With less than three days to the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s national convention, the coast is now clear for the election of most officers of the party by affirmation or confirmation, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, said on Thursday.
Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting of the Principal Officers of the National Assembly with President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed the hope for a rancour-free convention on March 26 in Abuja.
“Mr. President, our leader of the party in the country and beyond, invited the principal officers of the APC to hold today’s meeting with us.
“Mr. President emphasized the need for us in the APC to be united, always act as a family to ensure that we remain focused. We have the leadership of Nigeria today at the national level and of course, we have many states, about 22 states, under the leadership of the APC.
“We hope that we would have achieved so much consensus in selecting and electing the officers for this party so that when we go into the convention, most of the officers would be for affirmation or confirmation,’’ he said.
Lawan said the leadership of the National Assembly had, therefore, resolved to work toward the emergence of consensus candidates to ensure a successful convention.
According to him, President Buhari is passionate about unity of party members ahead of the exercise as the national convention is a very important one.
On the achievements of the 9th Assembly, Lawan the APC-dominated legislature, said:“It is very important to also emphasize here that the 9th National Assembly has been a very stable National Assembly, it has been a very productive National Assembly.
“We have remained very united in the two chambers as APC senators and members of the House of Representatives and we have remained in very good partnership with our other political friends who are in different political parties.
“We have the PDP, and of course, APGA in the Senate, and I believe that they might have even more minority parties in the House of Representatives.
“But our colleagues in the PDP, for example, have worked with us to ensure that the national interest is always supreme in our consideration.
“We have achieved so many firsts in the area of legislation and broke so many jinxes, passed legislations that defied passage. And by the grace of God, Mr. President, has assented to almost all those bills, all those legislations that matter for the development of this country.
“Finally, I want to say that this meeting with Mr. President has given us more energy. We believe that there is a father, at least in our party; there is a president who will ensure that once there disagreements he is able to call everybody to order and ensure that the family continues to remain united and that is what we have been able to achieve over the years.’’
Also addressing the briefing, the Speaker of the Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said the meeting with Buhari was a productive one, adding “the whole idea is to encourage all stakeholders to unite towards a peaceful and successful convention’’.
He said: “The President, in the last couple of days, has been having meetings with stakeholders towards the convention that is coming up on Saturday. The whole idea is to encourage all stakeholders to unite, have a common front, and have a peaceful rancour free and successful convention.
“That is what that meeting was about, the long and short of it, and to make sure everybody is on the same page in terms of being united in terms of candidates.’’
Among the APC principal officers who attended the meeting are Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya, the Senate Leader, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, Deputy Senate Leader, the Chief Whip, ex-Abia Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu, and Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi.
Others are Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Idris Wase, Alhassan Ado Dogowa, House Majority Leader, Mr Mohammed Tahir Monguno, the Chief Whip, and Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Deputy Chief Whip.