The Alhaji Abubakar Sokoto-led faction of the Unity Party of Nigeria has endorsed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for Saturday’s elections.
The faction also dissociated the party from an earlier endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by the other faction led by Dr. Fredrick Fasheun.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the party chairman said Jonathan’s endorsement by Fasheun was a nullity because he has since been suspended from the party.
Sokoto told reporters that genuine members of the UPN whom he was leading, have identified with the aspirations of the APC candidate because he has all the credentials of a committed Nigerian, who has all it takes to change the nation.
He, therefore, enjoined all leaders of the party to mobilise their supporters especially at the grassroots level to vote for Buhari.
UPN also threw its weight behind the use of card readers and permanent voter cards for the election.
Sokoto said, “The National Executive Committee of our great party which I represent did not mince words from distancing themselves from the decision of the former national chairman of the party, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun’s endorsement of President Jonathan as the party’s adopted candidate.
“We would like to state clearly with all emphasis at our disposal that the UPN formally endorsed Buhari and direct all its supporters across the country to cast their votes for Buhari as APC presidential candidate.
“Our party is in support of political stability, corrupt free society and total defeat of insurgency in the country and believes Buhari is capable of handling these issues with tremendous success”.
In response, Deputy National Chairman of APC (North), Senator Lawan Shuaibu, assured the UPN that the APC will reciprocate their kind gesture when it wins the elections.
Shuaibu noted that leaders of the UPN have demonstrated their willingness to join APC to realise the quest for change, adding that the opposition party has never used monetary inducement to attract people to its rallies.
The APC chieftain urged the supporters of UPN to ensure that they not only vote, but stay around the polling units to ensure their votes are counted and that the votes counts.
He said, “We expect our supporters to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and we do not expect anyone supporting Buhari to ignite or incite violence during and after the coming elections”.
According to him, the ruling PDP has failed to provide the ‘fresh air’ which it promised Nigerians when it was voted into office in 2011.
Shuaibu also said, “I thank you for making the right thing at the right time. We believe that this time for all progressive parties to come together to forge a better future.
“We also believe that whoever supports APC to realise the desired change will not be abandoned. He said the move to actualize the change is not just that of APC alone, but that of other like-minds across the country”.