Buhari, APC Consensus question and the Tinubu debacle 

Tunde Joshua, Politics Editor, Abuja

Tension in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reached a crescendo and uneasy calm pervaded the entire Buhari House edifice of the party’s national secretariat over the uncertainty of where the party’s presidential ticket pendulum swings.

Millions of party faithful were thrown off balance by President Muhammadu Buhari’s plea with APC governors that he should be allowed to nominate his successor from the 23 screened presidential aspirants. Many were more confused than they were before the Villa ‘unfriendly’ meeting.

The President blackmailed the governors and subsequently sowed seed of discord among them as to whether they should give express permission to his request and reciprocate the respect from the president.

The division is obvious as some governors seeking re-election are ready to do the president’s bidding while a few others putting up resistance are cautious of being hunted by their past deeds in government by avoiding the ‘Okorocha’s treatment’.

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Buhari’s insistence also is causing rift in the party’s hierarchy as two National Vice Chairmen (North West and South West) have been challenging not only the seeming autocratic posture of APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu but by extension the undemocratic decision of Buhari to foist candidate on the party.

More than four days after concluding the screening exercise, the John Odigie- Oyegun led screening panel just on Friday released the result of the exercise, creating more tension and confusion by just giving the figure of 13 aspirants cleared.

Though Oyegun said 13 candidates were cleared, there is tension over his refusal to mention the names of the 10 aspirants not cleared. Not forgetting that there are petitions against a few of them including Tinubu bothering on his nationality and educational certificates.

Though Buhari has not named his anointed successor, the camp of a few of the aspirants, particularly, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is already charged and their supporters ready to throw caution to the winds.

Tinubu himself obviously gave in to emotion on Thursday in Ogun State when he lamented like someone who knew he ‘has lost the battle’.

His outburst of how he crowned Buhari in 2014 as well as the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun sound defeatist and he seems to be poised for the worst.

Majority of Tinubu’s supporters do not entertain any fear of endorsement from Buhari but asked that the party leadership should allow cleared aspirants to test their popularity among the delegates.

Tunde Hammed Aresa, Deputy Coordinator, Osun States’Chapter BATIC MOVEMENT of NIGERIA, one of the numerous Bola Tinubu support groups said”!if President Buhari is a democrat, he should  come out and work for his anointed but allow aspirants to battle it out at the primary.”

He said “all we have asked the President and anyone preaching consensus to do is to come to the Convention and beat Tinubu if they can.

“The fear of Buhari and his cabal is that should a primary election be held, the chances that Tinubu would win are more likely than not, and they don’t want him to be president.”The Asiwaju Camp is not a begging camp, We don’t want handouts, We don’t want consensus even if it is favourable to the Jagaban Borgu.

“We are ready to put out our heads for the one whose commitment and loyalty to APC is unrivalled, has been productive, has been nationalistic and the results are visible.

“Why would Mr President be soliciting for Governors’ collaboration to personally pick the party’s candidate to flag the ticket in a general election as his successor? What is democratic in that kind of process? A general election candidate for the whole country of over 200 million people to be picked by only one single person for self-interest and that of his clique.

“Why would Mr President allow himself to be dragged by some few people to be involved in an indecent and undemocratic process of electing a new leader to govern the country, despite many capable hands ready to challenge one another in a well composed free and fair democratic practice.

“The attempt to handpick a successor by the Mr President would be tantamount to autocratic, oppressive and dictatorial leadership. If Mr President could allow the contenders after being adequately screened to slug it out under a free and fair primary election just as he did in 2014. It will definitely be acceptable and democratically satisfactory to all parties involved and both local and international watchers, this will give more respect to the President in the eyes of the international community.

“Nigerians know who they want as their next President and the ideal process of electing the most popular and generally accepted candidate would henceforth ensure peaceful governance and reduce acrimony among the politicians and also reduce insecurities in the country.

“Attempt to be undemocratic in the forthcoming party primary election would spell doom for the ruling party”.

While a clearer picture is being awaited on the list of aspirants not cleared, consensus talk is still ongoing to secure the acceptability of a few that could compel others to bow to the ‘anointed candidate’.

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