Crisis is brewing in the All progressives Congress APC in a bid for the party to elect the flagbearer for the 2023 general election.
This is coming as some presidential aspirants and stakeholders in the party said they are ready for battle line to truncate an attempt on a consensus presidential candidate or any form of imposition whatsoever.
Some APC governors are reportedly “tracked down’ in Abuja, meeting on a regional basis, and working on the “consensus mandate.”
“They are to prevail on aspirants from their regions to step down if they are not chosen as the consensus candidate. We must achieve a consensus by the weekend. They are to discuss with the aspirants.
“Those who accept to step down will be refunded their N100 million nomination form fees or rewarded with positions if APC wins,” a source close to one of the Northern APC governors disclosed.
The next stage of the battle according to source would be fought at the National Working Committee, NWC, where decisions would be taken on the report of the Presidential Screening Committee chaired by one-time Edo State governor and former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. The seven-man panel concluded its two-day work on Wednesday. It was not clear last night if it had turned in its report.
However, sources said a decision on the panel’s report will be informed by how well the governors get the aspirants to step down.
APC National Vice-Chairman, North-West, Salihu Moh. Lukman, early in the week, accused the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, of being dictatorial and not carrying other members of the NWC along in his decisions. Recently, the National Executive Committee, NEC, ceded its powers to the NWC for 90 days. In essence, whatever the NWC decides on the Odigie-Oyegun committee’s report is final.
some aspirants are reportedly not comfortable with Senator Adamu’s style, especially as he declared upon taking over the reins of the APC in March that he would work with the plans of President Muhammadu Buhari to install the next president.
Indeed, President Buhari, on Tuesday, appealed to governors elected on the platform of the APC to allow him to pick his successor. The appeal has generated a lot of reactions.
The President’s succession plan elicited sharp criticisms from APC national stakeholders, and a member of the NWC, Salihu Moh. Lukman; the Pan Niger-Delta Forum, PANDEF; former General Secretary of the YorubSocio-Political Group, Afenifere, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa; and Dr Yemi Farounbi.
However, Governor Yahaya Bello, who is aspiring to succeed Buhari on the banner of the APC, Senator Ali Ndume, and Convener of the Progressives Lawyers for Osinbajo, Dr Kayode Ajulo threw their weight behind Buhari. While Ndume said Buhari’s move is democratic, Ajulo urged APC governors to reciprocate, and Governor Yahaya Bello through his campaign organization said Buhari is the leader of the party and knows what to do to keep APC in power.
one of the presidential aspirants from the South reportedly said the idea of asking any aspirant to step down will not work.
The source warned that any attempt to settle for a northern candidate will affect the fortunes of the party.
“They have gone past the stage of asking aspirants to step down or for a consensus. Who will you ask to step down? President Buhari has the final say, he has the yam and the knife. By the time he returns (from Spain), he will state who he has settled for. What he may likely do is to throw up two names and call for debate and input from party leaders but he will have the final say.
“We are hearing that he may settle for a Northerner. If he does that, the party will go up in flames. We hope he does the needful.”
In an open letter, APC National Vice Chairman, North-West, Salihu Moh. Lukman urged President Buhari to be conscious of his legacies and avoid falling into the temptation of unilaterally picking his successor.
Noting that it would be “democratically risky and very costly” to allow the president does so, Lukman urged President Buhari not to copy what he described as the anti-democratic credentials of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who foisted his successor, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and went on to rig the general election to ensure his emergence as president.
Lukman in the piece titled: “Succession and 2023 APC Presidential Candidate: Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari” was reacting to the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting between President Buhari and APC Governors.
Noting that ordinarily, Buhari’s appeal should not be a problem as both party members and leaders will always trust the president’s judgment, the APC official however noted that “the big worry is whether loyal party leaders and members should just reduce themselves to being ordinary observers when very sensitive issues with very high potential to diminish and damage Your Excellency’s revered status in the country is being considered”
The immediate past Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF noted that it is important therefore to caution APC to keep faith with basic tenets of democracy as its major campaign message to Nigerians for the 2023 elections.
“This was eloquently highlighted in Your Excellency’s message to our Progressive Governors when you stated that ‘the key to electoral successes is the ability to hold consultations and for members to put the nation above other interests.’
“The temptation for leaders to choose their successors is democratically risky and very costly. If in 2013/2014, Your Excellency could submit yourself to internal democratic processes, it is important that your successor also follows the same process.
“It may also be necessary to highlight that a major disadvantage with succession arrangement whereby Governors chose their successors is that it negatively affects the relationship between the successor and the predecessor, which undermines the capacity to influence actions or inactions of successors by their predecessors. Your Excellency, since the period of negotiating the merger that produced our party, APC, I have been a proponent of ensuring that our party takes every step to preserve our leaders who could exercise moral authority. This means that leaders who are highly respected on account of their standing in society should not hold elective or appointive positions. It was for that reason that I openly campaigned against your aspiration to emerge as the Presidential candidate of our party for the 2015 election.
“Sir, recall that one of my arguments was that as President, the capacity of party leaders to influence your decisions will be weak. Without going into details, Your Excellency, this has come to pass. The big fear is that combining both legal and moral authority, being our President if you are to nominate your successor to what extent can other party leaders influence your decision? If party leaders are unable to influence your decision concerning the choice of successor, what will be the guarantee that your choice can aggregate the expectations of Nigerians?
“There is the overriding requirement to appeal to you to kindly resist the temptation. I would have wished we had enough time for open debate within our party.
“Unfortunately, as things are, we have less than one week to settle this matter. Sadly also, a combination of inherited reality, and perhaps vested interests of some party leaders, processes of internal debates around this matter are being impeded. Even meetings of NWC are not exploring these issues. Even logistical issues of organizing the National Convention are being handled informally. And as far as our National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu is concerned, relating with you and probably directly communicating with positions of members of NWC, is his exclusive jurisdiction, which limits you to the selective perspective that may only be self-serving to some party leaders.
“Like in the case of December 10, ,2014 APC National Convention, everything will be done at June 6, 2022, APC National Convention to guarantee level playing field for all aspiring Presidential candidates of our party. Any recommendation to the contrary will be inimical and injurious to the electoral fortunes of our great party, APC,”