A meeting called by national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), to have governors of the opposition party forge an endorsement for former military head of state, Major General Muhammadu (rtd), may have ended in a deadlock even with the presidential primaries of the party only hours away, Premium Times has learnt.
Sources privy to the meeting Tuesday night to ward off the inroads being made by former Vice President and veteran of presidential primaries, Atiku Abubakar by his direct appeal to delegates ended in a deadlock without achieving the objective of an endorsement for Buhari. The meeting, however, was to have reconvened Wednesday morning.
It was gathered that arising from the frustration of some of the governors, one of them, Governor Rauf Aregbesola had told the meeting “I am tired of this confusion and will be better disposed to asking delegates from my state (Osun) to go ahead and vote according to their preferences.”
It could not be confirmed if the meeting reconvened on Wednesday as agreed, but former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has stepped up his direct dealing with delegates following marathon meetings he held with them till the wee hours of Wednesday morning Those meetings, according to feelers from his camp are still ongoing. “Our strategy is to hold onto delegates already in our kitty but mobilise to poaching those adjudged to be in the safe hands of our opponents,” a strategist in the Atiku camp confided in Premium Times early afternoon.
Meanwhile, as countdown to the 4pm commencement of the APC national convention begins, reports have indicated that the four frontline candidates have taken their campaign literarily to the sky – with each trying to out-lobby the others by providing aeroplanes to airlift delegates to the national convention slated for Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
In apparent display of wit and wealth, many of the candidates were said to be wooing delegates with the provision of top class welfare, including air transportation and comfortable accommodation.
A former Federal Capital Territory Minister and APC Kaduna State flag bearer, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, was sighted on Tuesday in Minna the Niger State capital, brandishing an aircraft ostensibly and in a frantic last minute effort to fly delegates to Lagos to support his mentor, General Muhammad Buhari.
Also on Tuesday Bauchi State witnessed a spectacular display as Imo State Governor and presidential aspirant Owelle Rochas Okorocha touched down in the Sahel city in a chartered aircraft, almost the same time that the plane carrying the former Vice President and presidential hopeful, Atiku Abubakar was about taking off.
Our Correspondent gathered that the Ondo State capital, Akure, was home to some melodrama as some delegates were tricked into believing that Buhari was to visit the party secretariat, only for it to turn out a ruse. But that was not before some of them were locked up in a hall and released two hours later.
Lagos, the centre point for all the actions, is wearing a myriad of faces in sky-bound adverts, radio and television infomercial. The hotels and hospitality businesses too are having a field day.
The 30, 000-capacity Teslim Balogun Stadium adjoining the now decrepit and abandoned National Stadium, which is to host the epoch event, is already fully prepared to host the delegates from all parts of the country. The result of the primaries is expected early Thursday.
Meanwhile, the four main contestants, Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Rabiu Kwankanso, Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari, have agreed to support whoever wins the primaries.