Akin Akande, Abuja
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned what it described as persistent campaign of calumny against the All Progressives Congress (APC) by some faceless groups insisting that the party is not control by Muslims.
The leading opposition party described the attempt to use ethno-religious sentiments to destroy the budding party as a cheap shot that has fallen flat on the faces of the purveyors of falsehood.
The party in as statement released by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, however, thanked Nigerians for rejecting the attempt, going by their reactions on the Social Media where the latest campaign is being waged by those who are hell bent on perpetuating mediocre leadership in Nigeria.
Unconfirmed reports accused APC of filing a list of its national leaders with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The list is said to include North, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (Party Leader, North); Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Party Leader, South); Abdulkareem Bisi Akande (National Chairman); Aminu Bello Masari (Deputy National Chairman) Tijjani Musa Tumsah (National Secretary) Nasir El-Rufai (Deputy National Secretary) and Lai Muhammed (National Publicity Secretary).
The unofficial list also includes: Sadiya Umar Faruq (National Treasurer) Alhaji Shaibu Musa (National Financial Secretary) Abubakar Lado (National Youth Leader) Muiz Banire (National Legal Adviser) Bala Jibril (National Deputy Auditor) Sharia Ikeazor (National Women) Muniru Muse (Ex-Officio Member) and Ex-Officio Member (Alhaji Yemi Sanusi). All the men on the unofficial list are Muslims.
“These purveyors of falsehood do not want good governance. That’s why they are peddling the lies that the interim leadership of the APC is controlled by Muslims, and that it did not reflect the country’s plural values,” the party said.
”The truth is that while ethno-religious sentiments did not form the criteria used in selecting the interim leadership, we were conscious that Nigeria is a country of plural values. That is why we have 17 Christians and 18 Muslims (the best balance possible in the odd number of 35 posts that were shared). That is why the 35 occupants of the positions are from 29 different states, four more than the 25 stipulated by INEC. It was equal opportunity across all zones!” it said.
ACN challenged anyone who doubts the authenticity of the facts and figures quoted above to verify them at INEC, instead of taking to the Social Media to spread rumours.
The party described the latest attempt to abort the APC baby as the last-ditch effort by those who have mounted similar campaigns against the party in the past, to no avail.
”First, they ambushed us by duplicating our acronym, sponsored of course by those who are well known to Nigerians and, when that failed to slow down our momentum, they said the sharing of posts will divide us and ultimately sound our death knell,” ACN said.
“With these moves having failed woefully, they have now played what they considered their most potent joker: the ethno-religious card. Thankfully, this too has failed. Nigerians are so desirous of good governance that they will not allow any play on sentiments to shake their resolve,” it said.
ACN said the promoters of the APC are so determined to give Nigeria the good leadership that has eluded the country for so long that they have decided to shelve their differences and make whatever sacrifices that are necessary to achieve their objective.
The party appealed to all Nigerians who want an end to the rapacious and incompetent leadership currently plaguing their country to continue to disregard attempts by enemies of progress to sabotage the birth of the APC, in addition to being vigilant in the days ahead, saying: ”After all, it is said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”