The quest being made by the Buhari Group to make General Muhammadu Buhari, the consensus candidate for the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be generating controversy after overcoming the Muslim-Muslim presidential candidate as the camps of other aspirants are kicking against it.
A senior member of the party told journalists at the weekend that the manoeuvres by certain APC forces to make former military ruler the party’s presidential candidate of the party for the 2015 presidential poll without going through an election is not going down well with the supporters of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Senator Bukola Sraki and Atiku Abubakar camps.
According to this informed APC insider, who didn’t want to be named, because he had no authority to speak, however, admitted that any attempt to impose Buhari on the party as the presidential candidate would destroy the foundation and the credibility of the APC.
The informed insider said they were particularly disturbed by signals coming from the Buhari camp who insist that the emergence of Buhari as a candidate “is a settled matter.”
But in a swift reaction, a political ally to General Buhari has clarified their agitation that it was as consensus they are asking for not automatic ticket.
The controversy began by General Buhari, when, in an interview with Rariya, (an Hausa newspaper) and was culled by Premium Times and People’s Daily, where he publicly disagreed with the modified open direct primaries which has been adopted by the APC.
That position was expanded upon by the spokesman of the Buhari Organization (TBO), Osita Okechuku who said: “Given all the indices, APC already has a de facto presidential candidate in the person of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.). If you go through the constitution of APC, under Article 20, it says for nomination of candidate either for party offices or presidential election, you first explore consensus. If an agreement is reached through consensus, it has to be affirmed. If we go through that method, though we have a lot of good quality people in APC, I do not know of any person who the leadership of APC would tell Buhari to step down for.”
Taking it from there, the former FCT Minister, Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i has used his twitter handle “to take this rubbish to the social media,” our source further revealed.
The source explained that such a phrase smirks of arrogance and disrespect for other democratic voices in the party.
According to this insider, disregarding democratic process in the choice of party presidential flag-bearer could drag APC into deep “and possibly irreparable political damage.”
He explained that the idea of “automatic adoption” of Buhari or any other aspirant for that matter is undemocratic and would be resisted.”
The APC source warned that party members should not be reduced to “slaves and sheepishly expected to sign on the dotted lines when confronted with the nauseating idea of automatic ticket.”
The APC insider said those scheming for “automatic ticket” for Buhari “are probably PDP fifth columnists who want to drive a nail into the APC coffin.”
He explained that APC is bigger than individual members and that its credibility and commitment to democratic values must not be sacrificed on the altar of satisfying anybody’s stubborn ambition.”
The APC source also said that at no time was any decision taken by the party leadership to give anybody automatic presidential ticket for the 2015 presidential ticket.
He noted that the success of the modified open direct primaries for choosing its governorship candidate in Adamawa for the October 11 election has given confidence to the party leadership that it is a preferred option for choosing its candidates for the 2015 elections.
It would be recalled that when the former five PDP Governors and Vice President were individually visited and advised to join the new party, each was assured that this was a free and fair territory.
“In fact the registration of the party members was the mark-off point for a new beginning, conferring equal membership on all party members. Where is this idea of “divine right to rule” by Buhari coming from?” he queried.
He advised the party leadership to come out openly to issue clarifications about the process to be adopted to produce the APC’s presidential candidate for the 2015 elections.
But speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) who begs for anonymity because of his position said, what they are asking for is withion the principles of democracy.
“What we are asking for Buhari is not automatic ticket but making him our consensus candidate and this is within the law. The Electoral Act allowed it and recently, some PDP leaders gathered at Owerri and were asking the party to make President Goodluck Jonathan the consensus candidate. What we like is to honour Buhari by making him the consensus candidate. We see nothing wrong in it. Those who are making noise about it are not being sincere.”