Anxiety, tension in APC over Buhari’s request on successor

By Tunde Joshua

A few days to the commencement of presidential primary poll of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday solicited the support of governors elected on the platform of the party to give him a free hand in picking who succeeds him in 2023.

The demand immediately reignited fears and tension in the ruling political grouping that the dreaded consensus formula might be used to decide who succeeds Buhari, this obviating the need for the primary election fielding many political warriors. Buhari held a consultative meeting with members of the Progressives Governors Forum headed by Alhaji Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The party is apparently in a dilemma of picking its standard bearer for the 2023 presidential election after the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Last Monday and Tuesday, 23 APC presidential aspirants were screened by a committee led by a former national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun.

The president who preached internal cohesion told the governor’s that the party needed to effectively manage the selection process in a manner that will not cause implosion and rancour.

He pointed out to the governors that most of them select their successors without the party checkmating them, and that he should be allowed to find a dependable successor who is capable of continuing laudable programmes and policies of the party after the completion of his tenure on May 29,2023.

The president also told the governors that it was time for them to reciprocate his good gestures towards them on many occasions by acceding to his request.

Buhari in his speech said: “the transition processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful Political Parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes.

Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation. “As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the Party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the Party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.

“Such leadership is required so that the Party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the center, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain additional number of states at state levels.

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“In pursuit of the foregoing objectives, the Party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first term Governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election.

Similarly, second term Governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.

“In a few days, the Party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections.

This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.

“As we approach the Convention, I appeal to all of you to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community.

Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of the candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.

“In keeping with the established internal policies of the Party and as we approach the Convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.

I “I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention.

This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger.”

The Trumpet learnt that Buhari’s request gladdened some quarters which believe their aspirants are or may be the anointed one.

The camps of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, former Transport minister Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and even Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi are said to be “expectant, hopeful, optimistic and confident” of clinching it, according to sources.

However, Buhari’s demand has unsettled the camps of some aspirants who believe that they stand a chance of winning the primary, especially that of former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu, who is not seen as a favourite for presidential anointing and coronation.

Some of Tinubu’s supporters and henchmen are vociferous in the media, opposing consensus and criticising any move in that direction by the party or its officials. In fact, crisis has eupted within the leadership of the APC as the National Chairman has been accused of taking unilateral decisions to the exclusion of other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

Two NWC members, Salihu Moh. Lukman, National Vice Chairman (North) and Isaac Kekemeke National Vice Chairman (South-West) on Tuesday said there was need for urgent intervention and members to be vigilant. The pro-Tinubu duo in a statement said they were compelled to speak out following postponement of the scheduled NWC meetings, twice within 48 hours.

They said: “we are convinced beyond doubt that this is a deliberate attempt to foist a fait accompli on the NWC on fundamental issues that affect our great party.

“Within just two months in the lifespan of the new leadership of our great party, APC, led by His Excellency, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, the NWC, organ of the party vested with the power of managing the dayto-day affairs, including implementing decisions of the National Executive Committee (NEC), as provided in Article 13.4 of the APC Constitution, has been rendered redundant.

“The National Chairman takes decisions unilaterally. When it suits him, he invokes the name of our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari to blackmail NWC members into accepting his decisions.

“Every effort to get the Chairman to respect the authority of the NWC as elected by the March 26, 2022 APC National Convention is proving very difficult, if not impossible.

Note that NEC’s donation of its powers was to NWC and not to the National Chairman or any individual. “The two national vice chairmen said they have no option but to make this public appeal to all APC leaders to intervene please urgently to call the National Chairman, His Excellency, Abdullahi Adamu to order, immediately.

“The National Chairman must be properly reminded to recognise that the business of managing the day-to-day affairs of the party is the responsibility of the NWC as provided in provisions of the APC Constitution.

“He is free to consult any party leader(s). Such consultations will not represent decisions of the NWC or any organ of the party unless and until it is adopted by a properly constituted meeting of the NWC or organ in question according to the letters and spirit of the APC constitution.

“As a party, we have suffered enough judicial embarrassments arising from clearly avoidable leadership breach of our party’s constitution and spelt out rules.

“As members of the NWC who have the mandate of our members, we hereby serve notice to His Excellency, Abdullahi Adamu, and through him to all APC leaders that henceforth, any decision taken by the National Chairman or any other party functionary, which require the approval of the NWC as enshrined in the APC constitution, will be considered as illegitimate and an infringement on the jurisdictional scope of the NWC, unless otherwise confirmed as validly approved decisions of the NWC or any other legitimate organ of the party.

“No NWC member is elected at the March 26, 2022 National Convention to warm seats or offices in the National Secretariat.

“We therefore call on all our colleagues in the NWC to rise to these challenging situations by joining hands with us to save our great party and return it to its founding mission of moving Nigeria forward based on honest, fair, just and selfless commitment to party building. God bless our party!”


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