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On Inside Sources, Party scribe tells how APC rejected Lawan as consensus candidate in presidential primaries

The current Deputy National Organising Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Nze Chidi Duru, is revealing some startling revelations about some of the…

The current Deputy National Organising Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Nze Chidi Duru, is revealing some startling revelations about some of the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres before the spellbinding 2022 presidential primary of the party that produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as flagbearer.

Duru, who spoke on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande is a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) .

He narrated how the APC leaders and governors rejected then Senate President Ahmad Lawan as the “consensus candidate” imposed by the then National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu.

The APC chieftain said Adamu’s choice was rejected because the NWC must be seen as fair to all party members and aspirants, especially since the Committee is meant to be the conscience of the party.

Duru who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, was a guest on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, a socio-political programme aired on Channels Television on Friday.

He said though Adamu was entitled to his choice, the NWC members insisted that the APC holds a transparent primary where delegates were made to decide the flag bearer of the party at the event held at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

Duru narrated how it happened. “At a meeting, the then National Chairman said a decision has been made to have the candidate of the party. A few of us, myself in particular, made a presentation at the NWC that this should not be the case. We could not have invited people to stand in for election and spend about a N100m in that exercise and not give them a level playing field to be able to do that.

“Immediately after that, there was a meeting in my office. The Organising Department was responsible for the conduct of the primaries, and we were very insistent that that process must continue.

“It was then that we decided that we would go public with our view that it could not happen that the arm of the party that is responsible for guaranteeing an impartial election should be seen not to do that, and if we do not do that, it would mean that there is a blanket assumption that the NWC has also taken a position.

“I must say that at the background we had the support of the Deputy National Chairman (North) who is now the current Minister of Agriculture (Abubakar Kyari), the National Secretary of the party at that time (Iyiola Omisore); and the National Organising Secretary (Suleiman Argungun).

“After we reached a consensus in my office about the stand of the men of conscience in the NWC, we decided to go public and address the press together with the Progressives Governors’ Forum that the NWC has not taken a position and any candidate that would fly the flag of the party would be the candidate that would emerge from presidential primary of the party.

“We had to go to the house of the chairman to brief him of that position. I’m happy that at the end of the day we went into primaries and the candidate of the party won the election and the rest is history.”

In the buildup to the APC presidential primary in June 2022, Adamu announced Lawan as the party’s “consensus candidate” but the announcement was strongly rejected by a league of northern governors who preferred Tinubu.

Despite the dramatic twists and intra-party squabbles, ex-Lagos governor Bola Tinubu won the keenly contested primary, trouncing strong contenders like the ex-Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Lawan amongst others.

The former Lagos governor would later defeat opposition figures like Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) at the February 2023 general election to clinch the number one spot at Aso Villa.

About two months after Tinubu was inaugurated as Nigeria’s President, specifically in July 2023, Adamu and Iyiola Omisore resigned as APC National Chairman and Secretary respectively in controversial and unclear circumstances, paving the way for a new NWC with ex-Kano governor Abdullahi Ganduje and former Senate spokesman Ajibola Bashiru as National Chairman and National Secretary respectively.

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