A former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, has said the assignment given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari is to restore peace within the All Progressives Congress.
Tinubu said this after a closed door meeting with the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the APC at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
He said, “I am here at the secretariat of the APC where I am a member and a pillar and the meeting today is to seek peace and have dialogue.”
Also speaking to reporters shortly after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, explained that the interaction was designed to strategise on how to go about the assignment given to Asiwaju by the President.
He added that the party leadership promised to give him all the necessary support and assistance to achieve success.
Abdullahi said, “It was an exploratory meeting to strategise on how to move forward. It was a meeting to share ideas and plan how we progress in the days ahead. We are all happy to work together and we are happy that the assignment was given to Asiwaju as our leader and we are willing and ready to cooperate with him.
“At this meeting, we all made it clear that we would work with him and the national chairman said we would cooperate with him in whatever way and support him in this assignment.”
Responding to a question on the term of reference given to the Tinubu-led panel, Abdullahi said, “The terms of reference is to look at areas of conflict where we have issues and as a political party, we must have issues.
“So, the term of reference is to reconcile members where they are disagreement and to build our party in whatever way.”
He reiterated the fact that the APC National Leader was given a free hand to pick his team.
Earlier, Tinubu said the change Nigerians were seeking could not be served like instant coffee, it must be gradual.
He said this before reporters were asked to leave the venue of the meeting for the party leaders to meet behind closed doors.
Tinubu said, “Change cannot be served like instant coffee, we have to grow it, we have to face challenges. I sympathise with us and I want us to also look at ourselves (as a party) since we won the last elections that expectation was very high and the goodwill was extremely very high but where are we today?
“My mission is to seek opinion and advice on the various conflicts we have in some states, or if there is any national one to reconcile, move the party in a cohesive manner, and reposition if any.”
He added, “I came for consultations. Consultations since you are aware of the assignment given to me by the President and I am all ears to listen to the various challenges that we have.
“We have this party, we all worked hard after the last convention, we had congresses in various wards to elect the party leaders we have at the various levels. We’ve never governed before but we won the confidence of Nigerians to govern.”
Tinubu, who arrived the APC National Secretariat at about 2.05 pm, went into the office of the APC National Chairman where they met briefly before walking into the conference hall.
Earlier, Odigie-Oyegun had while welcoming Tinubu and his entourage said, it was necessary for the APC to put its house in order “to become a political force in 2019.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “We have major issues in the National Assembly, we have major issues in Benue State, we have major issues in Kano State, we have major issues in Kogi…”
In response, Tinubu said his mission to the party secretariat was in line with the task given to him by President Buhari to resolve the crisis facing the party at various levels.
He explained that despite the challenges facing the party and the administration, the APC remains the best alternative for Nigerians.
Tinubu observed that many were not aware of the enormity of the challenges because hope and the goodwill of the party enjoyed at inception were very high.