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Buhari, Tinubu, other APC chiefs’ mind games heighten ahead of primary

By Tunde Joshua

Buhari fired the first salvo when he enjoined APC g o v e r n o r s to allow him to choose his successor like they do.

This demand ruffled feathers in some quarters, including presidential aspirants who are pushing for the primary election instead of consensus candidacy. Reactions followed immediately.

Tension in the APC has reached a crescendo and uneasy calm is pervading the entire Buhari House edifice, the party’s national secretariat, over uncertainty over where the presidential ticket pendulum swings.

Millions of the party faithful were thrown off balance by Buhari’s plea that APC governors should allow him to nominate his successor from the 23 screened aspirants.

Many were more confused than they were before the ‘unfriendly’ Villa meeting. The President blackmailed the governors and subsequently sowed a seed of discord among them as to whether they should give an express permission to his request or requested reciprocal respect by the president.

The division is obvious as some governors seeking reelection 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’.

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

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

Despite this, there is tension over nonmentioning of the 10 uncleared aspirants; not forgetting that there are petitions against a few of them including Tinubu bothering on his nationality and educational certificates.

Although Buhari has not named his anointed successor, the camp of a few of the aspirants, particularly, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is already charged and 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 on how he crowned Buhari in 2014 as well as Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun sounded defeatist and he seems to be poised for the worse, after all an adage says “he who is down needs fear no fall again”.

A 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 C o o r d i n a t o r , O s u n States’Chapter BATIC MOVEMENT of Nig, one of the numerous Bola Tinubu support groups said President Buhari if 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 you 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 unrivaled, 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 personal self interest of yours and that of some clique.

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

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“The attempt to handpick a successor by the Mr President would be tantamount to autocracy, oppression and dictatorial. If Mr President could allow the contenders after being adequately screened to slug it out under free and fair primary election,like it was done during his time amongst other contestants 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 international community.

“Nigerians knew who they want as their next President,and 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, because the people got good deal for what they preferred.

“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 uncleared , consensus talk is still ongoing to get the buy-in of a few that could be compelled to bow to the ‘anointed candidate.’

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