The Presidency on Monday reacted to the victories of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in last weekend’s election.
Recall that the APC won senatorial bye-elections in Katsina and Bauchi states and a House of Representatives seat in Kogi State.
Briefing State House correspondents, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the victories as an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo have a better chance in next year’s election.
He also faulted the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for carrying out its actions in a militant manner rather than following laid down procedures.
Shehu said: “I like to speak to you about the fabulous shows of the APC in Katsina, Bauchi and Kogi, and even to some extent in Cross River states. All of these coming against the background of Ekiti State.
“It is clear that from election after election, Nigerians are reposing confidence in the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency. Each of these election victories is considered to be epic in nature because none of these elections was an ordinary election.
“We are happy that we have won and on behalf of the President and the Acting President, we’ll like to say thank you to Nigerians who continue to repose their confidence in the leadership of the APC administration.
“We also want to thank the leadership of the party at the national level, but equally important, to thank all the party’s apparatchiks deployed to all the campaigns who ensured that all the elections were won handsomely by APC.
“So, we are expressing our gratitude to everyone for these that had happened and to say that with this increasing confidence reposed in the President and the Acting President, who are determined more than ever before to leave no stone unturned in order to bring the promised change to Nigerians.”
“For a quick review, maybe one, two, three or four lessons can be taken from the victories that the party has been recording.
“First of all is to say that these decisive victories are indications that clearly, Nigerians have spoken that President Buhari maintains his momentum. That these victories place Buhari/Osinbajo presidency in very good stead for next year’s election.” he added
Advising the National Assembly, Shehu said: “It is a statement of the fact that the APC will go into election next year with every confidence that the elections will be won and that Nigerians, by this statement, will also say that they no longer have time for politics of insult and diversion, mudslinging and ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ politics of the PDP, and equally important is that these election victories are a clear message to the National Assembly that all that Nigerians are interested in is that the business of government should go on.
“That Nigerians are saying that they are not interested in the drama; they are not interested in the grammar, the subterfuge and all of the games that are being played in the National Assembly.
“I think it is appropriate this time to appeal to the National Assembly to be on the same page with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration so that we can deliver on all of these things. There are urgent matters that need to be attended to, including matters of shortfall in money supply for the execution of the budget.”
Urging the opposition party to desist from operating like a militant organisation, Shehu said: “Secondly, I think that it is not the right attitude for a political party, a so-called opposition leader to conduct their affairs like a militant organisation , a political party cannot be run like a militant organization. If you have disagreement on the outcome of an election, they know the process and they know it because they abused it before. You can see this is the clear difference of the kind of democracy the APC administration is trying to put in place from what they are used to.
“Willie Obiano of Anambra, same afternoon President Buhari said congratulations and welldone, we were happy we came second in the elections, that is the way it is. We lost a Senate seat in Osun, we didn’t try to bring down the roof, and this that has happened in Cross River, did you hear Adams Oshiomhole say he wanted to shoot people? I think this is the difference we need.”
Shehu also charged Nigerians who are raising allegations of votes buying during the bye-elections to help the law enforcement agencies with the information.
“One is to say that bribery of voters or vote buying is an offence in this country, I think that citizens who have evidence regarding this have a duty to report to the law enforcement agencies. This is the way to help the country,” Shehu said.
The APC also in a statement by its acting publicity secretary Yekini Nabena, said: “The hat-trick victories following weekend’s by-elections for Katsina North; Bauchi South Senatorial seats and the Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency House of Representatives seat have again powerfully demonstrated the confidence and trust by our people in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“While we thank the electorate for coming out enmasse to vote for our candidates in the weekend by-elections, we also congratulate Hon. Ahmed Babba-Kaita (Katsina); Hon. Lawal Yahaya Gumau (Bauchi) and Haruna Isa (Kogi) on their victories.
“Since assuming office, President Buhari has demonstrated the political will and remains solidly committed to the task of building a new Nigeria in line with the Change Agenda we promised to the electorate and the progressive ideals we stand for.
“As a political party, we remain genuinely committed to address our challenges, reconcile legitimately aggrieved interests and emerge as a more united and stronger political fighting force as we face General Elections in 2019.
“Like every other country, we have our challenges, but they are surmountable. We have an administration working day and night to surmount them and put the country on the right pedestal. With the continued cooperation and support of Nigerians, we have good reason to look forward to the future with great hope.”