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2023 Presidency: APC favours North 


…eyes South for VP slot

Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja


Indications emerged yesterday that the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have settled for a northern candidate and a southern running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

The leadership of the ruling party has kept members in the dark over where the presidential ticket will go to but a party source, who spoke with our correspondent, said the decision to go for a presidential candidate of northern extraction is a as a result of the plan by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to hand its ticket to a northerner.

The source said that APC is scared that it might lose the poll if it fields a presidential candidate from the South, which informs why some leaders of the party are working towards ensuring that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, emerges as the presidential flag bearer of the ruling party.

It would be recalled that some APC chieftains had during their purchase of the Nomination and Expression of Interest forms for Lawan, said through their leader, Amb. Sam Nkire, that no APC southern presidential candidate can defeat a northern PDP presidential candidate in 2023.

While Nkire said the belief informed why they dragged Senator Lawan into the presidential race, there are equally other northerners in the race for the APC presidential ticket. They include Governors Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and a former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima.

“The President of the Senate seems to be more favoured in the choice of the North for the APC presidential ticket, the source said, adding: “There is pressure on the leadership of the party to produce its presidential candidate from the North if it is serious about retaining power in 2023.”

“The opposition party is of the opinion that winning is more paramount than zoning, which informed why the APC is equally thinking along that line and the belief is that Lawan can match whoever the PDP will field from the North,” the source added.

On why North would want to produce the presidential candidate, when the odds favour the South, the source said that such a step is being taken to avoid losing the main election to the main opposition party.

“The ruling party has no option than to look towards the North and seek a way to accommodate the South to avoid losing the presidential poll to the PDP,” the source explained.

More than 20 presidential aspirants obtained the APC presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms, with many of them from the South.

Among those who obtained and returned the forms are: APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; ex-Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as well as former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

Others are the Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; ex-governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha and a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani.

The screening of the presidential aspirants has been fixed for May 23, while the Special National Convention to elect the presidential candidate is billed for May 29.

While attempts to get a confirmation of the decision of the party from its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, was not successful, as he failed pick his calls or respond to a text message sent to him, another party source, who spoke with our correspondent, however, noted that it would be better for APC to lose the presidential election than fielding a northern candidate.

According to him: “what is the assurance that a northern candidate would win the election because once this starts, it will continue that way that only a northerner can win a presidential election?”

He, therefore, cautioned politicians of southern extraction and members of the APC, canvassing for a northern presidential candidate to desist from such, describing it as “a wild wind that would blow no one good.”

Similarly, a former National Chairman of the APC, who preferred anonymity, said it would be morally wrong for the party for the North to produce the party’s presidential candidate after eight years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

According to him: “It is not only the North that can win the presidential election.”




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