President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he wished Bisi Akande, pioneer interim chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), attended the national executive committee (NEC) meeting of the party.
Though not a member of NEC, which is for elected members of the party, Akande could attend the meeting based on his clout.
Bola Tinubu, national leader of APC, was also absent at Friday’s meeting.
Buhari, who urged those in attendance to respect the wish of the party, recalled the role Akande played in the formative stage of APC.
“I personally congratulate Chief Bisi Akande, it’s a pity he is not here, he led the interim party with dexterity and integrity,” he said.
“I respect his patriotism. When we got the APC name through the agreement of various committees of the respective parties, we started working from polling unit upwards, eventually we ended up in the convention, which gave us the leadership of the party.
“After that the election started, and again it started from the bottom top. I have gone to this extent because not all of us here participated in it and for you to reflect and thank the leadership of the party at various stages for going through all this, which is not easy. But God in his infinite mercy has helped by giving us acceptance. Let us not throw this success to the wind.”
The absence of both men from the first NEC meeting of the party since it won the March 28 presidential election is believed to be connected with the crisis rocking the APC since the emergence of the leaders of the 8th assembly.
Commenting on their absence, Lai Mohammed, spokesman of the party said: “Invitation to the meeting was at the discretion of the NWC or NEC on whom to invite and it is not out of respect to the question why they are not here but the bottom line is that neither of them is a member of the exco of the party.”
Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice-president, could not make the meeting because he represented the president at the graduation of senior course 37 of armed forces command and staff college, Jaji, Kaduna state. Meanwhile, Saraki, Dogara, Femi Gbajabiamila, Ahmad Lawan, senators, house of rep members and many governors of the APC were in attendance.