President Muhammadu Buhari has charged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to be complacent but to prepare, strategise and win 2019 elections.
Buhari said that APC must prevent the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from returning to power, thereby taking Nigeria backwards.
The President spoke yesterday at the APC national Secretariat while submitting his intent and nomination forms to re-contest the presidency in 2019.
Although Buhari did not mention PDP in his short speech, the reference was unmistakable as he referred to those who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015.
The President’s expression of interest and nomination forms were obtained at the cost of N45 million by a group, Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network (NCAN) on September 6.
Buhari had, in April, declared his intention to seek re-election at the APC National Executive Committee (NEC).
Buhari, while submitting the forms, said: “I’m here in person among friends and colleagues to put my name forward to my party, the APC, seeking nomination to contest the presidential election in 2019.
“I am taking this step with all humility, sense of responsibility and unquestionable desire to serve and protect the interest of all Nigerians.
“Let me today, appeal to party members not to be complacent, but to strategize and win 2019 elections.
“We must not allow those who brought the country to its knees from 1999 to 2015 to come and take us back,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to those who contributed towards the purchase of the forms.
The President assured them and Nigerians generally that if nominated and re-elected in 2019, he would continue to serve the people to the best of his abilities.
APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, used the opportunity to present to the President his new party membership card.
He also intimated the president that the APC, under his leadership, took advantage of modern technology to come up with a new membership data base, saying that the party currently has 15.6 million registered members.
Oshiomhole said: “Today, to talk about the size of our party, the largest party in the world and in Africa, we need to have evidence that can be verified by a third party or by members.
“We have taken advantage of technology to produce what I believe is the best or the first in Nigeria.
“We now have, as at last week when they started printing of membership register, about 15.6 million registered APC members across the country,” he said.
The national chairman added that the party membership database was designed to ensure that the membership status of anyone could easily be verified at the touch of a botton.
He added that with the development, the party had credible and verifiable persons to conduct direct primaries on the basis of its membership register.
He, however, said that despite the fact that the party had credible membership register, it does not, in any way, nullify or change the decisions of its National Executive Committee (NEC) at its sixth meeting.
He stressed that the National Working Committee (NWC) would strive to give practical expression as transparently as possible.
National Co-coordinator, NCAN, Sunnsi Musa, said the group paid for the forms because the President is not a multi-millionaire cash wise.
“But he has millions of supporters who are always ready to come together to pay for his nomination form,” he said.