Opinion

Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo: APC Must Keep The ‘Three Musketeers’ Happy

It is gainsaying the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has in the last few months of its existence increased the political awareness of the people. We now know that to a large extent, we have a viable and strong opposition party. When you compared this with the build up to the 2011 elections where at best, what obtained was opposition parties built only on ethnic strength, you have to agree that some stiffer opposition is expected in 2015.

The people’s Democratic party (PDP) can no longer lay claim to being the only national party in Nigeria with the emergence of the APC. 2015 promises to be interested I tell you. I hope the elections won’t mess up my valentine’s day though, that is if I have a date.

But there is a little hurdle that the party must successfully navigate if it intends to give the PDP a run for their money in 2015. While it is settled fact that the PDP will most definitely have President Jonathan as its flag bearer, the APC may be thrown into a limbo on the issue of its Presidential candidate. Under the leadership of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the Action Congress, one of the major merging parties had little or no issue on picking candidates. Tinubu majorly picks the party’s flag bearers and makes concerted effort at ‘settling’ the aggrieved and deprived aspirants. This was not without consequences as it contributed in some form to the party’s loss at the Ondo State Governorship polls. But Tinubu’s method which worked under the AC cannot be attempted with the APC.

When you consider the fact that General Muhamadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Governor Rabiu Kwakwaso are the top three contenders, it becomes easier to see that consensus candidacy is not an option. These are men with personal egos and who in my humble opinion, will  not easily agree to having one picked over and above them. Thus keeping the three of them happy is a vital point that the party’s hierarchy must be sweating over right now. Let us take a brief look at them to see why I hold this opinion.

GENERAL MUHAMADU BUHARI

General Buhari holds the key to the party’s chances in the North, so his dreams cannot be taken lightly. Should he withdraw his support for the party, there is little or no chance of success in the core North. In the last three elections, the retired General has single handedly amassed an amazing number of votes in the North. If only his popularity in the South is half what it is in the North, Buhari may have been elected President on each of those three occasions.

The General does not pass across as someone who will abandon ship to move to another party and especially not the PDP. I doubt if he ever liked the calibre of people under the ‘umbrella’. I cannot see a situation where he will move and support the election of President Goodluck Jonathan. If you think that is possible, you are very wrong. But what if he does? A side of my brain asks. ‘He won’t’. The other part concluded.

Even if he doesn’t move to the PDP, what if he moves to an unknown party? You will remember that nobody knew the Labour Party until Dr. Olusegun Mimiko ran for Governor on their platform; nobody knew the Accord Party until Ladoja joined the party and General Buhari was the face of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). He leaves for a mush room political party and there goes the votes his clout can gather for the APC.

ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR

Without any disrespect to the Turaki Adamawa, he is a very good political prostitute who would not hesitate to move if he does not get what he wants. He has been in and out of the PDP so many times in the last 6 years and it would not be a foolish conclusion to say he may return to the fold once and if he is denied the party’s ticket.

When you consider the effort he has put into getting the attention of young people on Twitter, Atiku wants the Presidency very seriously and to be sincere, he might have gotten it if not for his political fight with Baba Obasanjo. But the Turaki seems to have settled down well in the APC and may be convinced to wait another four years if his supporters receive some gratifications. Even though Atiku commands some reasonable followership in the North, I doubt if his exit will substantially affect the APC considering that his state is presently under the PDP subject to the October 11, 2014 Governorship bye-election. But a strong party should keep all their strong men and it thus becomes expedient for the APC to keep Turaki in the fold.

GOVERNOR RABIU KWAKWASO

The former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kwakwaso is a man of many parts and was once an avid supporter of Goodluck Jonathan; their relationship has since gone sour to the extent that Kwakwaso does not mind replacing Jonathan in Aso Rock.

He controls the densely populated Kano and his help may be needed to navigate the plains of Kano. Being the economic hub of the North, Kano cannot be trifled with and the man in charge is Dr. Kwakwaso. However, when I consider the fact that he was kicked out of the Kano Government House in 2003 by General Buhari’s former party ANPP, I am tempted to think that his support may not be needed. However, 2003 is a long time ago and he has since gathered enough Arsenal as the country’s defense Minister, Special Adviser to the President on Darfur and Somalia as well as the Representative of the North-West geo-political zone in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The only solution that may have been found to ease Kwakwaso’s unhappiness if he does not emerge is defeated by the federal character principle. He cannot be Vice-President if a Northerner earns the party’s ticket. But like Atiku, he may be convinced to wait a little bit longer to be able to realize his ambition.

Conclusively, I believe that it is Buhari’s happiness that is most significant in APC’s quest for the President come February 14, 2015. But keeping the ‘three musketeers’ happy is a must.

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Follow Oluwatosin @Tosinfat

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