The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) became, at the weekend, worried by the spate of acrimony among its three top presidential hopefuls, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Close watchers of the party confirmed to Sunday Tribune that the leaders were expressing concerns about uncomplimentary comments targeted at one another by the camps of the three aspirants.
It was gathered that leaders of the party are more disposed to one of the aspirants emerging as candidate, while it would get the others to abide by a code of conduct to be reeled off shortly.
A source said that the code was already being drafted by the leaders of the party and that a meeting of all presidential hopefuls would be convened when all the aspirants would have completed their declaration of intent.
Another source close to a strategic meeting of the party held in Abuja last week confirmed that the leaders were worried about the widening gulf among the presidential hopefuls.
“Leaders of the party are getting worried daily at the cracks that have crept into the midst of the three major aspirants in the presidential race, as the presidential convention draws closer.
“It is sad enough that the foot soldiers and even their principals are already engaged in what is called de-marketing, in their bid to woo delegates for the national convention. This is a worrying trend. As progressives, we must show that we are capable of playing decent politics,” a leader of the party said.
Aides fire salvo for aspirants
It was gathered that concerns rose, following complains by some loyalists of General Buhari who have been with him since the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) days that some unfair comments were targeted at the General.
A member of the House of Representatives from Kano State had granted an interview recently where he opposed Buhari’s decision to join the presidential race. The comments were said to have infuriated the Buhari camp.
The Buhari loyalist, who complained to APC leaders, was quoted as saying: “A member of the House of Representatives who is supporting Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso granted a full page interview to several media houses wherein he claimed to have enormous respect for General because of his incorruptibility, but that he may end up as man without integrity, if he chooses to contest the 2015 elections that he had said he would not contest. This is a blackmail and insult!”
A source said that another loyalist of Buhari had also complained to APC leaders thus: “The Edo State coordinator of the Kwankwasiyya Forum also followed this path when he said at a press conference in Abuja that ‘if he (General Buhari) contests again, that shows that he is no longer a man of integrity.’”’
Consensus candidacy for consideration
A leader of the party, however, said at the weekend that the national chairman and leaders were worried over the trend and would soon convene a meeting to resolve the issue of consensus candidacy.
The source, who craved anonymity, said: “At the end of all declarations by our aspirants, we will call a meeting of the aspirants and warn on the use of intemperate language, and there would be sanctions for disobedience to our guidelines. We will also take a good look at our options and see if a consensus arrangement can pull through.”