APC Presidential Candidate 2023: Who Is Buhari’s Anointed One?

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APC Presidential Candidate 2023: Who Is Buhari's Anointed One?
APC Presidential Candidate 2023: Who Is Buhari's Anointed One?

Who really will emerge the APC Presidential Candidate 2023? This has been the question in the lips of many Nigerians? 

For those who have followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s method of doing things, it is clear from the meeting he had Tuesday with the governors on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that his final words on who becomes the party’s presidential candidate for 2023 have been heard.

APC Presidential Candidate 2023: Who Is Buhari's Anointed One?
APC Presidential Candidate 2023: Who Is Buhari’s Anointed One?

The next time they would hear from him would be implementation. That has been his modus operandi.

History is likely to repeat itself on Monday when the party congregates at the Eagle Square for the presidential primary election.

APC Presidential Candidate 2023 And The 25 Aspirants for the Presidential Ticket

The 25 aspirants for the APC presidential ticket have been screened ahead of the primary scheduled for June 6 and 7, 2022. One of them will emerge the APC Presidential Candidate 2023 either by hook or by crook. But the questions on the mind of many observers are: Would the contest ever hold? Would the about 2,340 delegates be given the opportunity to choose for their people they represent?

Before the party’s national convention on March 26, 2022, where Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, was foisted on the party as the national chairman, President Buhari had met with the APC governors and other leaders of the party to communicate to them about his choice of candidate.

Although there were dissenting voices from some quarters, the President had his way.

In a statement he released hours to the convention in March, he said: “I have already given my input and other recommendations on the way forward in both my 25th February 2022 meeting with the chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Committee and my 13th March 2022 letter to the chairman of the APC Governors Forum.

“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.”

Adamu became the national chairman despite the fact that he was the latest entrant into the APC national chairmanship race; every roadblock was cleared for him to emerge victorious.

Before he was tapped by Buhari to come chair the party’s NWC, over 10 contenders had expressed interest for the seat, including Saliu Mustapha, a former deputy chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change; Tanko Almakura, a former governor of Nasarawa State; Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State; Mohammed Sani-Musa, a senator representing Niger East District, as well as Abubakar Bawa-Bwari, a former minister of state for mines and steel development.

Others were former governors Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State; Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State; Kashim Shettima of Borno State, and Danjuma Goje of Gombe State.

George Akume, minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs; Sunny Moniedafe, Mohammed Saidu-Etsu and Sani Shinkafi, a former National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

When the report about a possible preferred candidate began to make the rounds in the media space, Musa, one of the then chairmanship aspirants, had said the party leadership had not reached out to any of them over consensus arrangement.

“Why did the party sell forms to us? You sold (APC) forms to us. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s never been anybody that officially contacted me or any other aspirant. Nobody!” he said.
Yari had also said that he was not aware that the office had even been zoned to the North-Central, not to talk of micro-zoning and endorsement of a candidate.
“Nobody indicated whether it is South West, South East or South-South. The party acting Chairman has not come out officially to tell us the chairmanship has been zoned to a particular geopolitical zone,” he said.

Buhari has a pattern of passing across his predetermined impositions, which no member of the party has got the liver to counter.

Like what transpired in March during the search for the national chairman, the President has once again unequivocally revealed a decision that is fait accompli – preferred candidate.

Although he couched his presentation in the form of a plea to the governors on Tuesday, their acceptance or otherwise is immaterial. It has continued to work for him that way.

In his address to the governors Tuesday, he said: “In pursuit of the foregoing objectives, the party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first-term governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second-term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.

“In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”

Despite the fact that his “plea” jolted some of the governors, the President is poised to impose his “successor.”

But analysts have picked holes in the plot by President Buhari to install an anointed candidate without allowing the people to make their choice.

“This man talked about internal democracy while addressing governors Tuesday. So, he thinks that imposing a candidate on the party is internal democracy? If we are criticising delegates for accepting money to vote for a wrong candidate, what do we say to a president under whose regime everything about Nigeria has gone south, to now anoint someone like himself? That would be a de-service to Nigeria,” Pius Okon, a tech expert, told BusinessDay.

Adol Ade, a political affairs analyst, said: “If at all the primary will be elective, the delegates must be allowed to elect their choices without intimidation of any kind. But if the President decides to impose his choice, the outcome of the process would not be credible. In fact, if there is any form of meddlesomeness from the President, it would be worse than the action of any compromised delegate. I am aghast at the President’s use of the word ‘successor.’

“He does not have the right to install a successor; he does not even have the power under a democracy to unilaterally determine who the candidate of his party is. The President’s action is even worse and threatening than that of a corrupt delegate. If Buhari succeeds in foisting his choice on the party, he would be extending his misrule, in the event such an individual wins in 2023.”

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