All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday swung into action on his presidential mission of reconciling the party, which he says remains the only hope to improve the lives of Nigerians.
Speaking when he visited the party’s secretariat in Abuja, he said the reform the party brought after its 2015 victory could not be implemented like an “instant coffee”. He urged Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government.
Tinubu arrived at the secretariat at exactly 2.00pm in a black Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and went straight to the office of National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. His meeting with the party leaders at the conference room started at about 2.15 pm and lasted till around 5.30pm.
The former Lagos State governor said: “We worked hard for victory. We have never governed before, but we won the confidence of Nigerians to govern. We have a creed to really serve the country, change and reform the country. It is not easy to have those changes implemented like instant coffee. We have to grow it and face the challenges.”
He told members of the National Working Committee (NWC) that he was at the secretariat to consult with them on the assignment given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile aggrieved members and set it on a sound footing for the 2019 general elections.
Tinubu said: “It is a great honour to be before you as one of the leaders of this party. I am here to consult since you are already aware of the directive and announcement by the President who is the leader of our party and the President of this country.
“First, let me sympatise with our National Vice Chairman’ North Central for the various incidents happening around that corridor and extend our condolences on behalf of the people and our party and equally condole with you on the death of John Shagaya, a very great national patriot. May his soul rest in peace and may God bring peace to Benue, Taraba, Plateau and to the country as a whole including Nasarawa and all other places affected by the age-old system that we are now currently facing the challenges of.
“I came for consultations since you are aware of the assignment given to me by the President and I am all ears to listen to various challenges that we have. We have this party and we all work hard.
“After the last convention of the party, congresses were held from various wards to elect representatives from the ward, local government and states’ levels as well as the national level
“I sympathise with us and we should equally look at ourselves. Since we won the election, the expectation was very high and the goodwill was extremely high. But where are we today?
“The solution is to seek opinion and advice on the various complex issues around some states or if there is any national one, to reconcile, move the party in a cohesive manner and reposition it and build the confidence among ourselves.
“The challenges faced by our government and the President are enormous. It is only because people are not paying attention to the various statistics that are available. I won’t touch those areas yet.
“The challenges of security, the challenges of reforms and re-engineering the finances of this country; stopping the corruption and challenging the status quo to change and reform ourselves is there. It does not go away overnight. You work on and work hard at it.
“For us, we have been patient, we have persevered to having this victory, but how are we now? We should equally face the immediate, medium and serious challenges that politically, we will be facing. I believe that our party is the hope of Nigeria to improve quality of lives and we will do that.”
Odigie-Oyegun said the visit was significant as part of healing the wound and preparing the party for victory in the forthcoming elections.
He said: “Your visit is very significant in view of your Presidential assignment which I will describe as a peace ambassador, to heal wounds where the party has wounds and bring everybody together behind one single objective which is the APC being in good condition to be a fighting political force such that in 2019, the election will become virtually a runaway victory for the party.
“There is no question at all that we have major issues with the National Assembly, major issues in Kano, Kogi, Benue states which are the current challenges we are facing. So, we truly welcome your appointment and I want to say that we will give you all the assistance that you will possibly need to make your assignment a most successful one.”
National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi said after the meeting that it was to strategise on how to go about the assignment given to the national leader, adding that the party had pledged to assist him to succeed.
He said “It was an exploratory meeting to strategize on how to move forward. It was a meeting to share ideas and plan how we progress in the days ahead. We are all happy to work together and we are happy that the assignment was given to Asiwaju as our leader and we are willing and ready to cooperate with him.
“At this meeting, we all made it clear that we want to work with him and the national chairman said we will cooperate with him in whatever way and support him in this assignment.”