TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY ISMAEEL AHMED, CHAIRMAN, ALL PROGRESSIVES YOUTH FORUM ON BEHALF OF MOBILZERS AND PROFESSIONALS OF APC WHICH HELD ON THURSDAY, 2ND JUNE 2015 AT THE APC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OFFICE, CENTRAL AREA, ABUJA
1. Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. Thank you all for coming.
2. My name is Barr. Ismaeel Ahmed, I am saddled with the responsibility of convening this round table press parley of Mobilizers and Professionals of APC by my colleagues seated here, and I also Chair the All Progressives Congress Youth Forum (APYF). With me here are members of the forum, and coordinators of different organizations that have helped build the APC and sustain it during its campaigns in different ways, and can be adequately referred to as the custodians of the Change movement that ultimately heralded our victory in the last election cycle.
3. Permit us to begin this press conference by stating clearly that we are loyal Party members and will do whatever is necessary to save the party we help build, nurture and promoted from havoc or injury of whatever kind, especially if this injury is internal, which in most cases could be more dangerous than any other kind of injury. It is also important to note that our purpose here today is to begin to urge the critical elements and stakeholders in the APC to bring about an acceptable and lasting solution to the National Assembly Leadership crisis.
4. As it stands, we would also be remiss if we did not express that as young men and women who have staked our personal and collective reputations, some on the main streets and some on the virtual worlds of social media, defying all kinds of hazards and harassments of being in the opposition and without the attendant protection of money or security like some of the more privileged members of our party, that the way and manner the party has handled the National Assembly Leadership selection and election process has been disconcerting and very disappointing to us as members, and actually frightening to the larger demography of young people across the country.
5. This is because, having emerged victorious at the polls, many young Nigerians believed and still believe that the votes that they cast for our party, signified a change from the business as usual antics of the last 16 years.
6. However, it is clear that as a party we have misunderstood this contract of trust between Nigerian people and us and have become arrogant in victory and made these acts or omissions that have resulted in this crisis and a growing negative perception about us. This election was never about who gets what within the party and government, it is about what will be given in return for such show of confidence by the Nigerian people. In simple terms, it is not what we can get, it is about what we can give.
7. Similarly, the members of the National Assembly currently embroiled in this saga seem to have either forgotten or misunderstood the essence of the Change movement that we all worked hard for. They have inadvertently concentrated more in elevating their political status than the political situation of the country. Citing examples of personal sacrifice as a reason for such pursuit. We are very disappointed in their actions as well.
8. It is also critical for us at this juncture to strongly register our displeasure and disappointment at the emergence of a PDP Senator as the Deputy Senate President. The circumstances of such a costly mistake is condemnable and must be rectified going forward.
9. Having said that, as the emerging generation and the potential beneficiaries of the successes or failures of this APC-led dispensation, given the activities that have persisted over the past few weeks, we have come to the conclusion that it is important we become part of the solution givers and not to dabble too much into the blame game and finger pointing that has so far characterized this sad development.
10. In light of these, we are calling on the President as a committed party man, the leadership of the party, elders of the party, the Progressive Governors Forum and other relevant stakeholders to;
a. Immediately convene a meeting of the relevant stakeholders, namely: the warring factions; the leadership of the party; the various caucuses, and party elders, to resolve the leadership impasse;
b. Insist that all principal officers (not presiding officers) nominated should honorably resign and allow the party to reach a widely consultative consensus on the issue;
c. Everyone must be ready to shift grounds and make the necessary compromises to find a solution. The party cannot be seen to be dictating and the members cannot once again defy the authority of the party. Amicable resolution is therefore tenable.
d. The President should immediately appoint a National Assembly Liaison Officer who will oversee the routine communications between the Presidency and the National Assembly, especially in regards to party members. This will help to bolster the confidence of the legislators, as they will know that they can communicate with the President through his proxy.
e. Assert that all interviews and press releases of whatever kind in relation to this issue by any of the parties involved or leaders of the party must be suspended pending the outcome of such negotiations;
f. Rectify this unwelcome precedent by ensuring that the APC Constitution, bylaws, and any other relevant governing documents be amended to incorporate the selection process for National Assembly presiding and principal officers. Furthermore, these amendments must be clear, democratic, and devoid of any ambiguity;
g. Demand that all faulting parties, including the members of the NWC and the National Assembly that contributed to this crisis must openly apologize to the party and Nigerians. Furthermore, clear sanctionary laws must be effectively implemented whenever the need arises for deterrence on both the leadership and membership side.
11. We believe that these are just some of the compromises that must be made in order to move the party and the nation forward.
12. We must also reiterate that the party has a crucial role to play in the actualization of the mandate that Nigerians have entrusted our elected executives and legislators with.
13. We have already transmitted our wishes to the President, the Senate President and the Chairman of the party, and will meet with many of our party leaders and elders over the next few days to ensure that commensurate action is taken to rectify this situation once and for all.
14. Now is the time for nation building. Now is the time to fix Nigeria. We need all hands on deck for the greater good, and with the guidance of the Almighty, who brought this APC-led dispensation to pass we shall overcome. We shall fix Nigeria, for all of us.
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