Aspirants interested in emerging as the presidential candidate of the leading opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) have begun a silent but very potent war for the ticket.
According to a report by a national newspaper: Thisday, those quietly positioning themselves for the ticket include former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. Both Tambuwal and Atiku are yet to formally declare for the APC.
It’s also believed that former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu may be interested in the race.
Ribadu had contested the 2011 presidential election on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, which was won by President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was gathered that the APC intends to throw the race wide open so that nobody feels left out or thinks the ticket is other people’s birthright.
Meanwhile, the opposition party is also planning to organise its first national convention to elect a substantive leadership by March as the party has been running with interim national executives since inception last year.
Although Buhari has not declared an ambition yet, many watchers said he has not foreclosed contesting for the presidency again.
Buhari recently denied anointing anyone as presidential candidate for the APC. Analysts believe he is still the candidate to beat in the party.
If his body language is anything to go by, indications are that the three-time presidential candidate may still yield to pressure from his numerous supporters who are urging him to throw his hat into the ring.
Kwankwaso is one of the five aggrieved PDP governors who recently defected to APC. The Kano governor is said to be performing in his state and he is seen as one of those being looked upon by some Northern turks to fly the APC banner.
Atiku’s name is also making the rounds as a likely presidential aspirant in the party.
Though Atiku has not joined APC the party’s national leaders have visited him, asking him to embrace the party.
Atiku told them he would consult with his associates and give the APC leaders a feedback.
Also a segment of the APC is also said to be secretly working for the emergence of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal. Tambuwal is currently in the ruling PDP but analysts say it is only a matter of time before he declares for the APC.
The party’s Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed maintained that the party had not officially taken any step to narrow its choice of flagbearer.
“At the moment, the party has not considered the issue of who its presidential candidate would be. Until we get to that stage, we will not bar anyone from expressing interest or aspiring for the presidential candidacy. The party is not going to stop anyone from expressing his views, especially when it has to do with legitimate ambition,” he said.
The party spokesperson stressed that everything will be done according to the rules and that there will be party primaries to elect candidates for elective offices in the land, from the local, states to the national levels.
— Culled from Thisday
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