The Third National Convention and Presidential Primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) went under way in the early hours of Thursday, 11th December, 2014 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
There are five aspirants of the party: a former Head of State, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso; publisher of Leadership newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah; and Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
But the talk of the town was the pre-convention speech of Buhari which gave him a standing ovation. Suffice to add that each aspirant was allowed to speak to the delegates for 10 minutes to convince them (delegates) on why they deserve the delegates’ votes.
Although known to be taciturn, Buhari sent the crowd of delegates and party members agog with his speech delivered in less than 10 minutes.
He said, “I have always served Nigeria to the best of my ability. I have always tried to give more to the nation than it has given me. This is the principle of service that has guided my public life. Thus, I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a pocketful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale.
“What I will give you, and this nation is all of my strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service of the people. What I can give you is my all.
“I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically govern it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practise their faiths in peace and security; a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behavior and a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity.
“Nigeria is our home. Let us now turn it into the great nation we know it can and should be.”
Buhari’s speech drew a loud ovation from the crowd, some of who gave him a standing ovation.
In what could pass for where the sympathy of the governors and the APC national leadership lies, the VIP section, where the party’s past and current national chairmen, Chief Bisi Akande and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, respectively sat went agog after Buhari made his famous speech.