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2015 Elections: APC In Fresh Dilemma Over Presidential Ticket

Interim National Chairman, All Progressive Congress, Chief Bisi Akande
Interim National Chairman, All Progressive Congress, Chief Bisi Akande

An alleged proposal by the All Progressives Congress to present a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket is believed to have put the party in a fresh dilemma.

There had been speculation that the APC was preparing to present a former Head of State, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and an erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

It was, however, gathered in Abuja on Thursday that the APC strategists and stakeholders had been holding a series of formal and informal consultations over the issue.

Party sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with our correspondent on Thursday, agreed that the issue was the party’s “biggest headache as the 2015 polls draw near.”

One of them said, “Some have suggested a Babatunde Fashola/ Adams Oshiomhole ticket but this was thrown out. Others suggested a Rabiu Kwakwanso/Fashola ticket and it was turned down, yet others suggested Aminu Tambuwual/Fashola ticket and it was also rejected before the Buhari/Tinubu ticket came up.

“What some of our leaders don’t seem to understand is that this is not 1993. Neither Buhari nor Tinubu is an Abiola whose generosity transcended ethnic and religious lines on a national scale.”

The source claimed that the issue was threatening to polarise the opposition party along ethno-religious lines.

Another APC member and a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani- Kayade, had asked the party to perish any thought of presenting a Muslim/Muslim ticket because it would hurt the Christian community.

But another former minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is currently the APC’s Interim Deputy National Secretary, insisted that the party would present acceptable candidates irrespective of ethnic or religious considerations.

El-Rufai, in a statement on his Facebook account, said Nigerians should be looking for competence instead of issues of ethnicity or religious affiliations.

He said, “The APC presidential ticket: Those speculating on this and advising me on all manner of persons and religions should know my views.

“The APC will present an integrity-competence ticket not religion. Politics and governance are not to be mixed or dictated to by any religion.

“The APC will present to Nigerians the best persons with the integrity, capacity and competence to create jobs, fight corruption and rebuild our nation without discrimination.

“How these persons worship God is private to them and does not matter to discerning Nigerians, particularly young people that suffer most from bad governance, unemployment and the ‘Jonathanian’ culture of impunity.”

The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, however, insisted on Thursday that the race for the party’s presidential ticket was still open to eligible members, in spite of speculation to the contrary.

Mohammed, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the party would not be distracted by permutations over who would emerge as its candidates for the 2015 presidential election.

He noted that while permutations and speculation were normal in times like these, the APC was focused on convening transparent congresses to set up structures at all levels.

Stressing that the party’s doors were still open to all Nigerians, he added that it was determined to present Nigerians with a viable alternative to the Goodluck Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party government at the centre.

He explained that congresses slated to hold across the nation on Saturday (tomorrow) were to set up the party’s structures at all levels – to pave the way for conventions where elected officials would emerge.

Mohammed noted that the new APC leaders would in turn prepare guidelines for the party’s primaries to elect its candidates for state and federal elections.

The APC spokesman said it was only when a new executive had been put in place that “the APC will formulate guidelines for the primaries of those who would vie for elective offices be it House of Assembly, Governors, National Assembly, President and things like that.”

Mohammed added, “It is part of the process to get a president that would represent one, it’s a process, we are gradually getting there from not being a party, to being a party; from not having membership; to membership, to having congresses and conventions.

“The next step will be the primaries. There will be speculation but one must remain focused and not be distracted.”

While commenting on the decision by Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah to join the race for the APC presidential ticket, Mohammed said it was a welcome development.

According to him, it is evident that the party’s platform is healthy, strong and viable.

“We should not constrict the space to old generation politicians let new blood come. In politics like I always say, one day is too long not to talk of one week, one month and a whole year,” he said.

Source: Punch

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