House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal has faced a great deal of pressure from supporters of former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, to shelve his ambition.
Buhari is seen as the leading aspirant of the party and his supporters see the entry of fellow North-west man, Tambuwal, into the race as a possible upset that should not be allowed.
Speaker Tambuwal had only weeks ago defected to the All Progressives Congress, a merger of political parties of which General Buhari was instrumental to its formation as he had to dissolve the party he formed, Congress for Progressive Change.
Buhari supporters who have maintained he does not only have a huge following and votes the party will be needing in 2015, also argue that he stakes with the party are much higher than those that left the ruling PDP to actualise their Presidential aspiration.
Tambuwal’s declaration of interest in the presidential race has, obviously, upset the campaign strategies of the party’s other main aspirants. That declaration of interests has led presidential contenders especially Buhari ramped up consultation across the country in the wake of the speaker’s entry.
The major strategy of those putting pressure on Tambuwal to back down is to downplay the question of age and generational change, which apparently go against the former Head of State. They intend to emphasise, instead, experience, the issue of tested and trusted hand, and similar credentials that put Buhari ahead, particularly at a time when the country is in a war situation.
A top member of the Buhari campaign organisation, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said he could not speak on Tambuwal’s chances.
“All one knows is that his entry will neither diminished nor cut-off the celestial bond between General Mohammadu Buhari and the masses and the middle class of our dear country. The masses and middle class had renewed at every election GMB’s 12 million vote bank. Therefore, the contest at the end of the day is between President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Buhari,” Okechukwu said.
Tambuwal who has however maintained that some APC members of the lower chamber had bought the presidential nomination forms for Tambuwal last week, is rumoured to be the favourite of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.