48 Hours To Convention: APC In Last Minute Rush For Consensus, As Aspirants Defy Buhari.
Since the formation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2013, the party has never gone to convention ground with more than one candidate for the position of National Chairman.
Bisi Akande, the former Governor of Osun State, served in interim capacity in post-merger, while Tom Ikimi refused to participate in the 2014 convention that produced John Oyegun. Ikimi later described the 2014 convention as a “sham”.
In the case of Adams Oshiomhole, the party ensured he was a consensus candidate.
However, 2022 has proven to be an exception despite the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that the party should have a consensus candidate.
Although the position of the National Chairman has been zoned to the North-Central, some candidates outside the region have defied the arrangement. Former Governors Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and Alimodu Sherrif of Borno State have refused to obey the directive of the President or the zoning arrangement.
Mr Yari, while lobbying members of the House of Representatives under the APC on Tuesday night, said since Buhari with his 12million votes will not be on the ballot next year, the Party should have someone that is strong to head the party. He boasted that the Northwest has 35 percent of the entire vote of the party.
Similarly, candidates from the North-Central, George Akume, Tanko Almakura, Sani Musa, Abdulahi Adamu, Saliu Mustapha, Muhammed Etsu have all refused to step down for anyone.
While there is a report that the Governors had recommended Senator Abdulahi Adamu, a former Governor of Nasarawa, as consensus candidate, however, the age of the candidate has been a factor.
According to findings by Daily Post a source in Salihu Mustapha camp, unveiled this when the aspirant visited the National Assembly on Wednesday, he said, “do you know how much we have spent so far, then you will bring one octogenarian to preside over a party. That cannot work.”
On Wednesday night, during the meeting with the governors, President Buhari said, “With the convention only two days away, I implore you to come together and sort out all the remaining party positions so that within the next 24 hours, we can arrive at a unity list which we can take to the convention.
“Finally, all those who have bought forms indicating interest and have been dropped should have their money refunded without delay.”
When the source was contacted again, he said, “Ticket money is least, you know how long some of the candidates have opened campaign offices in Abuja? Paying staff and providing logistics for the consultations. This last-minute dash will not work.”
Despite this, the President appears to be upbeat according to Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu on getting a consensus candidate.
“Today, we all briefed Mr President on that and our support for Mr President’s endorsement of the candidate for the National Chairman of the party,” he said.
It is unclear the level of influence the President has over the party.
It would be recalled that Mai Mala Buni, the Chairman of Caretaker Committee had called the bluff of the President after the President had “purportedly sacked” him.
Mr Buhari had to change his position, after Buni refused to step down and INEC refused to recognize Sani Bello.