The All Progressives Congress is considering the list of three nominees by its presidential candidate for the 2015 elections, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) The party is to select one of the three names as the running mate of the general.
A high ranking member of the party, who confided in Saturday PUNCH in Abuja on Friday, said the presidential candidate has been under pressure by power blocks within the party long before he emerged.
The party member pleaded for anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the matter.
He said the candidate and the party were both aware of the enormity of the task ahead and were determined not to leave anything to chance.
The source said the candidate had already given notice to the party that he would submit three names of party loyalists he would like to work with. The source said, “In choosing the three names, he will consider three things: Religious balancing, votes or what we call electoral value and he will also consider the personality of the individual.
“The governors elected on APC platform are insisting that it must come from among them, but Buhari had told them that he agrees but that the names he would submit to the party would contain at least the name of one of them but that the party would ultimately decide. “Those in the South-East want one of their own. Their argument is that doing so will strengthen the party in the region.”
The source noted that the allure of block votes from the South-West is tilting the scales in favour of the geo-political zone which has been a strong base of opposition politics.
This throws up the possibility of a candidate coming from the Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s political camp.
A member of the Buhari camp said the General would have loved to work with Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, but “a muslim/ muslim ticket will be a hard sell considering the situation in the country today.”
However, Prof. Yemi Osibajo appears the most likely choice because of his untainted public record and intellectual depth. Apart from being a member of Tinubu’s inner circle, Osibajo is a Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God and a close associate of the church’s General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Many Christians are likely to support this choice. Hailing from Ikene, the hometown of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo , is also seen as an added advantage. The three geo-political zones in the South namely: South-South, South-East and South-West were also said to be showing interest in the vice-presidential slot.
But that the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the party would meet and take a decision on the matter.
He dismissed comments on the social media that the party had picked a running mate.
“We haven’t even met,” Mohammed said.
The party also denied a report that it had picked the Rivers States Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, as Buhari’s running mate.
Mohammed told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Friday that picking a vice-presidential candidate would require wide consultation, but said the party would announce the person next week.
“What you are reading now is the handiwork of mischief makers. No one had been picked as Buhari’s running mate but we will pick and announce next week,” he said.