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…in order to avoid repeat of 2018 primaries where money played major role

To avoid a repeat of what happened in 2018 primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to choose the National chairman, National Secretary and National Organising Secretary, a source in the party has revealed. It was strongly alleged that money was used to obtain tickets of the party in the 2018 primaries, a situation party members claim affected the fortunes of the party in the 2019 General Elections.

To this effect, candidates for the National Chairmanship position have intensified their lobby of the Presidency to secure the endorsement of President Buhari. The candidates, Saturday Telegraph gathered, have started assembling lobby teams for their ambitions. The party source said: “The President was embarrassed about the report of the transaction during the 2018 primaries. As you were aware some persons were said to have been invited by the DSS on the allegations of financial impropriety during the primaries. A repeat of this, the Presidency, said must be avoided.”

Those who have indicated interest to contest for the National Chairmanship position of the party are: Senator Sani Musa (Niger) North Central; former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa) North Central; former governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume (Benue) North Central; former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno) North East; former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdullazizi Yari (Zamfara) North West; Alhaji Saliu Mustapha (Kwara) North Central; former governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), North East; former governor of Nasarawa, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa) North Central; Mr. Sunny Silvester Moniedafe (Adamawa), North East and Alhaji Abdullahi Sani Shinkafi (Zamfara) North West.

The candidates would start the collection of their Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms on February 14 going by the timetable released by the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). A close associate of Senator Sani Musa campaign team said that the Senators, led by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, are in the forefront of lobbying the Presidency and other relevant organs of the party for Senator Musa.

According to the source, the Senators are reaching out to those who are considered to be closed to the Presidency to have Musa adopted as the consensus candidate. Also the campaign team of the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, is said to be gathering some governors, members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and some Senators to lobby the Presidency and also other relevant organs of the party for adoption of their principal, Senator Al-Makura, as consensus candidate. Similarly, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs,Senator George Akume, is relying on his colleagues in the Federal Executive Cabinet (FEC) to achieve his ambition in the lobbying game. Akume is a two-term governor, a Senator and now a serving Minister.

His supporters believe that he is the only candidate with a relationship with influencers of the National Convention. Also, candidates like the former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and Saliu Mustapha, are relying on the personal relationship with the President. Senator Adamu in the 8th Senate was said to have opposed the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki because of President Buhari and Mustapha was the Deputy National Chairman of defunct of CPC, one of the legacy parties that formed APC and also the party on whose platform the President contested the Presidential election in 2011.

All the candidates are presenting different credentials of relationships with the President. Beyond the Presidency, the aspirants are also lobbying the APC Tripartite Committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The Tripartite Committee is made up of the Vice President, Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Caretaker Committee Chairman and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni and others.

The Committee was set up to harmonise and improve the relationship among the Executive, Legislature and the National leadership of the party. They also would assert influence on who becomes the National Chairman other relevant positions. Meanwhile, a Chieftain of the party has said that members would not elect “cash and carry,” National Working Committee (NWC) members. According to him, the NWC members to be elected must be people of impeccable character. The party chieftain alleged that the last NWC members led by a former governor sold the party tickets to the highest bidders, a situation he said affected the party negatively in the 2019 General Elections.

The APC stalwart said: “Party members are committed to elect NWC members with integrity, who would not consider monetary gains in considering candidates for elections. “The losses we suffered in 2019 General Elections were due to the monetization of our primaries. If not that President Muhammadu Buhari was on the ballot for that election the damage would have been much.

“As you can see, President Buhari is not going to be on the ballot for the 2023 elections, therefore the party must tread with caution and that caution must come from the NWC. If we don’t elect National Chairman, National Secretary and National Organising Secretary that are sincere and committed to the progress of the party, we are gone.”




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