Smarting from the success of its first elective National Convention held at Eagle Square, Abuja at the weekend, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is said to be considering the consensus option in selecting its presidential candidate if at all to stem possible balkanisation an outright election may fraught on the party.
At the convention, the party adopted the controversial option of electing most of its 75-member National Working Committee (NWC).
The outcome of the weekend exercise ostensibly threw up Mr President as the primus interferes with the APC. Despite initial opposition, particularly from governors on the platform of the party, the President saw through his candidates for most of the party positions including the National Chairman. It was public knowledge that most of the governors favoured a different person from Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the eventual winner. All other aspirants for the chairmanship position stepped down shortly before the commencement of the elective convention. Although it was suggested in some quarters that they were browbeaten into taking the step. The exercise went on smoothly devoid of the anticipated ruckus.
Meanwhile, the possibility of adopting the consensus option is said not to enjoy the support of members of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu camp. Mr Tinubu has indicated an interest in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in office.
The South-West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA’23) shortly after the weekend event said the idea of a consensus presidential candidate for the APC is unacceptable as it will cause rancour and division in the party.
When asked if, going by the success of the convention, the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections could emerge through the same process, Hon. Bosun Oladele, SWAGA’s National Secretary said the issue of consensus will not be accepted as all intending aspirants should be made to slug it out for the ticket.
According to him, nobody should try to get the APC presidential ticket through the backdoor.
“There is nothing like a consensus presidential candidate. That will be a short cut which they know cannot be possible through a primary if all the aspirants file out on the field. Nobody should think of getting the ticket through the back door.
“Don’t forget, Asiwaju Tinubu deliberately said that he has the capacity. So, I believe that is the number one requirement for anybody that wants to contest the election”.
“Whoever is contesting, let them go to the field and show their capacity. After all, if not for contested primaries, would it have been possible for Buhari to emerge in 2015? I believe if he had emerged by consensus then, there would have been serious protest and division in the party”.
“Everybody saw that the process that produced him was free and fair, devoid of any imposition. So, that is what we should be looking at, not a consensus arrangement” he said.
A member of the newly elected NWC, who wishes to remain anonymous, insists that the option is in the best interest of the party. “In fact, members and stakeholders of the party, particularly the new NWC must support Mr President to decide his preferred candidate, who can consolidate on his achievements, and never should they allow attempts at forcing the party, to conduct an expensive presidential primary or such that can destabilise the unity of the party”, he stated.