•Fayemi may be compromise candidate
The vice presidential slot for the All Progressives Congress (APC), will straight out between Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in Lagos State, during the administration of Senator Bola Tinubu as the governor of the state.
Nigerian Tribune reliably gathered that the APC leadership is now divided along two groups of Tinubu and the governors, with Senator Bukola Saraki, former Kwara State governor, leading the group.
General Muhammadu Buhari was said to have conceded choosing his running mate to Tinubu, who is insisting that it must be Professor Osinbajo.
The APC governors and former governors, led by Senator Saraki, are said to be totally opposed to Tinubu’s position, with an inside source saying the group wanted Governor Amaechi.
It was also gathered at the weekend that Tinubu might move to douse the tension already building up by settling down for former Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, as Buhari’s running mate.
Tinubu, sources said, might have settled for the choice of Fayemi as Buhari’s running mate, having conducted the party’s national convention in a creditable manner.
“The meeting in Abuja today will seek to resolve all issues. It will address the critical issues.
“What is there for the South-South without Amaechi on the ticket and what would be there for the South-West if a candidate from that zone is not picked.
“At the end of the day, the leaders will douse the tension and move the party forward,” a source close to the APC said.
The party had already said in a statement that the decision on the presidential running mate would be taken in a democratic manner.
Sources in the party confirmed on Sunday that the battle was still raging among the top leaders of the party, over who to pick for the post.
The party has up to Thursday to submit its list of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
After failing to pick the running mate on Thursday night, leaders of the APC had adjourned the meeting and resolved to meet in Abuja today to conclude deliberations on who joins Buhari on the ballot.
The General had, on different occasions, expressed the readiness to field any candidate who would make him win the election, regardless of religious inclination.
He was said to have his eyes on the duo of Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola or Amaechi, but religious calculations among party leaders and governors appeared to have tilted the choice towards Amaechi.
Party leaders were said to have tacitly given the nod to the choice of Amaechi, leading the Rivers governor to play key roles in the build up to the national convention.
But the insistence of Tinubu that the South West must take the slot appeared to have changed the whole calculation.
Governors and other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to APC in November 2013, were said to have argued that not having one of them on the ballot alongside Buhari would defeat their efforts to divide PDP.
The governors according to sources had put words across to the party leaders that without one of them on the ticket, their efforts in the party so far would be in vain.
It was gathered that party elders had started making moves to resolve the growing tension.
The APC, in a statement on Sunday, assured Nigerians that the choice of its presidential running mate would be made within the context of the best democratic ideals, just like that of its presidential candidate.
In the statement issued in Lagos by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party urged Nigerians to ignore the widespread and misleading reports in the traditional and social media about the choice of the APC presidential running mate, saying the party had yet to even meet, not to talk of picking a running mate.
It described the reports that a running mate had been picked to run with Buhari as unnecessarily sensational, downright speculative and totally misleading.
“We are using this opportunity to tell Nigerians to pray for us as we seek to pick a running mate for our presidential candidate. This is because this choice is not just for us, but for all of Nigerians,” APC said
It said every of the candidates who had been speculated as a running mate to Buhari was unquestionably competent to be a vice president or even president, adding, however, that no choice had yet been made by the party.
“We are glad with the feedback we have received from Nigerians on the transparent and rancour-free manner in which our presidential primaries was organised.
“We are assuring Nigerians that the choice of our presidential running mate will also be guided by best democratic ideals.
“We appreciate the nationwide interest that the choice of our presidential candidate and his running mate has generated. It is a mark of the confidence that Nigerians repose in us.
“We assure that we will not disappoint our compatriots who have seen our party as the agent of the change they so much crave,” it said.