Governors on the platform of the ruling-All Progressives Congress (APC) has advised the party to bring all warring factions together so as to have a united party capable of facing the challenges ahead.
The chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, gave the advice after a closed door meeting between five APC governors and President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governors included Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos; Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi; Rochas Okorocha of Imo; Kashim Shettima of Borno and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state.
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, were also at the meeting, which lasted for about an hour.
Okorocha said: “What is important to us is that we must not go into this battle a divided family and we want to make sure that all governors are intact, all National Assembly members are intact while going into this battle.
“We will never speak differently, we will speak as united leaders of the party.”
Okorocha stated that APC would not engage in abusive campaign or castigation of its political opponents, saying that they would be talking about the party’s achievements to the electorate.
He said: “Our election this time will not engage in castigations, we will be talking on issues, Nigerians are tired of political abuses, what we want to be talking about are issues and track records of people involved in our elections.
“Nigerians are very wise now, before they elect anybody, the will ask questions, what has been your track record, who were you before and who are you now and everything about you.
“For that reason we are confident that 2019, APC will pull through.”
The governor disclosed that the meeting also discussed the just concluded APC primaries across the country.
He said the governors advised that something be done to bring all aggrieved members of the party together so as to face the 2019 general elections with a united front.
“We have also looked at issues concerning our primaries. In every democracy expect some kind of disagreements and we have kindly requested that something be done to bring all warring factions together so we can have a united party to face the challenges ahead.
“We are happy that will soon take place. Most of the problems have been resolved except for one or two states where we have issues. Where it becomes more difficult, we asked for Mr President’s intervention in the matter,’’ he said.
Okorocha dismissed the assertion that the APC had become jittery over the emergence of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said: “I don’t know about talking tough. We can’t be jittery, history is there to speak, history is very important.
“Like I said we are not going to get involved in this verbal war with anybody, we will be talking about issues.
“If you say look you are not good, we will tell you what we can do and what we cannot do and what others cannot do. So APC is not going to engage in that kind of talk show, but we discuss on what our party can do for the people.’’
He said the governors used the opportunity of the visit to congratulate the president over his emergence as APC presidential candidate in 2019 general election.
“We are here on delegation of governors to come and congratulate Mr President for having emerged as the presidential candidate of APC in the 2019 election.
“This basically is the message we have come and to say that Mr President is more than ever ready for the entire exercise,’’ he said.
The SGF, who also spoke to the correspondents, described the meeting between the president and the governors as a welcome development.
He, however, advised those who lost out in the just concluded APC primaries to accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship.
He said: “It’s a welcome development, we are one big family.
“In a contest there are bound to be winners and losers but in the spirit of the game of politics which is like any other sport after the game is over, whoever has emerged victorious must be magnanimous and gracious in his victory, and whoever has lost out should also accept it in the spirit of sportsmanship.
“So this is a welcome move, our governor, who is the chairman of Progressives Governors Forum has spoken and rightly all the things that have been set in motion to ensure that we quickly heal wounds and bring the family together for the greater task ahead.
“We are a government that has creditably performed and this morning I had the privilege of laying before the council a compendium of the policies and programmes and projects initiated and implemented by this government in two and a half years.
“A total of 1042 page document, not stories, facts of what we have been able to achieve and I think we have set the tone that this campaign will be driven by issues; this campaign must be predicated upon what you are able to bring to the table for the people of Nigeria.
NAN recalls that nine governors on the platform of the APC including Okorocha had on Oct. 4 met with President Buhari on similar mission.