…swelling the nat’l leader’s rank with more than 282 delegates’ votes
A mild drama yesterday played out at the Eagle Square venue of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention when Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi; his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammad Abubakar Badaru; former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; former Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday stepped down as presidential aspirations for the National Leader of the party, Ahmed Tinubu. Also, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and Senator Ajayi Boroffice, announced that they were stepping down.
Following this, a summation of the votes showed that the number of delegates from the four states namely Ekiti, Ogun, Jigawa and Akwa Ibom states would be 282 votes. The aspirants, New Telegraph learnt, declared their intentions during their brief presentations witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari, his wife, Aisha, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC NWC and party faithful.
To set the ball rolling, Akpabio said it was instructive for him to step down for Tinubu, followed by Amosun, Fayemi, Bankole and Boroffice. On his part, the Senior Pastor of Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said he was not going to step down for anybody, as “it’s time to raise leaders who will address the rot in the system.” Speaking also, former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, urged the delegates not to vote for him if he is not qualified.
He said the presentations should be about the referendum of the Nigerian polity. Similarly, the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu yesterday charged party members that come 2023, the APC must win and win big.
Adamu, who stated this at the National Convention of the APC held in Abuja, said the choice of a flagbearer is a difficult one but it must be done. Adamu said the fate of APC was depended on the outcome of the National Convention. Speaking, he said: “The fate of our party depends on this national convention, therefore we should know what we do here.
“We can do nothing unless we are united and without putting our house in order we can’t continue to be in Aso Villa. We are carrying out total reconcilation in all the states and this will make us win and win big.”
The National Chairman warned members of the party that whatever the grievances might be it would not be wise and nice to wash the dirty lining of the party in the public, stating that the best might not necessarily win the ticket of the party. He said: “We have the largest number of Presidential Aspirants and washing our dirty lining in public is not a good one no matter what.
“The best might not get the price as the choice of the flag bearers is not an easy one. The flag bearer l must be somebody who has what it takes to win election for the party.” Further, Adamu said President Buhari’s successor must share his ideals.
The National Secretary, Senator Iyinola Omisore said, Two states would vote simultaneously. He asked the delegates to write the name of their choice Aspirant as he asked Aspirants that want to withdraw to make that announcement public and sign. Meanwhile, Tinubu and Osinbajo might be the last men standing, heading into the crescendo of the ongoing presidential primary of the ruling APC.
The APC Senator representing the Kano South Constituency, Kabiru Gaya, speaking yesterday in an interview with journalist at the Abuja convention, said: “They are still at the process and during conventions like this; decisions are taken at the last minute and people eventually accept. “All I know that the Presidency should go to the South in order to have a Northern Vice-President. “When we had President Buhari from North; it is natural for power to shift to the South which would entrench the faith within the Nigerians.
“Any decisions have merits and demerits and the former must outright the latter which is that the Presidency must go to the South. “On the two candidates, we have Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Bola Ahmed Tinubu regarding the Southern Presidency.
I am aware three aspirants have stepped down for Osinbajo. The aspirants will address the delegates and people on the reason they stepped down.” Prior to these, President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Working Committee (NWC), had on Monday disagreed on the consensus arrangement that threw up the name of the Senate President as the Presidential candidate of the party.
The confusion came as the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu at noon announced Senator Ahmed Lawan as the consensus Candidate for the party. Adamu said the choice of Lawan was after due consultations. But swiftly, the APC governors and the Presidency dissociated themselves from the position of the APC National Chairman. Briefing journalists at the Aso Villa, Abuja, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the position of the governors’ has not changed on the zone to produce the presidential candidate.
According to him, the governors would not be part of the consensus arrangement of the APC National Working Committee (NWC). Recall that the governors had on Saturday in a resolution after their meeting said the South should produce the presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 general election. There were 21 governors who signed the resolution which was presented to the President. Also, the President had told the governors, and the national leadership of the party to go and consider among the aspirants a formidable candidate that could win election for the party.