The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), delivered his speech at the ongoing All Progressive Congress presidential primary election held at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
Buhari, in his speech, encouraged the delegates to vote for the best candidates who have the best chances to win the 2023 general election, while those who would and had conceded defeat in the party's primary election to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship.
He said, ''You excellency, the Vice President, The First Lady, The APC national chairman, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the state governors, members of the national assembly, members of the federal executive council, party leaders, distinguished aspirants, party faithful, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow party members and compatriots,
" My fellow party members and compatriots, I commend you for your various roles and contributions towards the successful conduct of the various APC primaries across the nation. I commend the party stakeholders, officials, organs, and the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC.
" I commend your efforts in organizing party exercises and urge you not to rest on our achievements so far. Now we have a big task ahead: the special convention for the presidential primary.
" I congratulate all the winners, our newly emerged party flag bearers, so far, for the 2023 general elections and urge you to be magnanimous in victory, particularly towards your fellow aspirants who conceded to you. I urge you at all times to abide by the Party rules and follow party reconciliation processes.
" In every competitive event, there are bound to be winners and runners-up, and as such, all the aspirants who lost or conceded at the primaries, I equally urge you to maintain the spirit of sportsmanship and to stand by our great party for the next challenges ahead.
" As we go into the presidential primary, I urge all to keep to the same spirit. We must avoid acrimony and maintain the spirit of sportsmanship. The critical task ahead of the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC remains to continue to forge the unity of purpose among party members and to keep securing needed compromises in the interest of our great party.
" I enjoin you all to be fair to all and to create a level playing field for all the presidential aspirants in the coming crucial party exercise.
" Please, follow due process in all the party decisions and I call on all party members, particularly the party officials and delegates to abide by all extant laws, rules, and regulations and to consider voting for the presidential candidate with the best chances of securing victory for our great party in the coming general elections,"
"I cannot over-emphasize that the principal challenge before us is the need to keep a united front for the party. It is primarily why the party NEC has vested its powers in the NWC for the time being as requested and in compliance with the party's constitution to ensure smooth party administration and operations in these critical times in the overall interest of the party.
"Once again, Mr. Chairman, I want to assure you and the entire NWC members of my support; please do not hesitate to call on me and all other appropriate quarters for the help that will propel our great party to the victory that we all seek.
"To ensure a hitch-free presidential primary, please let us work collectively in the interested party and great country.
" Fellow delegates, fellow men, women, youth, citizens of our country. Many people have short memories. But let us remember the situation we inherited.
" A nearly dead economy in spite of oil being over $100 per barrel for many years. Vast areas of our country are under insurgent control. Salaries, wages, and pensions are unpaid for months in many states.
" Problems were left unattended or ignored. Infrastructure is left to decay. Internationally we were despised.
" Your APC Government has changed all that. Our response to any new challenges, whether banditry, kidnappings, or insurgency, has been prompt and head-on. Rehabilitation of infrastructure has taken place on a massive scale. Our response to Covid-19 is second to none in Africa.
" We have made substantial progress in governance, in implementing reforms, in democratic processes, and in social care.
" We are now respected in Africa and across the world. These major achievements by APC are historic and far-reaching.
" We now have to choose a leadership not just to win elections next year but to continue and improve on these landmarks.
" We must choose a knowledgeable, fair-minded nationalist with a very strong belief in the unity of our Nation, Nigeria, and strength of character and purpose to steer the country forward. We should not allow the PDP to drag the country backwards,"
''I thank you. May God bless our party, and may God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.''