+ OBJ, Buhari, Tinubu on war path over presidential candidate
THE growing speculation that the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leaders, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu are plotting to contest as presidential and vice presidential candidates in 2015 is tearing the party apart.
And with outrage trailing the mere suggestion of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, the stage is set for a never-expected implosion of APC.
ENCOMIUM Weekly even learnt that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, who defected to APC are already protesting the Buhari/Tinubu ticket which is at odds with their political interest.
In rejecting Buhari and Tinubu, some APC stakeholders who are mainly Christians are drawing the attention of their leaders to the dangerous implications of fielding two Muslims as presidential and vice presidential candidates. (The norm in the Nigerian political system is to pay attention to religious sensibilities of the people). And if the tension the Muslim-Muslim ticket is generating is not enough for the opposition party, reliable sources told ENCOMIUM Weekly there is also another time bomb, waiting to explode.
This time, it is the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the alleged presidential aspiration of Kano State governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Kwankwaso’s rumoured interest in the highest office in the land would further divide APC in the North since the majority of the zones are either routing for the former head of state and three-time presidential candidate, General Buhari (retd) or former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
On the issue of the alleged plot to promote a Muslim-Muslim ticket, political observers are of the opinion that APC leadership’s tactical silence on the controversy seems to suggest there is no going back on their choice of the two party leaders.
According to our source, APC arrived at this consensus arrangement when both leaders insisted they must run for the Presidency.
“The emergence of the so-called Muslim-Muslim ticket came up when the two major promoters of the merger which became the APC (Buhari and Tinubu) signed their intention to run. But the realization that there might be a very serious challenge against the candidacy of Buhari created the ground for the proposition of a consensus arrangement.”
The consensus arrangement is further promoted on their calculation that Tinubu as Buhari’s running mate would defeat incumbent President Jonathan in 2005.
The electoral calculation has already been concluded and the party leaders are upbeat that they would defeat President Goodluck Jonathan if the Presidential election is free and fair. This is based on true perceived numerical strength of Muslims in the North (where Buhari hails) and Tinubu’s South West.
Though the APC leadership has allegedly endorsed Buhari and Tinubu, the plot has been roundly criticized by some of their members.
Leading the opposition are some state governors who are yet to voice out their protest openly.
But prominent politicians like former PDP National Chairman and one-time Minister of Communication, Chief Audu Ogbeh, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and the publisher of Leadership newspaper, Sam Isa Ndaiah have vowed to kick against imposition of candidates in the party.
Fani Kayode, who paid a surprise visit to President Goodluck Jonathan last week has been protesting the impending imposition of Buhari and Tinubu on the party.
And alleged to be on his way out of APC, FFK’s reason is the ‘maltreatment’ of Christians in the party.
Despite the outrage greeting APC’s proposed Muslim-Muslim ticket, many still believe the problem of Nigeria is not religion. Some are of the opinion that if it takes such arrangement to kick out the ruling PDP and enthrone good governance, they would support it.
One political analyst who supported this assertion also pointed out that APC needs to confront the incumbent president with their best presidential material, which still remains Buhari and Tinubu in terms of popularity, experience, strength and other electoral factors.
He observed that external agents would naturally be stoking the fire of hate and animosity among members of the opposition. He, however, advised the party leadership to carry their members along before adopting formally the duo (Buhari and Tinubu).
OBJ’s alleged plot to make Kwankwaso president has equally been dismissed as a big joke. Those who think in this direction say the former president has done enough of that with disastrous results.
“OBJ is not a serious factor in APC, Kwankwaso would sort himself out when the chips are down,” our source said.
As the battle for 2015 draws near, the ruling PDP and leading opposition, APC have been flexing muscles to have an upper hand in the polity. Whereas PDP has been welcoming back their lost members and encouraging more to come under the umbrella through zonal party rallies, the APC in its part has been mobilizing massively to muster the electoral strength to win the presidential election in 2015.
Interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed declined to comment on the alleged plot of the party to field Buhari and Tinubu as their flagbearers in 2015. He also didn’t react to the tension the issue is generating in the party when ENCOMIUM Weekly called him on Monday, April 14, 2014.
– UCHE OLEHI