APC ticket: Buhari, Atiku set for war
Loyalists in fight-to-finish mood
Former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari seems to be the most preferred presidential aspirant as the All Progressives Congress (APC) goes for convention between October 16 and 18 in Abuja.
But sources said some self-proclaimed party chieftains who are scheming for Buhari should be ready for a showdown with loyalists of another top shot, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who is set to declare on September 24
Checks at the weekend revealed that the party is, however, in a dilemma on how to go about the primaries such that whoever fails to clinch the ticket among other contestants would not rock the boat. Other contenders, who are equally formidable and strong in terms of popularity and followership are Atiku, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State and former Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki.
A party chieftain, who doesn’t want to be named said, “on our card is Muhammadu Buhari,” enthusing that, “with a level playing field the party has promised all the contenders, he will emerge victorious and fly the party’s flag for 2015 presidential election.”
He, however feared that, “if money eventually becomes the determining factor for the contest, Buhari may find it a bit difficult wooing higher percentage of delegates to his side where the likes of Atiku and Kwankwaso are involved.”
Another top member of the party, who spoke with Daily Sun in Osun State yesterday introduced a new dimension to the discussion when he stated emphatically that, “take it or leave it, APC was formed with the main objective of using Buhari as our 2015 candidate to win the northern votes.”
According to him, his credibility was what the nation needed at this point in time to liberate the country from the crossroad it finds itself today. He said “dropping him may weaken the party as some members, who believe in him may leave the party.”
The source, however, expressed concern over Buhari’s age which he said might throw the party into crisis after the first term in office, reminding that, “at above 70 now, if he is to spend two terms in office, he would be about 80 years.”
He said, “in that wise, the party may decide to persuade him to withdraw for younger aspirants, who have age on their side to face the rigours of governance at that level.”
If that eventually happens, Daily Sunlearnt that the race will be between Atiku and Kwankwaso, who are younger and also have reasonable electoral values.
Atiku won Adamawa State governorship election in 1999 before the then presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, picked him as his running mate. Kwankwaso is serving his second term.
It was further learnt that whoever becomes the candidate would likely have Buhari’s endorsement.
Meanwhile, moves by certain APC leaders to push a consensus deal to enable Buhari, former presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), emerge as the candidate is already causing disaffection within the party.
But a party source told Daily Sun that certain self-proclaimed leaders in the party are scheming to ensure automatic ticket for Buhari to the consternation of other aspirants.
A source further expressed concern that those angling for automatic ticket for Buhari are being cowed by his die-hard loyalists who are insisting that “it is either Buhari or nothing!”
But the source revealed that the other aspirants are smarting for a showdown with those who believed that Buhari candidacy is a settled matter.
“The idea of “automatic adoption” of Buhari or any other aspirant for that matter is undemocratic and could destroy the foundation and the credibility of the APC.”
He recalled that the success recorded by the main opposition party with the adoption of the modified open direct primaries for choosing its governorship candidate in Adamawa State for the October 11 election has given confidence to the leadership that it is a preferred option for choosing its candidates for the 2015 elections.
Reacting to the insinuation of automatic ticket for his boss, media aide to General Buhari , Mallam Yau Darazo, told Daily Sun that he was not aware of such plot. “Where did you hear that? Well, I am not aware of that,” he queried.
Also reacting, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, said no candidate would be imposed as presidential candidate of the party. “There is no provision for automatic ticket in our party. I can tell you that we shall conduct a transparent convention, where our candidate would emerge,” he said.
BY RAZAQ BAMIDELE & TAIWO AMODU ,THE SUN
source jimi disu bolg