By Suleiman Umaru
The coast is now clearer how Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, popular, Jagaban, a former governor of Lagos state and the All Progressive Congress, APC, National Leader, who had just celebrated his 70th birthday, have won the heart of the party founding fathers of the party. This is because the ruling APC has adopted the Consensus model option to choose its presidential Candidate as against the direct primaries model which many believes favours the Lagos political strategist.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, may have had at the back of his mind that it will be an uphill task for Tinubu, to win the nomination at the Saturday, March 26, 2022, National Convention National Convention of the party that he had resorted to option ‘’B’’ to host the party founding fathers at the Presidential villa, on Thursday, March 24, 2022 to put a seal on who becomes the party Presidential and Vice presidential Candidates, in the coming 2023, general elections.
Buhari may have known that the party needed an acceptable Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, to retain power at the Federal level, t that he had on Thursday, March 24, 2022, met with ‘’the founding fathers of the party’’ at the Presidential Villa, ahead of the party’s national Convention on Saturday, March, 26, 22.
The party Chieftains at the meeting were Bisi Akande, a one-time National Chairman of the ruling APC, and former governor of Osun state, Aminu Masari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of Katsina state, Nasir El-RufaI, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obaanjo’s Administration and now governor of the Bandits’ Group, besieged state of Kaduna, Mai Mala Buni, governor of Yobe state and interim National Chairman of the party.
Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President and Tinubu, who has Presidential ambition and including Rocha Okorocha, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and one-time governor of Imo state, among others. . Lawan, the Senate President , may have hit the nail on the head when he disclosed that the APC, has agreed ‘’ to produce consensus candidates’’, stressing that the party will produce the Unity list today, Friday, 25, 2022, for presentation at the party National Convention, confirming the news making the rounds that the meeting was basically to rubber stamp Tinubu , as the APC, Presidential Flag bearer, for the 2022.
Informed sources told The Value News that before going into the alliance in 2014, between the retired Army General, Congress for Progressive Change , CPC, and the Alliance for Democracy , AD, which had Tinubu, as its Leader, they had a good deal .
Basd on the deal, the CPC, would produce the first Presidential Candidate of the mega party, which it did in 2015, resulting in the emergence and election of Buhari, who was re-elected in 2019. Having almost completed his second term in office, Tinubu, the AD , leader and National Leader of the APC, felt it was his turn to contest for the Presidency on the ticket of, the APC, in the coming 2023, general elections.
He had told told the Katsina state born Nigerian President of his Presidential ambition to forestall him from supporting another Candidate. He knew that whoever the Katsina state born politician supports would emerge as the party flag bearer in the national Convention on Saturday, March 26, 2022, because of the voting strength of the north western states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi. He may have read the body language of the Daura Politician that would want the south east which have never had a shot at the country’s Presidency since the debut of Democracy in 199, to produce the Party 2023, Presidential Candidate, for fairness, equity and Justice.
It was not surprising why Dave Omahi, an Eng. And the south east state of Eboyi, governor, declared his intention to contest the 2023, Presidential election on the ticket of the ruling APC, if it is zoned to the region. Another south east political Chieftain that had declared Presidential ambition on the ticket of the APC, Orji Uzor Kalu, a Senator Federal Republic of Nigeria and former governor of Abia state. Also on the list of the south east Presiential hopefuls on the ticket of the APC, was Senator Okorocha, a former governor of Imo state, who is currently being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The last but not the list on the loser list was Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation, who had taken a Chieftaincy from Katsina state, to prepare the ground for being the party Joker for the Presidential slot or being selected as the Presidential running mate of whoever emerges from the north as the party Candidate from for the 2023, general elections.
The Nigerian President may have sent a message to the trio: Umahi, Kalu and Amaechi, the minister of Transportation , who were not invited for founding fathers meeting on Thursday, March 24, 2022, ahead of the party National Convention on Saturday, March 26, 2022, to bury the idea of contesting the for the Presidency on the ticket of the APC.
The party founding fathers may have settled for a Consensus option model to produce its Presidential Candidate because they knew that Tinubu , who has worked for the party since 2014 and now, would not be take it if another Candidate emerges as the Party Presidential flag bearer in the 2023, general elections. He has repeatedly said it that he has been nursing the ambition to rule Nigeria, after Buhari, from the north west, and cannot be stopped by any person by any joiner in the party.
The Nigerian President could make that possible for him through his’’ deft skill and intriguing art of maneuvering’’, as his loyalists, from the defunct, CPC and the AD, had appropriated some of the key offices of the party ahead of the National Convention on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
The President may have taken advantage of the get-together he had also organized for the founding fathers ‘’ to thank them for their support, understanding and cooperation to his Administration to speak to the Presidential Candidates individually to accept the decision of the party.
Tinubu,and Okorocha, both founding members of the APC , who have Presidential ambition, were said to be at Presidential dinner party. Although, Amaechi, the minister of Transportation, who is yet to declare his Presidential ambition was not at the founding fathers’ meeting with the President, but he invited for the Presidential dinner, an indications that Buhari has a soft spot for him.
The Presidential dinner, according to party sources was part of the retired Army General’s efforts at ensuring a ‘’rancour free and successful National Convention of the party, March 26, 2022’’. Prior to the Presidential dinner, where the issue of the consensus Candidate and other issues relating to the party National Convention was discussed, the Nigerian President had met with the 19 governors, elected on the Platform of the APC and the Leadership of the National Assembly.
Many believe that the essence of the meeting was to draw support for Tinubu, who already sees himself as the next President of Nigeria. There is no gainsaying the fact without these bold initiatives taken by the President, to calm frayed nerves in the party, it would have been a another story after the Saturday National convention as some losers may have headed to Court to contest against the Unity list produced by the founding fathers which schemed them out.