President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged Nigerians not to allow those who plundered the nation’s commonwealth between 1999 and 2015 return to power.
There was a mild drama at the NEC Hall of the APC National Secretariat, Abuja, where he submitted his nomination form.
The drama was created by the insistence of APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole that President Buhari should pay N100 before collecting his party’s digital membership card.
Oshiomhole also told the President that the party now has over 15.6 million members across the country.
President Buhari, who expressed appreciation to those who contributed money to buy the form for him, assured all that if given the mandate and reelected next year, he will continue to serve the country to the best of his ability.
He said: “I am here in person among friends and colleagues to put my name forward to my party, the APC seeking nomination to contest the presidential election next year 2019.
“Fellow party members, I am taking this step with all humility, sense of responsibility and unquestionable desire to serve and protect the interest of all Nigerians.
“I am very grateful to those dozens of organisations who have teamed up and contributed funds to purchase these forms. I assure them and rest of Nigerians that if nominated, and if elected, I shall continue to serve you to the best of my abilities.
“Let me today appeal to party members not to be complacent but to prepare, strategise 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.”
Oshiomhole told the President that within the last two months, the party leadership digitalised the party’s membership register and came up with a digital membership card which cannot easily be forged.
He said as at the last count, the party’s membership strength across the country stood at 15.6 million, adding that the register had been done in such a way that anybody could verify the membership of any party member within the confines of his room.
Oshiomhole said: “We want to present to you some of the efforts we have been making since our assumption of office. We promised to activate the membership data, update it and register more members because our party is a mass movement and to be able talk about the size of our party, we need to have evidence that can be verified by all members.
“We have taken advantage of modern technology to produce what we think is the best or the first in Nigeria. As at last week when they started printing the membership register, we now have about 15.6 million registered APC members across the country.
“The system has been designed in such a way that from the comfort of any member’s sitting room, you can crosscheck your membership and membership of any one you want to verify without any effort.”
Presenting the membership card to the President, the party chair said: “Mr. President, this is your card, which I am proud to say cannot be easily forged or duplicated or printed by road side printers. We are very proud of this achievement because it fits into our mantra of change. We now have a digital membership register.
“The card will expire December 31, 2023. It is our belief that by then, technology would have improved and we will be able to improve on the card. You have to pay N100 to acquire this because we have to pay for it.
“For the purpose of a direct primary, every member coming to vote will show his membership card which must correspond with the details on the register before he can vote. We decided display these openly so that people will know that we have basis to conduct direct primary based on a membership register.
“Before I am misunderstood or misquoted, it goes to say that in spite of the fact that we have this credible membership register, it does not in any way modify or change the decision of NEC regarding the flexibility that was agreed to.
“At the NWC, we try to give practical expression as transparently as possible so that the party will not only be the largest, it will be smartest, the most democratic and the most cohesive.”
The President arrived at the APC secretariat at exactly 3.44pm. A crowd of supporters was shouting: Sai Baba.