Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the National Committee for Buhari Support Group which recently transformed into the Council for New Nigeria initiative has expressed fears that the All Progressives Congress may be destroyed after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure
It is no longer news that All Progressives Congress (APC) is presently facing its litmus test of survival, considering various crises the party is battling and seeming negligence of President Muhammadu Buhari, the party leader, who should ordinarily see to the settlement of those catastrophes.
Some party leaders believe that it is only President Buhari that can truly save the party he rode on to realize his lifetime ambition as civilian president of Nigeria from going into oblivion after his current tenure expires in 2023. Doing would also go a long way in helping him to preserve his achievements as president of Nigeria beyond his occupation of the office. There have been many predictions suggesting that the APC, which not a few political pundits believe, is a coming together of strange bed-fellows to seize power, would disintegrate once Buhari who is believed to be the rallying point that holds the party together takes his leave from governance.
One of the strongest loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Abu Ibrahim, who led over 500 support groups in the 2019 national elections, recently had an audience with the president with the leadership of his new NGO called, Council for New Nigeria initiative (CNNi) formerly known as National Committee for Buhari Support Group (NCBSG). At this meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Ibrahim and his group added their voice to the call on the president to play a more assertive role as the leader of the party and save APC from going into oblivion as result of multiple crises.
According to Senator Abu Ibrahim, “We urge you, Mr. President to do everything within your power as the leader of the party to save APC from disintegration, because the general belief in the public is that you are the key that holds the party together and the existence of APC after your tenure, largely depends on your action and inaction. We appeal to you to lead, as well as, initiate policies and programmes that would enable the public appreciate the party a lot more, while making it the party of choice when it comes to considering achievements of this administration in view of the 2023 elections.”
Incidentally, the APC administration at the centre has done lots of laudable projects particularly in provision of roads and railway infrastructure across the country. One can see clearly how much effort has been put on the road construction all around Nigeria. In the words of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, “The Federal Government has one road project in every state of the federation.” That is a great milestone compared to the previous administration whose yearly budget could not construct one road. This administration increased the budget from N69 billion to close to N300 billion.
Part of the giant strides of this administration is the declaration of June 12 as a Public Holiday. The Buhari administration has not only maintained the work force that it inherited, it has employed more people, made mid-term job intervention programmes like N-Power, short term poverty alleviation programmes like TraderMoni, increased workers minimum salary to N30000 per month, paid pension to retired Biafran police, increased allowance of persons serving the nation in the National Youth Service Corps, closed Nigerian land borders and thereby revived the country’s agricultural and textile industries, committed to building the Second Niger Bridge, increased revenue from revenue yielding agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service, the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, reformed the Nigerian Prisons Service.
Buhari has repeatedly stated his commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, which the group CNNi, applauded greatly during the meeting with the President. To them, the only way the President can pay back the poor people who gave all their votes to him to return him to power against all odds is to initiate measures to achieve the intention of poverty alleviation.
“The teeming masses who supported the APC and your Excellency in the last elections, including those that trekked many miles to cast their votes for you and the party expect more from this administration. Particularly, on our campaign promises, and Your Excellency intention to lift 100 million citizens out of poverty,” Ibrahim added. “Achieving that goal,” he said, “will definitely put Mr. President on the positive side of history.”