By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
The absence of the national Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, (APC) at the rally on Saturday in Minna to receive new entrants to the party may have rubbed off on the expected blitz and glamour of the event but not as much as the swizzy way the party’s National Women’s leader Fati Ramatu Tijjani and the party’s National Secretary carried on with their seeming no love lost relationship at the gathering.
Indication to the sordid state of affairs between the two was glaring to the notice of discerning minds especially when the Wonen’s leader was chosen to preside over the receipt of the decampees from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and not the party’s National Secretary, Mala Buni who by nomenclature, holds a higher office in the hierarchy of the party’s officials.
At the time of the commencement of the occasion, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun was far away in Kogi state for another official engagement which probably explained his absence at the occasion at the start of the reception which was also a decoy to drum up support for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek another term in office.
What appeared as a show of wits or power was allowed to play out to the notice of all as the National Women’s Leader took the charge of the event held at the spacious Minna Trade Fair complex where party faithful in their thousands had gathered to receive the decampees from rival parties led by the trounced runaway members of the Peoples Democratic Party led by the Deputy Chairman of the party in the state.
Hajiya Fati Ramatu Tijjani presided over the official programme to receive and welcome the decampees and to smartly fly the kite for President Buhari’s unspoken ambition to run for a second term.
She took the centre stage and seized the gauntlet and reeled off speaking boldly of the quintessential leadership qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari and the need for Nigerians to prevail on him to run the 2019 presidential election under her party while the National Secretary of the party stood at the background.
As soon as she was done with her task, she hurriedly exited the stage and left before the National Chairman made it to the state capital for the event thus ignited waging tongues of spin doctors about a possible crack in the leadership of the party.
On arrival later in the evening, the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun was treated to another reception at the Government House where the decampees were brought for his blessings and endorsement.
But the absence of some notable party stalwarts in the state was glaring at the endorsement ritual held inside the main bowl of the Government House. Senators David Umaru and Mustapha Sani, representing zone ‘B’ and ‘A’ (Niger-East and Niger-South senatorial districts) respectively were conspicuously absent.
The duo were not alone in the list of absentees at the reception. Many of the federal lawmakers at the House of Representatives, notable amongst them Hon. Umar Bago did not show up at both the endorsement rally and at Government House to receive the APC national leaders.
But the event went on. The APC National Chairman, John Oyegun said Nigeria under Buhari’s government had weathered several storms and was on the right track.
He noted that the country was better off with President Buhari especially considering the remarkable developmntal strides recorded by the administration in the last two years.
Chief Oyegun therefore urged Nigerians to demonstrate tolerance and greater sense of patriotism by supporting the call on President Muhammadu Buhari to accept to run for another tenure in office. He said Nigerians should join hands to call Buhari to offer himself for reelection in 2019.
The APC National Chairman argued that most of the bad press and hatred against the Buhari led administration was being orchestrated in the social media adding that President Muhammadu Buhari still enjoys massive under current support from a large spectrum of Nigerians including peoples of other nations despite the unprovoked onslaughts from the unrestrained social media.
”President Muhammadu Bihari still enjoys massive under-current support from a cross section of patriotic Nigerians who value his personality and what he stands for as a person” he quipped.
Chief Oyegun noted that President Buhari has within two years, turned Nigeria’s morribound and chaquered economy. He listed the encouraging development in the country’s power sector, industrialization, economic diversification and reduction in economic wastages in public expenditure.
“Nigerian is on the path to actualizing her destiny and there is the need for us to put pressure on him (Buhari) to commit himself to second term” he said.
Chief John Oyegun was accompanied on the visit by the National Organising Secretary of the party, Osita Izunaso and other leutanants. He arrived at the Government House at about 5:30pm.
He saluted the courage of the former PDP members for taking the bold steps to leave the shade of PDP and join the APC. He reasoned that their decision must have been informed by overriding national interest above their personal interests.
“I salute your courage for joining the APC at this trial moment. People who have something to offer, putting state and national interest first above personal interests”. He tasked the new entrants to help the APC in rebuilding the party and rebuild Nigeria to the envy of all nations across the globe.