Battle For APC, PDP Presidential Tickets thickens Ahead Of 2023 General Elections

By Lateef Adegbite

In spite of the fact that African Democratic Congress, ADC, New Nigerian Perian People’s Part  NNPP, a party that was said to have been  founded by Bonniface Anniebonam, in 2001, as a political arm of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGFF, but adopted by Kwankwaso’s Third Force, in 2021 for the purpose of the 2023, general elections, Social Democratic Party , SDP, Young People’s Party, YPP,  and other political parties that were said to have been registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are waiting for the Commission to blow the whistle for the electioneering campaigns to begin, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, appear to be drawing hand of the clock back.

Adebayo: SDP, presidential Candidate

The ADC, appear to have settled the issue of the party Presidential Candidate slot as Kingsley Moghalu, a former Central Bank of Nigeria , CBN, deputy governor, was said to have been elected as the party flag bearer in the 2023, general elections while Kwankwso who was elected on the ticket of the NNPP, appear to have filled the vacuum, that was said to have been  left behind  by the   APC and the PDP,  across the country, particular, the north west.  Adewole Adebayo, a business mogul, may have been selected as the consensus candidate of the SDP ,as the Young Progressive Party, YPP, had settled  for Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim, as its Presidential candidate.   The two dominant political parties are yet to settle the issue of who becomes their respective flag bearers in the 2023, general elections.

 The battleground  appears to be in ruling   APC, where  28 aspirants , who had paid the N100 million fee each,  to purchase, the party Presidential nomination forms and the Opposition PDP, where the 15 Presidential Candidates, who are crisscrossing the nooks and crannies of the country to lobby the state party delegates for their votes ahead of the party primaries to elect a Presidential Candidate.

Amaechi: Former Minister Of Transportation And APC, Presidential Aspirants

 In the APC,  Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, popular, Jagaban, Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state , who has officially resigned from  his ministerial  position to pursue his Presidential ambition on the ticket of the ruling APC, Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, Kayode Fayemi , governor of Ekiti state and Chairman, Nigerian Governor’s Forum, NGF, and Professor Yemi osinbajo, the Vice president are competing to win the heart of the state delegates in the states.

There was a mild drama in Kogi state, where Amaechi, the former minister of Transportation, had asked the state party delegates to the primaries to prevail on their governor Bello, who is neck deep in the APC Presidential race ‘’to withdraw from the race after paying the N100 million to purchase the Presidential nomination forms to support his Presidential ambition because ‘’he has more experience than him’’.

Accompanied to the state by Tukur Buratai, a retired Lt. General and Buhari’s former Chief of Army Staff, and Nigerian former Ambassador to Republic of Benin, the former minister of Transportation who could not hide his feelings may have hit the nail on the head when he said Governor Bello should ‘’step down down for elderly people like him to contest for the Presidency to make way for him to become the party next flag bearer . Describing himself as the leading aspirant having visited over 30 states so far, he maintained that he’’ deserved the APC ticket’’.

The question on the lips of most people is: why is he so interested in getting Governor Bello to step down for him. Edward Onoja, the state Deputy governor, may have given the response he deserves while in the state to meet the party delegates‘’to visit the governor and deliberate with him’’. He may have sent a message to the former minister of Transportation to forget about Kogi delegates as only Governor Bello ‘’can tell them the direction to follow’’.

The Kogi state Deputy Governor may have considered Amaechi’s request that Governor Belo should step down to support his Presidential ambition as an insult to the state.  He knew, it would be the last thing that would be done by the governor Bello, to step down for any other aspirant nursing the same Presidential ambition.

 Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos state governor and National Leader of the APC, and Osnbajo, including Lawan, the Senate President are not taking chances, as they are also moving round the country to woo the state party delegates for their support.  There have been reports making the rounds that the Senate President had withdrawn from the Presidential race to pursue a third term in the Senate.

Gandunje: Promises Lawan, APC, Presidential Aspirant Of Kano’s support

But he had said that ‘’the withdrawal reports are the handiwork of politicians who are intimidated by his towering image and massive gains in the last few days’’.  Abdullahi Gandunje, governor of Kano state had assured the Senate President and APC , Presidential aspirant  of the of the full Cooperation  of the state over his  Presidential ambition  to stand  as the flag bearer of the ruling APC, in the 2023, general elections.

The Borno state born APC Presidential aspirant who had said that he is in ‘’the race to win and not just to answer aspirant’’ had described Kano, as the swing state in the party primaries. This may have informed why Gandunje, the state governor, may has assured him that ‘’the state will swing for him when it I time to swing’’.

Many believe that if President Muhammadu Buhari had effectively solved the myriads of security and economic challenges facing the country over the last seven years, Osinbajo, the Vice President, who wants to take over from him after the 2023, general elections may not have had any reason to compete with other Presidential aspirants from the party to pick the party slot  in the 2023, general elections , instead of laboring himself  like other aspirants to tour  round the country to meet the state party delegates to seek their vote in the party Primaries as he would have won convincingly.

Given that the ruling APC has opted for direct primaries where money will speak to win the heart of the delegates instead of the opting for the consensus model, where the Katsina state born Nigerian President could have presented him, Tinubu or Amaechi, the former minister of Transportation as the party Candidate , Reno Omkri, Aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan,  had said that with the direct primaries ‘’Osinbajo, will be disgraced’’.

 Omokri had tweeted that that the Vice President won’t even come second out of the party 28 Presidential aspirants going for the  primaries. He had tweeted that Tinubu, the former Lagos state governor, will come first and Amaechi or Ahmad Lawn, the Senate President, who had declared late his Presidential ambition, will come second.

The party had postponed the screening of the 28 Presidential aspirants slated for Monday, May, 23, 2022 by the Committee. Felix Mouka, the party National Publicity Secretary who did not give any reason why the Screening Committee took the decision to cancel the date earlier slated for the exercise on Sunday, My 22, 2022. He had assured the 28 Presidential aspirants that a new date ate would be fixed for the exercise in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

True to his words, Sueiman Argungu, National Organising Secretary,late Afternoon, on Monday, May 23, 2022, disclosed the party Screening Committee, will be screening the 28 Presidential aspirants who had purchased the party Presidential nomination forms on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 and Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

 The initial postponement of the screening exercise by the Committee appear to be a big shock to some of the Presidential aspirants who were cocksure to scale the first phase of the party primaries , awaiting for the main primary to elect the party flag bearer.

The situation in the APC, may not be different from what is happening in the PDP, where the 15 Presidential aspirants, who had scaled through the party screening Committee, are really slugging it with each other in reaching out to the party state delegates, with a promise of what to do if elected into office in the 2023, general elections.

Atiku: PDP, Presidential Aspirants

Atiku Abubakar, a  former Vice President, during Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, and the party Presidential Candidate in in the 2019, general elections, Peter Obi, a business mogul and former governor of Anambra state,  Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President and one time governor of Kwara state, Senator  Bala Mohammed , governor of Bauchi state and Mohammed Hayatudeen, an Economist and Banker, including Ayim Pius Ayim , a former Senate President and Secretary to Government of Federation , during Jonathan’s Administration are really  making waves to impress the party state delegates, ahead of the primaries to elect the party flag bearer for the 2023, general elections.

 Many believe that the Presidential contest in the Opposition PDP may not be as dicey as the APC where 25 ambitious Presidential aspirants are slugging it out to outwit each other. The Leadership of the APC and the PDP may have to watch it , or, NNPP or any of the smaller parties, may emerge as the next ruling party in Nigeria, with passage of the  2022, Electoral Bill, which had been assented into Law, that  had approved digital voting for the country which would make rigging difficult in the 2023, general elections.      

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