Ahead of the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential primaries scheduled for Sunday, the party’s leadership Wednesday said consensus arrangement on its choice candidate is not on the table for now.
APC National Chairman Senator Abdullah Adamu revealed this while speaking to some select journalists in Abuja.
The party leader, who reiterated his commitment to ensuring level
Echoes of consensus
There have been some calls for consensus by some APC stakeholders to pick its presidential candidate.
Specifically, there were permutations by party faithful that the leadership at the national level would galvanise the 25 APC aspirants to forge a consensus in the same manner they did during their last national convention to elect party executives.
For instance, seven South-east presidential aspirants on the party’s platform resolved last Sunday to support any aspirant from the region who gets the parties ticket for the 2023 general election.
Also, two presidential aspirants namely former Speaker House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole and former Minister of State for Education Emeka Nwajiuba also lent their voices for a consensus arrangement.
On the contrary, however, No Alternative To Tunubu 2023 (NATT2023) – a support group of APC national leader and presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, kicked against consensus arrangement, saying it put limits to several available choices.
But the APC consensus became necessary against the backdrop that the PDP, the major opposition party, had thrown its presidential race open to all the regions of the country.
The consensus if formed would help nip in the bud the rancorous and acrimonious situation likely to arise in the aftermath of the party primaries.
But speaking in an interview Wednesday at the party’s national secretariat, the APC national chairman, Senator Adamu, said “the party has its own rules and strategies, which I will not expose now. What I can say for now is, all the aspirants would be assessed to measure their competence during the primary.”
He added that, “it is normal that you can’t stop many people from aspiring for a position, and it is ecstatic for us that they are aspiring for the position under the platform of our great party. We thank God, we also thank them. Aspiring for a political position is not an offense, but victory is the will of God. Everybody can contest, but you should know that, when God chooses the winner, those who are faithful to God, will succumb and even work for the final victor.
“So, what I want to point out here is, even a mad man knows that twenty eight aspirants cannot be president at the same time. Only one will! Therefore, what we can do as the leaders of the party, is to be just to all of them. We know that we are not saints, we are not perfect, but we pray for God to help us do justice to everybody.”
When further pressed on whether at the party level, they would have any arrangement to produce a ‘unity candidate’ as it happened during election of party executives last March, 2022, he said: “Contesting for the position of a party chairman or any party executive position is not the same as the position of the president. The enthusiasm and desire to acquire the position of a party chairman is not as strong as that of a president’s seat. It is incomparable!”
Lawal halts consultation
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has put off all his political engagements for Wednesday to mourn the farmers killed by the terrorists in Borno state Sunday.
More than 50 farmers were reportedly killed at the outskirts of Kala Balge local government area by terrorists suspected to be Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Lawan had already scheduled some engagements for Wednesday one of which was to meet with the APC leaders and delegates in Borno state.
He was also scheduled to proceed from Maiduguri to Gombe also to meet party leaders and particularly, the delegates to canvas support for his presidential bid ahead of the upcoming primaries but decided to put off all his political engagements for the day on account of the tragic incident and instead proceeded to Maiduguri only on a condolence visit.
While in Maiduguri, the Senate President met with Governor Babagana Umara Zulum and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai to commiserate with the government and people of Borno state.
At the Palace of Shehu of Borno, Lawan said: “We are in Maiduguri for a very solemn event. We had wanted to come to meet with the delegates in continuation of the campaign for the flag of our Party, the APC, for the Presidential race.
“Because of the sad event that took place in Kala Balge where over 50 of our people were killed, we felt that it was only appropriate to come to Borno to condole with the Government and people of Borno state.
“We pray that Almighty Allah will forgive their sins and Aljannah Firdaus be their final resting place.”
Earlier at the Borno state Government House, the Senate President told the Governor that all his political engagements for Wednesday had been put off in honour of the farmers who were killed by the terrorists.
“We are therefore here to condole with you, the government and people of Borno state for this loss. This is a time for sympathy and empathy. This is not time for politics.
“So we have come to condole with you and of course we have put off the political engagements in honour of our citizens who were killed by Boko Haram ISWAP.
“Your Excellency, let me commend you for everything that you have been doing in Borno state and particularly your concern in ensuring that you continue to partner with the Federal government to fight the insurgency here and also ensure that all the IDPs are back into their communities.”
Responding, Governor Zulum thanked the Senate President and his entourage for the gesture.
He said Borno and Yobe, the home state of the Senate President were one and prayed that the existing relationship between the two states “will never be soured.”
Obi dumps PDP
And barely 72 hours to the PDP National Convention to elect its 2023 presidential candidate, an aspirant and former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi has dumped the party.
Obi announced this in a letter addressed to the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, dated 24th May 2022 titled “Resignation From Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Withdrawal From the Presidential Contest said his decision has been conveyed to the Chairman of Agulu Ward 2. Anaocha LGA Anambra since Friday 20 May 2022.
The letter obtained by Blueprint, Wednesday, signed by Obi partly read “Consequently, I am by this letter informing you of my withdrawal for the PDP Presidential Primaries.
“It has been a great honour to contribute to nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions.
“Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.
“I wish to thank you personally for your graciousness and leadership. I wish you well and best of luck in the service of country”.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, a former aide to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and Director-General Peter Obi Campaign Organisation, Dr Doyin Okupe, assured that the former governor’s name would be on the 2023 ballot.
He said ” You recall that consistently, former governor Peter Obi has repeatedly stated that his not desperate to be President, but he is desperate to cause a change, to cause a redirection to change the way the government of Nigeria is being run.
“And to offer solutions to various problems of Nigeria, it is for these reasons he entered into the race. But the various development within the PDP makes it virtually impossible for him.
“This is not to say that all hopes all lost. I can say on his behalf that Nigerians must not give up, we must never give up. Hope is on its way and help is coming”.
On Obi’s next line of action is, Okupke said: “All options are on the table. By the grace of Almighty God, Peter Obi will be on the ballot for the 2023 Presidency.”
Blueprint gathered that Obi may likely join the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) led by former Kano state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Sources in the former Anambra State governor’s camp also hinted that he was considering Labour Party.
“NNPP would have been an option, but Kwankwaso is already a candidate, so LP is an option. He will announce soon.”