APC Chair: Consensus option versus party’s phobia for election | The Guardian Nigeria News

“There would be no upset, no anything like confusion about the determination of All Progressives Congress (APC) to hold a successful national convention on March 26. You can see, the withdrawal of SAS (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff) from the contest (for national chairmanship) shows that President Muhammadu Buhari is fully in charge.”

If that lofty sentiment held by a northern politician from Kaduna State is anything to go by, then the forthcoming national convention of the governing APC could come and go without the much anticipated implosion or mass defection.

What happened at Area 11, Garki, last Thursday, when Senator Abdullahi Adamu launched his chairmanship campaign office, seem to buttress the quiet optimism that Saturday’s third national convention of the party would yield ground to peace and greater unity.

However, the purported insistence of some aspirants, especially for the chairmanship, to determine their fate through the expressed will of party faithful through election continues to stick out like a sore thumb, thereby raising some disquiet within the party.

But, the convergence of opinions among the major stakeholders is that President Buhari has the final say on the colour and texture of the expected National Working Committee (NWC) of APC.

Right from March 2020, when he cried out about the possible implications of the infighting among different interests jostling for ascendancy for the 2023 Presidential election, Buhari is said to be doing all in his power to ensure that the party that helped him to dethrone almighty Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not become history after his term as President.

Notwithstanding the fact that the President would not feature on the ballot in 2023, he has continued to moderate tension among the Progressive Governors’ Forum, National Assembly caucus and ambitious elements in the party.

As part of his determination to ensure that APC retains the Presidential crown, the President was said to have started thinking through various scenarios to situate the party from 2023 and beyond.

Some of the blueprints the President was said to have been working on included the zoning of the Presidency to the South and getting a capable politician to serve as a father figure to the party as national chairman.

And just as he let the cat out of the bag in 2016, when he hinted in Benin that Edo people should donate the then outgoing governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for more assignment at the federal level in Abuja, President Buhari had his eyes set on the Senator representing Nasarawa West, Dr. Adamu.

Yet, as eventually happened between Oshiomhole and his kinsman, Senator Oserhiemen Osunbor, some chieftains of the party say that another anti-climax could be witnessed during next Saturday’s national convention. It could be recalled that Osunbor was prevailed to step down at the eleventh hour when it became obvious that the leader of the party had spoken.

Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura

Would Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura turn out as another Osunbor or try to test the democratic credentials of the governing party? Members of the legacy Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) are said to be insisting on a vote by delegates rather than consensus during the Saturday convention.

Although some delegates from some Southern states are said to be reaching out to Senator Al-Makura with assurances that their votes would go to him, The Guardian learned that the bulk of northern delegates have been reserved for Adamu, who is considered the anointed candidate.

Checks by The Guardian revealed that even while Al-Makura was making waves as the candidate to beat in the election, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff was also being considered before he dropped out of the race. Speaking during a television appearance on Channels Television, the representative of Bornu Central in the Senate, Ali Ndume, said he had two candidates from both Northeast and North Central Senatorial Zones, where the next APC national chairman was being expected.

It was gathered that the two candidates happened to be Sheriff and Adamu. Speaking during the unveiling of Senator Adamu’s campaign office, Ndume, Senate Committee chairman on the Army, explained that his support for the former Nasarawa State governor was based on his experience and courage.

“I am supporting Abdullahi Adamu, because he is the most qualified and courageous among other aspirants. Adamu is somebody that cannot be influenced by money. He is not afraid to say anything in favour of whatever he believes in,” Ndume told reporters.

Of the three Senators in the contest for the chairmanship post, only Adamu and Al-Makura were former governors, a consideration that is being used against the Nigeria State Senator, Sani Musa, even as some party insiders claim that Musa was being sidelined on account of his company’s relationship with the electoral umpire.

Even as odds favour Nasarawa State to throw up APC’s next national chairman, President Buhari is said to be looking at the peaceful outcome of the convention as the first phase of a successful execution of his succession plan.

Sources said the President’s enforcers believe that what happens on Saturday would have a direct bearing on the planned Presidential primary in which Senator Adamu would repeat a similar feat by former Sokoto State governor, Dr. Attahiru Bafarawa, who called the bluff of Alhaji Mahmud Waziri to give Buhari the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential ticket in 2003.

Ali Modu Sheriff

The calibre of attendees at opening of Adamu’s campaign office last Thursday shows that the Presidency already knows not only which zone would throw up the party’s Presidential standard bearer, but also has an idea of who the cap will fit.

In attendance at the occasion were, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu; Adamu Aliero and Ali Ndume, as well as the Chief Whip, House of Representatives, Mohammed Monguno.

A Senator confided in The Guardian that the decision by northern leaders to back Adamu was reached in a similar way Omo-Agege was pencilled for the post of Deputy President of Senate, when he helped to defend the Presidency from the legislative affront of the Eighth Senate under Dr. Bukola Saraki.

He said: “When you people were making noise in the media that APC was trying to retain the Presidency in North, we were busy strategizing about the stability of the country and what happens to the party after baba Buhari.

“Now, you can see what is happening, Turakin Keffi (Adamu) is set to be the national chairman insha Allah. After that we shall all gather to support the President as he points out who should fly the party’s flag next year.”
Sheriff’s lead

THE APC stalwart explained that what Senator Ali Modu Sheriff did by announcing his withdrawal from the chairmanship race was to set the stage for others.

He denied claims that aspirants have resolved to stonewall the consensus option, stressing that those who purchased forms and will undergo screening were merely raising the stakes to underscore their seriousness.

“If you heard Sheriff very well, then you should know what to expect after the screening today (Tuesday),” he declared.

It would be recalled that former Borno State governor, Senator Sheriff told journalists as his campaign office on Parakou Street, Wuse 2, that he decided to bow to the decisions of APC leaders based on the zoning arrangement.

While stressing that President Buhari has taken a position that nobody should flout, Sheriff declared: “The President has taken a position. I have always told you that I will contest if it is zoned to my zone. That has been my statement always. And today they have taken a position.

“I respect the President as a person. And, as the President, he is my leader. He must have a reason for allowing the party to zone the chairmanship to north central.

“I am a founding father of this party. I was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of this party. This means that every decision the party makes all the time I’ve been chairman of a party and chairman of the Board of Trustees of another (ANPP); I know the procedure and the process.”

Sheriff however noted that the only way he could rescind his decision was if by Friday the zoning arrangement is altered, stressing, “the zoning to the North Central has technically foreclosed my participation in the race.”

In a veiled allusion to the former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, who is said to be bracing all odds to challenge the zoning, Sheriff stated: “I don’t want to draw a line, I respect the President. Unless the party comes out between now and Friday to say, we have changed our mind, it is now open, in that respect they are obliged to allow everybody. But, I don’t want to oppose the President in any way or form. I respect him. I will abide by the decision of the party that exclusively zoned to North Central.”

Although the Governor, Abdulrahman Abdul Razak-led APC Zoning Committee recommended the zoning of the office of national chairman to the North Central region, Sheriff explained that certain things are usually put into consideration.

“Normally, zoning revolves around a person, you don’t zone in a vacuum. And they must have a reason why it was zoned. In party congresses and conventions there is what is called a Unity List. On the last day of the convention, when the leaders make up their minds, they’ll bring out one list.

“And in that respect, the list will be followed by the participants, because parties are made up of men and women who are also coming from the zones and states,” he stated.

The former Borno State chief executive pleaded with party bigwigs, especially those planning to put the party’s modalities to test, “to submit themselves to the Unity List that would be ratified at the Convention.”

The Guardian learned that although the appointment of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the chairman of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) raised hopes that the next substantive chairman could come from Northeast, the calculation changed when the party adopted the swap approach.

According to Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the swap method was the most equitable, free and objective approach, stressing that positions earlier held in the South went to the North and vice versa.

How these approaches will affect the expected Unity List being compiled by the various caucuses of the party would be seen by the time delegates throng the convention venue.

Neutral voices are reminding Buhari and party leaders that the way they are going about their consensus approach was the same way they imposed Oshiomhole on the party, which turned out very bad. Now, they are drafting another chairman, to the disregard of the rules that forbid consensus when more than one contender is on the ballot.



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