Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his opposition to politicians imposing candidates on the party whenever there is election at any level of government.
Speaking on Thursday at the State House, Abuja during a virtual meeting with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Youth Representativ, Buhari stressed that he supported the ongoing APC membership registration and revalidation exercise because he wants the party to return to the grassroots.
He said members should be the ones selecting election candidates and not some leaders sitting somewhere.
Said he: “I was in Daura to revalidate my membership and I encourage you all to do same. My belief and firm commitment is that politics is a game of numbers, and political power truly belongs to the people. Parties are built from the ground up. “So I envisage a party that we can have transparent electoral contests, drive policies and programmes that are pro-people, and most importantly, have the members determine who represents them, not some leaders somewhere”.
According to him, the future of All Progressives Congress (APC) liesin strengthened internal democracy, with transparent electoral processes, pro-people policies and programmes, and value of each member’s contribution to the party’s growth.
He assured the youths of more party and government policies that will accommodate their interests, with a committee on the way, largely of the young, that will specially take into cognizance and work for the interest of youths. His words:
“Young people owe this country the responsibility to deploy their energy and creativity in every field — health, science, education, sports, agriculture, etc. — and bring up innovations that would be in tandem with the changing dynamics of the world.
“While I will be looking forward to a more robust engagement with young people across the country, I wish to emphasize to you all that in me, you have a major supporter. I will offer you my full support to grow in politics, public service, entertainment, entrepreneurship and many other sectors, because I know that the future we envisage as a country cannot happen without our youths.
“In the days ahead, I will be engaging with the Minister for Youth, National Youth Leader of the party and others to fine-tune continuous and deliberate strategy on how to better drive a more robust youth inclusion and participation in different sectors.’’
The President urged youths to join the APC, while thanking many who stood by the party over the years saying “I have followed with keen interest the efforts of many of you in your bid to grow our party, the APC, into a strong and long lasting platform that would sustain progressive governance in Nigeria. Taking issues concerning our party seriously is commendable and shows your forward thinking.
“I am also aware of the daily toils and sacrifices many of our online warriors make on social media to defend and promote the party and government. I appreciate you deeply and I am committed to making sure everyone appreciates your work as well. ’’President Buhari also told the youths to closely monitor the processes that lead to the emergence of leaders in the political party, and also pick more interest in taking up leadership roles.
“Tell your colleagues to go back to their constituencies and join in party registration, attend party meetings, pay your dues, make contributions and bring your youthful energy and zeal to bear on the development of the party right from the unit and ward level up to the national. If you want to see something different you have to be willing to do something different,” he said.
In his remarks, the National Youth Representative, APC Caretaker Committee, Ismaeel Ahmed, appreciated the President for always giving quick response to issues that affect young people in the country, which include the N-Power project, with N75 billion youth fund, and various interventions that stimulate entrepreneurship, especially to cushion the effects of COVID-19. Ahmed, who is also Senior Special Assistant on National Social Investment Programme to the President, appealed to the President to ensure more youth inclusion in all committees of the Federal Government since young people constitute more than 60 per cent of the population, and creation of a Youth Commission.