There is palpable tension in the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the selection of the party’s flagbearer for the 2023 presidential election.
The tension has intensified since the emergence of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), bringing to the fore the critical need for the APC to field a candidate with as much or better national appeal as Atiku to compete for the exalted office.
As the party holds its primary slated for June 6 to 8, Daily Trust examines four crucial, unresolved issues that hang around the exercise.
- ‘APC members voted as delegates’, Aspirant demands cancellation of Zamfara PDP primary
- Will Buhari pick another Buhari as successor?
Northern or Southern candidate?
With the emergence of a Northerner as its presidential candidate, the southern groups such as the Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ohaeneze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Forum and the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum may now feel they should have a chance in the APC.
The governor of Ondo State and chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, had also on May 4, said the APC must take a position on zoning, insisting that it was the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce the next president.
“It is expedient that we avoid self-inflicted crises before the general elections. It is the turn of the Southern part of the country to produce the next president. This must be done without delay. The principle of Federal Character is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It will be disingenuous for anyone to argue against rotation at this period,” he said.
Two among the foremost contenders of the APC presidential ticket, Yemi Osinbajo and Ahmed Bola Tinubu, are both from the South-West. While Tinubu is a former governor of Lagos State and the national leader of the APC, Osinbajo is the current vice president of the country, making them both highly influential in the party, and the South-West region.
If the party eventually settles for balloting, chances are that the South-West delegates will be devided on who to vote between the two contenders. Also, there are other aspirants such as Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, former Speaker of House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole, Pastor Tunde Bakare, and former governor of Ogun State and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun who will look forward to getting votes from delegates from the region.
Zoning and the South-East’s concern
Aside from the push for the APC to zone the ticket to the South, there is a stronger clamour for a South-East presidential candidacy. The region flayed PDP after Atiku’s emergence, vowing not to support him.
President Buhari has asked the Progressives Governors to search for the right successor at a meeting in Aso Rock on Tuesday.
Buhari also informed the governors that he would be seeking reciprocity ahead of the presidential primary which comes up in the next six days.
He told the governors, “The party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels“For example, first-term governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second-term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.
“In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”