspirants Forum at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday evening.
“Those who mismanaged the resources of the country are still very much around, with incredible wealth,” the President said.
He warned the aspirants to be vigilant and circumspect in making choices as the future will only be salvaged by those who love the country.
Buhari urged them to remain faithful to the country and hold fast to integrity as “there will be more opportunities to serve along the way.”
Buhari said the primary motivation to contest elections should be to improve the country, and not for pecuniary reasons.
“We must maintain our faith in the country,’’ he told the coalition of party members who contested the primaries.
The President said he contested presidential elections three times before coming to power in 2015, adding that providence would always pave the way for the just, committed and patient politician who wanted to truly serve the country.
“I spoke with the APC party chairman almost every other day, at least for an hour during the primaries. And sometimes, we met for two and half hours on ensuring internal democracy during the primaries,’’ the President said.
He pointed out that in spite of all efforts to appease everyone and give them a chance at the polls, some aspirants were still not treated fairly.
“I urge you to stay faithful if your objective is to serve the country. I came back to power in this agbada to convince Nigerians to make sacrifices that the country needs now for a better future,’’ he added.
A governorship aspirant from Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Wadada, told reporters that the President assured them that their cases would be looked into and justice served.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, confirmed that the aspirants pledged to work for the party.
He said, “The meeting went very well and the aspirants showed the spirit of comradeship and pledged to work with the President and all the candidates that the party has chosen and filed with the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“The aspirants were very conciliatory and the President showed fatherhood.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the meeting was organised to address grievances and fallout from the APC primary elections across the country.
The minister said it would be unfortunate to allow the grievances to overshadow the challenges before the country, assuring the aspirants that the government would assuage their yearnings to serve the country.
Malami said the aspirants should work collectively with the President in building the party and setting up a framework that would ensure healthier relationships and better internal democracy.
The leader of the APC Aspirants Forum, Yusuf Banki, said the network of 7,000 members would work to ensure Buhari’s victory at the polls in 2019.