Poll shift: We’re in extra-time, says Buhari

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The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on Tuesday likened the remaining weeks to the 2015 elections to extra-time in football.

He enjoined party leaders, supporters and members to avoid mistakes that could cost the party the elections by remaining resilient because their patience would be tested in the days ahead.

Buhari said this at the Joint Leaders’ Meeting of the party, held at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

According to him, he alongside leaders of the party travelled the length and breadth of this country, and had heard the cry for change which had become a common refrain among Nigerians.

He noted that it was common knowledge that the country was passing through trying times “which was imposed on us by the bad Peoples Democratic Party administration.”

Buhari said, “The imminent change in answer to the yearnings of our people has been delayed by the postponement of the February 14, 2015 elections.

“Our patience and resilience will be tested in the days ahead. We must pass this test.

“In a time like this, which in football analogy can be referred to as extra-time; we must avoid making costly mistakes. In the weeks ahead, I would like to implore you to remain true to the vision – to build a country that works for all of us and not just for the few.

“To rescue and stabilise our nation from the hands of plunderers. On this, I believe we all agreed.

“The important issue today is that we must use the next six weeks that have been imposed on us to re-charge and re-focus on our goal. The goal is to win the elections now slated for March 28 and April 11 with a convincing majority.”

The APC candidate enjoined party members to aim for and achieve a victory that would be beyond dispute and proceed to form the next government and start work on the task of rebuilding our beloved country.

He maintained that the objective of an APC-led government was “to build a great society that works for all, a country where every child has an equal opportunity to get an education, where every young Nigerian who needs a job can find one and where the sick are looked after and senior citizens are provided for.

“And most importantly, a country which gives value to human life, where the welfare and security of all is a national priority and corruption is defeated.”

In his first reaction to the alleged use of soldiers to rig the Ekiti governorship elections, Buhari described the revelations made by Captain Sagir Koli as “worrisome.”

He also said the fact that there had yet to be an official denial of the most unfortunate event, “makes me wonder, in the circumstances that led to shifting of the date of the Federal elections, whether the security services are even now being prepared to play a similar role in the March 28 and April 11 elections.”

The retired General enjoined Nigeria’s security services to remain committed to their constitutional responsibilities to Nigerians and to avoid the temptation of allowing themselves to be dragged into partisan politics.

While stating that he had tremendous respect for the security services, he enjoined the hierarchy of the military to stick to and concentrate on their constitutional duties to avoid further complicating our national situation.

Buhari commended members of the APC for making the requisite sacrifices which culminated in the momentum, which he said, the party was enjoying.

Earlier, a prominent leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had likened milestones recorded by the APC within its short lifespan to bringing down the Berlin Wall.

He specifically expressed gratitude to Buhari for leading the party to avoid the booby trap set by the PDP.

Tinubu said, “We have to be further vigilant. Thank God that our presidential candidate is now more democratic and more obedient than ever before. The booby trap set was for our supporters to react (to the postponement) violently so that they will declare a state of emergency but he (Buhari) led us from that trap.

“The PDP government is desperate to cling to power; we are determined to take power from tyrants. No one will serve you power, the determination is yours. We know now that they have been unable to achieve the violent booby trap.”

Tinubu congratulated the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for finding a “panacea for the PDP rigging machine” in Osun State. He said the party could benefit from his experience in the general elections.

The Director of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who gave a rundown of the party’s campaign so far, urged party members to pay attention to the polling booth because “that is where rigging starts from.”

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