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VON DG backs APC presidential consensus candidate

The Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu has backed the consensus arrangement of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its Presidential candidate in 2023. Okechukwu, who gave his support while speaking with journalists in Abuja, also said that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was trying to take advantage of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 12 million votes in the North. He expressed fear that a Northern PDP Presidential candidate might be a challenge for a Southern APC Presidential candidate.

The VON DG also dismissed allegations that there was a pact between President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the former to hand over power to the latter. The former National Chairman of one of the APC legacy parties, Senator Hanga had alleged that there was a pact between Buhari and Tinubu for Buhari to hand over power to Tinubu. Speaking with reporters after the Salah break at Abuja yesterday, Okechukwu, hailed the leadership of the APC for proposing the presentation of a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

“One slept well last night after reading the profound statement from the social media credited to Distinguished Senator John Akpanudedehe, our National Secretary that at the appropriate time APC will come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate that will fly its flag in 2023.

I hail the consensus proposal for it is a deft move which will perish the phobia of implosion of our great party as touted by some naysayers.” Okechukwu said. It would be recalled that Senator John Akpanudoehede, National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), stated this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja. Senator Akpanudede said that the adoption of the use of a consensus is one that is bound to upset permutations by some pundits who are hoping that with 22 governors, majority parliamentarians at national and state levels and uncountable presidential hopefuls that the APC will definitely implode. Akpanudoedehe’s statement was in reaction to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recent allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari had a self-succession plan. The APC scribe, however, stressed that the party would not allow individual ambitions to derail the Buhari administration, ahead of the 2023 presidential poll. He said unlike the opposition PDP, the APC was a disciplined party, noting that the former was just haunted by its past.

Asked whether the adoption of consensus is bound to be like a double-edged sword for notable aspirants such as the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom Senator Rufai Hanga narrated in a national newspaper interview, had an agreement with President Buhari to succeed him. “First it is refreshing that President Buhari is not for the Third Term Agenda. Second, in my slightest imagination one doesn’t think any committee handling such delicate matters will miss out our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the matrix. Methinks he will be among the top aspirants to be considered, given his immense contribution to the success of our great party in 2015.” Okechukwu answered. Prodded further to confirm whether there was an agreement between Mr President and Tinubu for succession as Senator Hanga alleged. Okechukwu quipped: “As I told Sunday Trust when asked last week, as a member of the defunct CPC, I never heard of such an agreement and most importantly Mr President doesn’t or better put rarely enters into any formal or informal agreement with anybody. But he appreciates good deeds. “All I know was that Asiwaju automatically could have been the Vice President if not for what lawyers will call force majeure. For our leadership warned against Muslim/Muslim ticket. Our leadership then argued that the Abiola/Kingibe Muslim/ Muslim ticket which worked in 1993 may not work in 2015, if Buhari/Tinubu both Muslims were to run, as the scenario differs. That was how Asiwaju nominated Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as a replacement.” When asked seriously whether Asiwaju will still be the consensus candidate, to this Okechukwu said that he is just an ordinary member of the APC and cannot by any stretch of imagination decide for the over 40 million members of the APC.

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