ABUJA- In a move that showcases his determination to seek nomination as the presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress, APC, former Vice President, Atiku Abubukar yesterday picked the presidential expression of interest and the presidential nomination forms of the party.
The cost of the forms was totaled N27.5m. While the presidential form was purchased at N25m, the expression of the interest form cost N2.5m.
In a brief ceremony held at APC’s national secretariat, Atiku who was accompanied by his campaign organization’s Director-General and former minister of aviation, Professor Babalolo Borishade amid other supporters said it was important to accord every person his democratic right under the party.
He pointed out that what distinguished APC from other political parties in the country was the recognition of democratic tenets of transparency and justice.
Though, he expressed surprised over the sudden ceremony, Atiku however later appreciated it.
He said: “Mr. Let me on behalf of my entourage express our gratitude for the opportunity extended to us this afternoon. Actually I thought it was going to be a very quiet process and therefore, we quietly pay and quietly collect our forms, go and do the necessary.
But we have been told that it requires a formal event like this. It is quite understandable Mr. Chairman because this is a party built on very solid democratic credentials of transparency, equity and justice. I therefore feel privileged and honored to be part of this process.
“Mr. Chairman, I need not let you know my political antecedents as far as the provision of a level playing field for every member of this party because that is the only thing or one of the things that will make us different from the so called ruling party. Any body who believes he has a democratic right to exercise should be given that opportunity to exercise that right.
It is left to the members of this party and the Nigerian public to make a decision. I don’t think it is the responsibility of any one of us as an individual or group to decide for this party or its membership for the people of this country.
“Yes, as leaders, we have a responsibility to guide those coming behind but the guidance should be based on this firmly rooted democratic principle. Mr. Chairman, therefore, it is my singular honor and privilege to hand over to you or your representative two receipts: one, presidential expression of interest and the second one, presidential nomination form all totaling N27.5m and I believe I am now entitled to receive my forms and then go onto the next stage.”
Receiving the presidential aspirant, the national chairman of APC, Mr. John Oyegun who expressed happiness over the development said that the train of APC has begun.
According to him, the destination of the train was the Aso Rock Presidential villa.
The chairman who also reminded Atiku of other interests in the party however assured of a rancour free primary election.
“This is APC, we are a new party, new generation, a new nation and we are trying to point the way to the future and so, you are one of those who could be our president in very not too distant future, it is necessary that we tell the whole that APC train has started rolling.
“It is necessary that we tell the whole that we represent the new perspective, we represent the finest and the democratic ideals.
My prayer today is that God will give us that man that will change the destiny of this country. And so, as you have come, and I pray the others will come, it is the first opportunity to present you as members to the entire nation. So, it was very important that this ceremony should be undertaken.
“You can eventually hear the relief all of the place that yes, truly the ball of this party has started rolling and that when it finally stops, it will be on Aso rock. So, I want to very formally present to you with all the good wishes of the party, first the expression of interest form which you have duly paid for and secondly, the nomination form for president.
“And as I give it to you, it will be with prayer that God will give to us that president who will change the destiny of this nation; that president that will make Nigeria high again in every corner of this world; that person that will defend the interest of Nigerians in whatever part of the world they happen to live; that president that when other nations will subsequently look at us, they look at us with respect.
“They will look at us with the eyes of the most populous Africa nation that will speak for all people of black nation in whatever corner of the world that they live. That is the mission that APC has set itself to rescue, redeem this country.
I want to just end by saying that we are also looking forward to a contest between all our of presidential aspirants, each of them eminently qualified for what you are here for but they haven’t come. But we are looking for a contest that will be totally rancour free”, he stated.