President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday boasted that his party, the All Progressives Congress, would win the 2019 general elections.
Apparently making veiled reference to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who recently said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party would win the forthcoming elections, Buhari said those who failed to understand this were entitled to their mistaken assumptions.
Saraki had on Wednesday told PDP members from all the local government areas of Kwara that PDP would emerge victorious at both the state and federal level.
But according to a statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari spoke in his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, while receiving the representatives of the 34 chairmen of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria.
Buhari said the string of victories recorded by the APC in bye-elections in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi states was sufficient proof that 2019 elections would be won by the party.
He said, “Coming against the backdrop of the victory in Ekiti governorship election, the string of victories by our party, the APC, is a clear indication of the way things will go in 2019.
‘‘For those who are discerning; those who have ears and eyes they will see, hear and understand. Those who don’t understand are entitled to their mistaken assumptions.”
The President said the victories in the recent polls were “signs of things to come.”
He thanked the leaders of the association for paying Sallah homage to him and for their message of congratulations on the performance of the party and the administration.
He assured them that he would continue to do his best for the nation.
Speaking on behalf of the members, the Chairman of ALGON in the State, Alhaji Mohammed Na’Allah, expressed their support and commitment to the success of the Buhari administration.
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At another meeting with the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Katsina State, Buhari expressed his continued determination to respect the diversity of the country.
He promised to run a government that is fair and just to all Nigerians.
The President thanked the CAN leadership in the state for living in peace and harmony with other religious groups, and for supporting his administration in its policies and programmes
The CAN leaders, who spoke during the visit, were the State Chairman, Rev. Nelson Onyeakachukwu, and the Co-ordinator, Christian Pilgrimage in the state, Haruna Danjuma.
They expressed happiness with the President’s performance, described him as the state’s good ambassador who had made everyone proud.
“Christians in Katsina are happy with both Governor Masari in the state and yourself at the centre. We will continue to support both of you,” the CAN leaders told the President.
Shock awaits Buhari, APC, says PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said that both the President and his party will be shocked by the outcome of the 2019 presidential and other elections.
It also warned the President, the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies against rigging the elections.
The main opposition party added Nigerians were determined to effect a positive change in the polity in 2019, and would therefore not condone any form of rigging.
The National Chairman, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, told one of our correspondents that “President Buhari is being deceived by those who are not familiar with politics of their states that they would deliver results to him.”
“The President and the APC would be shocked with the level of their rejection by the electorate come 2019. Winning of elections is not about boasting. What will the President tell Nigerians that he has done for them? What will he tell workers he has done for them? What will he tell Nigerians he has done about the economy, job creation and others?”
He added, “Will Nigerians vote for someone who will not stay in the country to administer the country, but would choose to be junketing all over the world?
“We know he relies on security agencies and INEC to rig for him, but we want to assure him that the people are determined to put an end to the misery he and his government have brought to the nation.”
It’s an empty boast lacking substance –Junaid Mohammed
Also, Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, described Buhari’s boast that the APC would win the 2019 elections as empty and lacking in substance.
The former lawmaker said this while reacting to a statement credited to the President, in Abuja, on Friday.
He said, “The boast as far as I am concerned, the man Buhari is not a democrat and he is incapable of learning to become one.
“I sincerely hope that the 2019 elections come and happen the way normal elections should hold because if what we saw happen in Ondo, Ekiti and the last three Senatorial bye elections in Katsina, Kogi, and Bauchi is what they refer to as an election, then I doubt if we are going to have an election worth its name.
“If we call it an election because people have gone to vote and there was no too much violence, but a humongous amount of money was doled out to voters in exchange for their ballots; will the election be worth anything? I doubt.”
APC planning to rig –SDP
In its reaction, the Social Democratic Party said the reference made by the President to the recently concluded elections was an evidence that the APC was planning to rig the elections.
The National Publicity Secretary of the SDP, Alfa Mohammed, said the Bauchi, Ekiti and Kogi elections recorded a high level of vote-buying and even ballot snatching in some instances.
He said, “First of all, the examples of recent victories of the APC in recent by-elections are unfortunate because all of them from Ekiti to Bauchi and Kogi states experienced high cases of electoral fraud.
“There was vote-buying and ballot snatching, and of course the impoverishment of the people before elections made the people vulnerable.
“The APC has also engaged in intimidating the judiciary which remains the last hope on election matters. Judges have been arrested by this government for flimsy reasons while none has been convicted.
“So, these are negative indications that our democracy has been replaced by dictatorship but we are ready to lead Nigerians to the battle field against the APC. This is a challenge and we will be up to the task.”