New reports have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have have zoned the party’s vice presidential ticket to the South with Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi as the preferred candidate.
Insinuations are rife that the party is pushing for a Buhari/Amaechi 2015 ticket with an unspoken decision that a legacy member is primed to pick the presidential ticket while a defector picks the vice presidential ticket.
The formula, Nigeria Tribune learnt was designed to suit a consensus arrangement that the national leadership is working towards to favour Buhari. Buhari’s major opposition comes in the form of former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the charismatic Governor of Kano state, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Amaechi versus Fashola
It is believed that the formula will also get Amaechi’s competitors off his back in the South, being the only defector-governor from PDP in the zone.
While many would have preferred Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola as the Vice presidential candidate, the fact that he is a muslim stands against him as the party knows it cannot present a muslim/muslim ticket.
As a result, Fashola has been ruled out of the running for the vice presidential ticket despite the belief by many that he is a more acceptable personality than the Rivers Governor. Again Fashola is a legacy member while Ameachi is a defector.A defector has been pencilled down for the vice presidential ticket.
A south south vice presidential ticket, the party believes will compensate the region for the eventual loss of the presidency if the party wins the 2015 elections.
Buhari versus Atiku/Kwankwaso
A member of the National Working Committee (NWC) from the South, who is pro-Atiku Abubakar, told Saturday Tribune that other presidential aspirants were aware of the national leadership’s bias for Buhari, “but we will resist it.”He further added that “they are just joking. We will fight this to the end.”
The source said the alleged plan to expel dissenting voice against Buhari’s emergence cannot happen“They will expel till they are tired because they have to expel all of us who support Atiku and Kwankwaso. They are jokers.”
He went further to say that that the party hierarchy seem to prefer Buhari because he can be pushed aside unlike his two major contenders “because they know he has no political stamina and could be easily pushed off if he is making them uncomfortable, unlike Atiku or Kwankwaso who they can’t toy with anyhow.”
“If they beat us, fine, but we will not just chicken out because of the agenda of some people,” he added.
A pro-Buhari member believes that only the retired general has the political clout to hold the APC together opining that they need Kwankwaso because of the strategic positioning of the state under his command “Only Buhari will leave the party today and the party will shake. We will beg Kwankwaso because he is influential and his state is strategic. Let’s see how far Atiku can go.”
No Favouritism- Lai Mohammed
National Spokesman for the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has denied that the party is scheming out Atiku and Kwankwaso in favour of Buhari
“For us as leaders, we are committed to providing a level playing field and that is why the national leadership told us that it was either we attend the declaration of all the presidential aspirants or none.
“The rule is that if you attend one, then be ready to attend all so that our appearance at a certain declaration would not be read as endorsement of a particular aspirant. But to show all the aspirants that we approve of them, we designated the national secretary to represent the party leadership in all the declarations,” Mohammed said.
Post primaries crisis
The national leadership of the party have been working out a crisis plan that will effectively mop up whatever issues may arise when the party’s flagbearer eventually emerges. The party’s hierarchy understands that it cannot afford to have internal ramblings with the elections just a couple of months away. With the party’s body language in the last few days, Buhari is touted as the favoured candidate. This may not go down well with Atiku whose supporters are already airing their frustrations. The national Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigun-Oyegun has said that the aspirants understand that only one of them will emerge and does not expect a crisis if the system of picking the candidate is open and fair.