Newly elected National Executive Committete (NEC) members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are billed to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday 20th April , 2022 where critical decisions particularly regarding the mode or shape of electing the party standard bearers are expected to be taken.
A four paragraph statement by Barr. Felix Morka, the party’s National Publicity Secretary did not reveal much beyond saying the meeting is to consider the party’s Timetable/Schedule of Activities for Primaries for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 General Elections and other relevant business of the party.
Eighteen-Eleven Media however reliably gathered that the meeting, which will be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, will not only consider a new timetable for presidential primaries and cost of forms for various positions, it will also take a decision on when a direct election, indirect election or consensus option should be adopted in picking flag bearers for various positions for the party.
No fewer than four prominent members of the party have publicly declared their interest in succeeding President Buhari in office after May 2023. They include current Vice-President, Professor ‘Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi; current governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Although there a number of others may also indicate intwrest in the plum seat in coming days.
It is expected that the party’s decision on the mode of election will serve as a gambit for the aspiration of the presidential aspirants in particular. Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the newly sworn-in National Chairman of the party had recently refused to rule out the possibility of the party presidential candidate emerging through consensus.
Speaking with reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Adamu said the party’s constitution has direct, indirect and consensus modes of primaries to choose from to select its 2023 presidential candidate.
He said the party is open to adopting any of the three and would make a decision in due time.
Adamu’s comments is coming against the backdrop of reports that supporters of Asiwaju Tinubu are not comfortable with the consensus option of selecting the party’s presidential candidate. They fear that some cabals in the presidency, who are trying to push for consensus are doing so to edge out Mr Tinubu from the race for the party’s presidential ticket. Consequently, they are calling for the leadership of the party to jettison the consensus option and go for either direct or indirect primaries.
Since APC came to power in 2015, the party has never adopted a consensus to nominate its presidential candidate. In 2014, the party used direct primary at a convention held in Lagos. The party also retained the option in 2019 although President Buhari was the sole candidate who purchased nomination forms.
Meanwhile, there has been a report of how Mr Tinubu during a meeting with a compact group of Yoruba leaders recently in Akure, disclosed to them that President Buhari was not supporting his bid to succeed him in 2023.
He reportedly confided in the elders at the meeting comprising, among others, Elder Reuben Fasoranti, a former Secretary to the Federal Government, Chief Olu Falae and the Secretary-General of Afenifere, Chief Seinde Arogbofa, that regardless of the lack of presidential backing for him, he was going ahead with his presidential project.
Mr Tinubu’s disposition has heightened anxiety in the APC about a likely battle-to-the-finish that may not leave the legacy party intact ahead of the 2023 general elections.
But, according to feelers, a vast majority of the APC governors, especially from the North, are said to be rooting for Mr Osinbajo from the South-West to emerge as the party’s standard-bearer.
Their support, it was learnt, stemmed from the grounds of popularity and experience (having been in the presidency for about eight years as VP) mental capacity, clarity of thoughts and visions on socio-economic and political issues, coherence of speech, agility, and loyalty to the President, among others.
It is also believed that settling on Mr Osinbajo would eventually take care, whether remotely or directly, of Mr Tinubu’s “interest” in that he was somewhat instrumental to the emergence of Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate in 2015.
Significantly, the issue of religion is key in the emergence of APC’s standard-bearer. There is a strong argument that supports a Christian candidate since a Muslim president from the North has been in the saddle for about eight years.
Besides, a Muslim president has never historically emerged from the South of Nigeria.
It, therefore, follows that a Northern Muslim would emerge as a Vice-Presidential candidate to any who emerges as the standard-bearer. Eighteen-Eleven Media scooped that a good number of APC governors from the core Northern states, who are Muslims, are quietly and strategically positioning themselves to become running mates to Mr Osinbajo. That makes the Osinbajo option formidable and promising.