What APC Cau­cus mem­ber told Buhari – Nkire

Chief Sam Nkire is a mem­ber of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) Na­tional Cau­cus. In this ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the leader of Abia state APC speaks on the key is­sues dis­cussed at last Mon­day’s Cau­cus meet­ing and re­ac­tions of Pres­i­dent Muham­mad

Sunday Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Muideen Olaniyi

ADaily Trust on Sun­day,

s a key mem­ber of the APC Na­tional Cau­cus, what is your as­sess­ment of the two meet­ings held last week?

The way the meet­ings went shows that the party is strong and ready to do busi­ness and face any elec­tion. You could see at the meet­ings that the pres­i­dent is back with his vigour and is ready to work. He is fo­cused and ready to gain all the lost grounds dur­ing his ill­ness. He is work­ing hard and he is look­ing strong. He un­der­stood all the mis­takes that hap­pened dur­ing his ab­sence and is ready to straighten them out. Even though with the seem­ing dis­agree­ments that are ex­ag­ger­ated, like in ev­ery big fam­ily and ev­ery big po­lit­i­cal party, as the APC, there is no gain­say­ing that a few peo­ple were not happy - peo­ple who worked for the party, who are just watch­ing the gov­ern­ment’s moves with­out know­ing what is hap­pen­ing. Many of them have ex­pressed their anx­i­ety. But the pres­i­dent, more than ever be­fore, ap­pears to ap­pre­ci­ate these prob­lems and has promised to do some­thing about them.

Dur­ing the Cau­cus meet­ing, were they able to ex­press their dis­plea­sure?

Yes, mem­bers told the pres­i­dent what they wanted and what they thought should be done to rein­vig­o­rate the party. And he wel­comes them. Things like some Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) peo­ple who joined the party af­ter the elec­tion, and many of them have been ap­pointed into boards, leav­ing out peo­ple who worked for the vic­tory of the party. Some PDP peo­ple too are still in of­fice, whereas, the APC peo­ple are not ac­com­mo­dated in the gov­ern­ment. These is­sues were ex­pressed in the pres­ence of the pres­i­dent and he noted them. There was free­dom of speech. Peo­ple spoke their minds even though con­struc­tively. And they let the pres­i­dent know what was go­ing on among the APC fam­ily. He made us to un­der­stand the poor rev­enue and econ­omy he in­her­ited. As at the time he came, oil was sell­ing at $35 per bar­rel. Now, it has gone up to $60 per bar­rel. So, it’s a great im­prove­ment. He said that this has given him vigour to work and ad­dress some of these prob­lems.

At the last Cau­cus meet­ing, they dis­cussed the is­sue of the need to re­view the Board of Trus­tees (BoT) of the party. What is the up­date now?

Over­whelm­ingly, peo­ple wel­come trans­form­ing the BoT into an El­ders Coun­cil. It is still in the burner. And con­sti­tu­tion can­not change with­out the af­fir­ma­tion of the na­tional con­ven­tion. So, the APC hopes to holds its na­tional con­ven­tion early in 2018. It is af­ter that meet­ing that the change will be ef­fected. Mean­while, the con­sti­tu­tion has not changed. And no changes have been made. So, it has been agreed upon. It has been passed by the NEC. But the con­sti­tu­tional change will come dur­ing the 2018 na­tional con­ven­tion.

The Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives said the NEC passed a vote of con­fi­dence on Mr Pres­i­dent. But the is­sue of en­dors­ing him was de­ferred. Did the Cau­cus also pass vote of con­fi­dence on Mr Pres­i­dent?

No. The is­sue of vote of con­fi­dence didn’t come up at the Cau­cus meet­ing. But my stand on it is that ev­ery­where in the world, in­clud­ing the United States of Amer­ica, a sit­ting pres­i­dent is re­spected. A sit­ting pres­i­dent has the right of first re­fusal. If he wants to run, he is al­lowed to run. But if he says he will not run, then peo­ple will start jostling for the of­fice. If Buhari wants to run, it won’t be dif­fi­cult for him to get a vote of con­fi­dence.

Apart from the is­sue of BoT, what other crit­i­cal is­sues were dis­cussed at the Cau­cus meet­ing?

The ob­ject of our party is to gov­ern well. The meet­ing ap­praises our dif­fer­ences so far. We crit­i­cize our­selves, an­a­lyse the func­tions of gov­ern­ment so far and de­cide to push ahead. We give our­selves marks where nec­es­sary, es­pe­cially on the is­sue of se­cu­rity in the coun­try. On the econ­omy, as you can see, the coun­try has come out of re­ces­sion.

So, the meet­ing ap­praises what the gov­ern­ment has done so far, es­pe­cially on three ar­eas, in­clud­ing econ­omy, an­ti­cor­rup­tion, and se­cu­rity. Of course, the anti-cor­rup­tion war is go­ing on. Peo­ple have been taken to court. This is a democ­racy. You don’t ex­pect that peo­ple will just be grabbed and jailed. The court pro­cesses are on. Ev­ery­body at­tests to the fact that there is a great im­prove­ment in the fight against the in­sur­gency all over the coun­try. On the econ­omy, Nige­ria has just re­cov­ered from bad re­ces­sion. And our suc­cesses in the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions in Edo and Ondo States. There is an im­prove­ment in our rat­ing the Na­tional As­sem­bly. To­day, we have 59 sen­a­tors. In the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, we have im­proved to 219. So, a party like that can­not be said to be do­ing badly. We also agree that there are few dif­fi­cul­ties here and there and that they have all been ad­dressed. Sur­pris­ingly, the meet­ing was peace­ful and the pres­i­dent was re­laxed. He tack­led most of the ques­tions brought up. It was a ma­ture meet­ing.

Would the South East peo­ple fully em­brace the APC and sup­port Buhari?

The truth is that Abia State is for Buhari. In fact, the big men in Abia to­day are in the APC. So many peo­ple have left the PDP. The big and might are in Abia State APC. So it is in Ji­gawa and other states where peo­ple are join­ing the APC, es­pe­cially in the South East and par­tic­u­larly in Abia State, where the high and might have all joined the APC. So, there is a great im­prove­ment and I know that this up­surge in mem­ber­ship in the South East will im­pact the out­come of 2019 elec­tions. The re­sults will greatly im­prove. The South East is go­ing to the APC in 2019.

Chief Sam Nkire

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