BARRING any changes, the All Progressives Congress, APC is set to adopt former Head of State, Gen. Mohammed Buhari (retd) as its consensus candidate for the 2015 presidential election.
Saturday Vanguard’s investigation, yesterday, revealed that the issue featured prominently at the October 17, 2014 National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of the party.
It was gathered that the party’s national leader and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in the course of the meeting, openly declared his support for Buhari as against the expectation of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, another presidential aspirant who was present at the meeting.
A source at the national secretariat of the APC said Tinubu’s open support for Buhari was hinged on the popularity of the former military ruler.
According to him, Tinubu was bitter that his earlier advice to aspirants from the North to agree among themselves for a consensus candidate was not heeded
To that end, he chose to queue behind Buhari’s candidature.
The source added that Tinubu, who was excited by Buhari’s 12 million votes in 2011 presidential elections has decided to bankroll Buhari’s campaign to any length it will take to win the votes of the majority of Nigerians.
He stated that the party believes it is only Buhari that can give President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples democratic Party (PDP) a good run for his money.
He also stated that most national leaders of the party who are loyal to Tinubu do not welcome the idea of primary election to choose their presidential candidate.
“Tinubu said it openly that day that he would support Buhari. He told everyone who was present,” the added.
To pave way for Buhari, the party may not conduct primaries as Atiku is said to have the structure to win delegate election.
So, the APC has scheduled to hold a mini convention on next Wednesday to enable it amend some portions of its constitution that are incongruous with the electoral act on political parties primaries should a party decide not to conduct such.
It will be recalled that Lai Mohammed, APC’s national publicity secretary told Journalists at the end of the NEC meeting that the party was going to hold a mini-convention.
“Principally, we proposed certain amendments to the constitution of the party that will allow the party to function much more efficiently and to that extent we will hold what I call an extraordinary convention of the party on the 29th of this month in Abuja to submit the proposals for the amendment to the national convention of the party,” he said.
Speaking further on the modalities for the primary election, Mohammed said: “It is part of the reason we need to amend our constitution because the Electoral Act as amended says that one can conduct a primary but if you are going to, then one must be explicit on how you are going to conduct it and that is why we need to amend our constitution.”
Obviously, the development would limit of the chances of other presidential aspirants which included Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State and former chairman of Leadership newspaper, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah.
But another source at the secretariat hinted that some of them might consider dropping their ambition since the leader of the party has shown support for Buhari.