Ahead of the March 26 National Convention of the All Progressives Congress, the President, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Thursday, in Abuja, urged party leaders and stakeholders to stick to the zoning arrangement released three weeks ago by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.

This is as he urged them to avoid distractions and to channel their energies into improving the fortunes of the party in the forthcoming elections.

Receiving APC National Assembly leadership at the State House, the president reminded members of the proximity of the election dates set by INEC, admonishing that positions should be harmonized with a bigger picture of winning elections and providing good governance.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Thursday, titled, ‘Avoid distractions, keep your eyes on the ball, President Buhari tells APC leaders, members.’

Buhari told the lawmakers that a zoning template was produced and adopted by the party after wide consultations in order to ensure that the leadership was reflective of the diversity in unity while representing various dynamic interests.

“It is imperative that we adhere to that template. The time available to us is limited and I, therefore, enjoin you to collaborate with the various stakeholders within and outside your respective states and zones to agree to work together and harmoniously in electing into the allotted positions appropriately, as stipulated in the provided template.

“This will not only produce a smooth process and limit friction but will enhance the image of the party positively and strengthen our overall position of dominance in the political space,” he noted.

Buhari also emphasised that as the National Convention draws closer, members cannot afford to do anything that will jeopardize the chances of the party in the 2023 General Elections.

The limited time frame of the INEC timetable does not permit us any room for delay or further squabbling. We must therefore in the light of this reality consistently keep our eyes on the ball and refuse any distraction.

“A critical segment of our national democratic process is the National Assembly. Being representatives of our people from all over the country, the National Assembly especially the 9th Assembly has exhibited a commitment to a peaceful democratic process in its conduct and utmost maturity in its relationship with other arms of government. I commend you, the leadership for this success.

“Distinguished Senators and Honorable Members, we have an obligation to conduct the upcoming convention in a manner that not only fortifies the unity of our party but also improves the prospects of our electoral fortunes in the 2023 general elections. You have an important role to play in ensuring that this happens,’’ he said.

The APC lawmakers were led to the meeting by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

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