By Victor Habila
Ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections, the Progressive Governors Forum under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), says there would be no zoning of presidential ticket in the party.
The Governors declared that any of its chieftains is free to aspire to any position in the country in line with provisions of the party’s constitution and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Kebbi state governor and Chairman of the forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu made the declaration on Friday in a statement where he commended the Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade who dumped the PDP for the APC on Thursday.
He maintained that the ruling party remained “open, transparent and will continue to guarantee fair contestation in politics, in line with the overarching commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and all our founding leaders.
According to the statement; “Our National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee has worked hard to restore the political credentials of the APC as a strong institution for Nigeria’s democratic development. We will continue to support the National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee in all its current initiatives to rebuild our great party. With the coming of Mr Ayade, the capacity of our party to mobilise all patriots and other like-minded progressive Nigerians to join the APC is stronger.
“APC belongs to all Nigerians. Everyone, from every part of the country, is free to aspire for any position in the party in line with provisions of our party’s constitution and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The guiding philosophy as enshrined in the provisions of our manifesto is the economic, social and political development of Nigeria.
“The Progressive Reinforcement of our party continues. We look forward to receiving more patriots and progressive-minded Nigerians into the APC!”
The APC Governors who attributed the decision of Governor Ayade to the tireless efforts of Yobe state governor and Chairman of the CECPC, Mallam Mai Mala Buni, also claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari leadership qualities have endeared many Nigerians to the ruling party.
“The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) welcome His Excellency, Mr. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State to the All Progressives Congress (APC). We join all leaders and members to welcome this illustrious Nigerian into our great party. The decision of Mr. Ayade to join the APC is a testament to our party’s capacity to mobilise all Nigerians consistent with the vision of the founding fathers to ensure that the APC is a platform to unite all Nigerians.
The coming of Mr. Ayade into the APC further reinforces the process of membership and leadership recruitment at all levels.
“We congratulate our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose sterling qualities and fair mindedness endear patriotic Nigerians to the party. Mr. President’s credentials as a fair leader who is impartial will continue to promote our party and serve as a major source of electoral advantage. As Progressive Governors, we will remain steadfast in supporting the efforts and initiatives of Mr. President to build our party, APC, as a strong and democratic political party in the country.
“Also, we salute our members of the APC National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of HE Mai Mala Buni for this milestone achievement of once again getting another experienced leader in the person of His Excellency Ben Ayade to join the APC. We welcome Mr. Ben Ayade for taking the courageous decision of leaving the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to join our party, the All Progressives Congress. The movement of our compatriot to the APC is indicative of his principles, commitment and conviction to the development of Nigeria.
“Given all his achievements in Cross River State, Mr. Ayade is only coming home where he belongs. APC is indeed the party that will provide him and his people, and indeed all Nigerians the viable platform for political aspirations and negotiations. Together with Mr. Ayade and all our leaders in the APC, our party’s capacity to serve the collective interests of all Nigerians through effective representation will be strengthened and reinforced.”