- Stampede triggers tension at Eagle Square
- As pro-Emefiele group storms convention ground
It turned out to be an anticlimax as six aspirants for the National Chairmanship position of the All Progressives Congress (APC), withdrew from the race yesterday, leaving the “anointed” candidate, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, a former Governor of Nasarawa State as the only one in the race. Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, disclosed this in a letter he wrote to the Chairman, Election Sub Committee of the party.
The letter it was gathered was meant to call the subcommittee’s attention to the President request that Abdulahi Adamu be adopted as the consensus candidate.
The short letter read: “May I kindly refer to the appeal by Mr President for the chairmanship aspirants of our great party, to agree to a consensus arrangement wherein our colleague, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, is made our consensus candidate for the chairmanship position and forward letters of withdrawal from the underlisted aspirants to wit: Tanko Al Makura, George Akume, Abdulazeez Yari, Sani Mohammed, Turaki Mustapha and Etsu Mohammed.” Adamu, a serving Senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, was reportedly pre-selected by the key party stakeholders and kingmakers as the consensus candidate for the position. The aspirants, who were said to have buried their ambitions in the overall interest of the party, would be compensated by the party, it was learnt. President Muhammadu Buhari had a few days ago, declared his preference for a consensus candidate and urged the APC to consider refunding the sum of N20 million to each of the aspirants, who agree to the consensus arrangement.
The refund is to compensate them for the money they used for the purchase of their nomination forms.
Apart from the letter, Akume also forwarded six other letters of withdrawal, including his and those of his co-contestants in which they individually conceded to Adamu, the consensus candidate. Similarly, another prominent aspirant, Sen. Sani Musa, has also withdrawn from the race to back Adamu as consensus candidate.
Musa’s withdrawal from the race was confirmed in a statement by his media aide, Nasir Mohammed. “Senator Sani Musa, currently representing Niger East Senatorial District at the Nigerian Senate announced this decision after the aspirants meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the leader of the party yesterday and 24 hours to the convention scheduled for Saturday March 26, 2022 in Abuja.
“He pledged to back Senator Abdullahi Adamu as consensus candidate for the seat in today’s convention,” the statement read. Meanwhile, there was stampede at the Eagle Square, venue of the convention as some delegates standing on long queues, waiting to be accredited lost their patience and attempted to force their way into the arena.
The stampede saw a lot of people running helter skelter, as security operatives drawn from the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) shot tear gas into the crowd while security dogs were equally unleashed in a bid to control the crowd. A number of delegates and visitors caught in the stampede were said to had sustained injuries.
The convention also turned out to be a carnival of sorts, especially for aspirants to various political offices. In one of the scenes, a group which identified itself as Emefiele Solidarity Vanguard (ESV) stormed the Eagle Square, demanding that the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), Dr. Godwin Emefiele, be allowed to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Members of the group were dressed in branded T-shirts showcasing Emefiele’s portrait as possible presidential candidate for the 2023 elections. Co-ordinator of the group, Daniel Enyi, said they were impressed by Emefiele’s achievements at the apex bank and his contributions to the economic policies of the Buhari administration and were interested in drafting Emefiele into the presidential race.
According to him, the Anchor Borrower’s Scheme has led to an agricultural revolution in Nigeria while the fiscal and monetary policies of the CBN had stabilised the country.
“As the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari is coming to an end, the nation needs a person with very strong will, and ideologically transformed personality with justifiable evidence of patriotic services like Dr. Godwin Emefiele as the next President of Nigeria.
“We are very happy that this party has maintained the economy of Nigeria as the best and strongest economy in Africa. “We call on the political class, the business class and the academia to prevail on Dr. Godwin Emefiele to take the mantle of leadership from our able leader, President Muhammadu Buhari as he hands over power in 2023,” Enyi said.