The lobby to occupy the lofty position of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairmanship seat has been intensified since the National Convention month has been announced.
Aspirants to the seat are currently dropping the name of President Muhammadu Buhari, just as they have been paying homage to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Every aspirant, especially those from the North Central, where the seat is said to have been zoned to, has dropped the name of the President to have favoured his aspiration. Also those from the other zones, who don’t believe in the Zoning of the National Chairmanship position, have also been dropping the name of the President in like manner.
A party source revealed that beyond the dropping of the President’s name, the private office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation in Wuse 2, has been a beehive of activities, as aspirants pay homage. Malami is said to be the defacto President as he has the ear of the President.
Among those who are contesting the National Chairmanship in the North Central are: Former governor of Benue State and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume; former governor of Nasarawa State; Senator Tanko Al- Makura; Senator Sani Musa and former Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Alhaji Saliu Mustapha.
Other aspirants, who are not from North Central are: former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; former Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdullazizi Yari; former governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda; former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje and another former governor from Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima. Sources at the party said that the two major contesting forces are members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
President Buhari and the Attorney General were one time members of the two parties respectively. According to the source, ANPP members who are looking for the President endorsement include Yuguda, Yari and Shettima.
The three were two time governors on the platform of ANPP. The source, who craved anonymity, said even the party chieftains are avoiding the aspirants because they are not sure who the President would endorse. In 2018, not until President Muhammadu Buhari endorsed the candidature of the former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, other aspirants were in the race.
Among those who were on the race then was the former APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and former governor of Cross River State, Clement Ebri. Odigie-Oyegun was preparing and consulting with some party chieftains, especially the governors to have a second term until the President announced the Adams
Oshiomhole as his choice. At this point, every other person was asked to bury his or her ambition. However, some party members believe that that decision of the President to impose candidate had never helped the party. They believe also that what is happening in the Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee is just because the so called backing of the President and the Presidency. Party sources said the Attorney General’s office in Wuse 2 is where all the candidates troop to for endorsement. Malami and three other governors are said to superintend over the activities of the APC, as the three governors also defer to the Attorney General to get approval of the President on any decision on the party.
It was on the advice of the Attorney General that the Caretaker Committee members are still overseeing the party, a party chieftain said.
The position of the Attorney General in the party and to government has earned him the kind of recognition that he enjoys. Before the Anambra State election, his office was also a home for the APC governorship candidate, Senator Andy Uba, party sources also alleged.
Mustapha just like some other candidates believe his relationship with the President from the days of CPC positioned him for endorsement. However, the supporters of Al-Makura believe that their principal has better relationship with the President, therefore he is the candidate to be endorsed.
Also, they alleged that the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari is disposed to the former governor’s candidature. On their part, the supporters of Yuguda have also argued and believed that their principal has relationship with the President and deserves his endorsement. Yuguda was elected governor on the platform of ANPP in 2007 when President Buhari was the candidate of the party.
They said, “President Buhari and Yuguda have a good relationship and the President trust him to be a good national Chairman, given his antecedent as governor of Bauchi State.” Senator Sani Musa is one of the allies of the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
He is working from the Senate President angle to have the endorsement of the President, one of his supporters said. According to the supporter: “The President also listens to the Senate President, a reason we believe our principal would be endorsed by the President.
“You should also know that our principal is a member and second in command of the APC tripartite Committee that takes decisions for the party.”
The endorsement of members of the National Working Committee by party leaders had played a negative impact on the party, some members have argued. For every member who had served as NWC member had been endorsed by a governor or the President, party source said.
Meanwhile, supporters of Yuguda said the all inclusive administration and other socially- uplifting programmes of the former Bauchi State qualified him for the national chairmanship position of the party Alhaji Abubakar Abdulkadir, a Political Aide to Yuguda, made the assertions on Saturday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.
“Part of what has made my boss (Yuguda) a very good sell among all the ethnic groups and nationalities in the party is that his tenure as governor is still wellreputed for its audacious non-indigene policy among other socially-uplifting programmes.
“These turned Bauchi State into a home for persons from diverse backgrounds and persuasions.
“His administration abolished contract appointments for Nigerians from other states, who were literally handed permanent and pensionable appointments as well as political appointments in the state,”
Abdulkadir said. He added that Yuguda, fondly called the “architect of modern Bauchi State” brought several developmental strides and initiatives to the state.