Mallam Saliu Mustapha, one of the aspirants for the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) at the just concluded National Convention, said he withdrew from the race in the larger interest of the party.
Mustapha, also Turaki of Ilorin, said this in a statement by his media aide, Mr Dapo Okubanjo on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Abuja.
“Since our party held its long-awaited national convention on March 26. I and my team have been inundated with calls from political associates and friends, and even the media, on what they viewed as an unexpected turn of events that saw me stepping down on the convention day.
“Indeed many would have wanted me to take the battle to the convention ground because that was our goal, but we had to pull back in deference to our great leader President Muhammadu Buhari.
“My decision to concede was never an easy one, but I pride myself as a core party man who does not joke with loyalty and party supremacy,” he said.
He said that only a few years ago, he considered the greater goal of the party and Kwara by refusing to take steps that could have jeopardised its fortune. Mustapha said this was when he was unfairly treated at the Kwara governorship primaries, saying however, that he had no regret over the issue.
He congratulated the new party leadership and urged it to hit the ground running.
“The new executives should complete the reconciliation process which was started by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, the party’s new national chairman,” he said.
Mustapha who was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), added that this was critical because of the 2023 general elections in just a few months’ time.
He commended members of his campaign team for their commitment and zeal.
“To my political associates, friends, members of my campaign organisation and other volunteers in support groups across the country who all worked tirelessly on the project, I urge you all to keep the faith.
“And I also won’t forget to appreciate the good people of Kwara for their unquantifiable support in spite of everything.
“We may have lost a battle but we did not lose the war, we brought colour and brilliant ideas to the race, and indeed our party members and the leadership took notice.
“We hope to meet with the new party executives led by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu with a view to sharing our thoughts on the way forward with them,’’ he said.
Mustapha said that he remained loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari as he was one of the prime movers of The Buhari Organisation (TBO) some years back.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adamu emerged as APC new National Chairman on a concensus arrangement after six other aspirants stepped down for him.
The aspirants included: Malam Saliu Mustapha, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Sen. Sani Musa, Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, former Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and Etsu Muhammed.
This followed an earlier request by Buhari that a consensus candidate should be picked to ensure a peaceful and rancour-free National Convention.