Former aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the auspices of APC360, have urged the party leadership not to ignore allegation by Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, that some elements at the Presidential Villa are working to thwart the chances of the party in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
They observed that the allegations by the governor could be traced to grievances that emanated from primaries held by the party to produce candidates for the 2023 general elections.
APC360, which consists of aspirants that contested various elective posts at the party’s primaries (from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja), urged the APC National Working Committee (NWC) to urgently inaugurate a committee that would interface with aggrieved party loyalists before the presidential election.
National Secretary of APC360, Dr. Chris Enoch, in a statement, said wounds, following the primaries that produced various candidates, have not healed fully. He said the national leadership should not to feign ignorance of division in party ranks, insisting genuine reconciliation is vital to APC’s victory
“We should not feign ignorance of the fact that some party members are dissatisfied with the way they have been treated, especially, after the primary elections where they were not given fair opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.
“One would have expected that all promises made to the aspirants, to the effect of ensuring their incorporation in build-up to the election, would have been honoured. Yet, that has not been the case. They have been rather alienated and treated as people who do not matter in the party.
“Efforts must be made to assuage these party stakeholders, with few days to the election. We are of the opinion that the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC of our great party should immediately constitute a committee to dialogue with these members.”
This came as a former APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, yesterday, raised the alarm over subterranean plot to postpone the general elections. Frank, in a statement in Abuja, enjoined President Muhammadu Buhari not to contemplate or accept any recommendation to shift the polls.
He called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to add to current harrowing experience of Nigerians by shifting the polls. He said the call became necessary, following alleged clandestine efforts by APC to have the elections postponed because of looming failure.
He added: “The international community is waiting to see if you (Buhari) will keep to your promise or whether you deceived them with your promise to ensure holistic electoral reforms in the country.
“Nigerians are ready to go to the polls to correct the evil policies of an uncaring administration, as Bola Tinubu (APC presidential candidate) has confirmed, to free themselves from hardship deliberately inflicted on them through clueless leadership.
“This is a better time to hold this election to enable Nigerians to choose whether to remain in Egypt with APC’s Pharaoh or to cross over to the Promised Land with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
MEANWHILE, religious leaders, under the aegis of Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), have cautioned politicians against stoking political tension ahead of the elections.
The organisation, which comprises 120 Christian and Muslim leaders across Nigeria, also urged electorates to collect their Permanent Voter Cards and vote candidates with proven character into offices.
Co-chairmen of the Forum, Rev. Amos Kiri and Dr. Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyu, made the call while presenting a communique issued at the end of a two-day peace conference and Fifth General Assembly of the Forum in Abuja.
During the conference, which had the theme, ‘Religion and Ethnicity: Safeguarding the 2023 General Elections,’ the religious leaders deliberated on issues of concern, including how challenges of managing the nation’s religious and ethnic diversities have been allowed to create antagonistic cleavages, promote primordial interests, reduce sensitivity to ethno-religious realities, and threaten the corporate existence of the country.
According to the Forum, stakeholders in the electoral process must ensure voters are empowered with enough information to enable them make wise choices and know the implications of letting their voices be heard.
It noted that in safeguarding the elections, Nigerians must ensure matters are not exaggerated and that reactions to ethnic tensions are proportional to issues at hand. The Forum also urged voters to reject financial inducement or coercion that would stop them from voting their conscience.