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APC Moves to Broker Compromise on Presidential Primary

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IMAGE: General Muhammadu Buhari, former military Head of State »


Following the commencement yesterday of the sale of nomination forms to presidential aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the leadership of the opposition party has started consulting with key stakeholders to get their buy-in and reach a compromise on plans for its presidential primary.

According to the APC timetable for the conduct of primaries for the 2015 elections, the expression of interest forms for all offices went on sale from yesterday.

THISDAY also gathered that due to the fast-approaching Adamawa governorship by-election scheduled for Saturday, the party’s leadership has planned a final rally to hold tomorrow in Yola.

All critical stakeholders from the Adamawa State chapter of the party are expected to participate in the rally.

It was learnt that part of consultations being held by the national leadership is aimed at determining how to further scale down the number of delegates that will participate in electing the party's presidential candidate during the December 2 National Convention to about 10,000.

Since the adoption of the modified direct primaries by APC's National Executive Committee (NEC), there have been divergent views from the camps of the party’s two prominent presidential aspirants – former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar – regarding the method for choosing the APC’s standard bearer for the 2015 presidential election.

While Buhari and his supporters have called for the adoption of consensus arrangement as stipulated in Article 20 of APC Constitution and Section 87(6) of the Electoral Act, Atiku has insisted on the efficacy of allowing contestants to face each other in a transparent presidential primary.

For the Buhari group, instead of flexing muscles via an indirect primary and causing disaffection amongst the stakeholders, it would be more pragmatic if the party brokered a consensus agreement that would give opportunity for the aspirant with the best credentials to emerge as the presidential candidate.

However, Atiku has challenged Buhari to be ready to face him in a free and fair presidential primary, adding that it is the delegates that will determine who wins the ticket through the primary.

THISDAY gathered that though the party is still proceeding with preparations for the primary, it is concerned about the divergent positions held by the two leading figures in the party.

The source said the national leadership has therefore commenced moves to broker a compromise.

The party’s national executive has also rallied the assistance of its national leader and former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, to spearhead efforts at stemming a brewing crisis ahead of the presidential primary.

It was learnt that in order to have a hitch-free convention, the party is considering further scaling down the number of delegates to less than 10,000.

As exclusively reported by THISDAY last week, the reason given for this measure stems from the fact that it would be exorbitant and difficult to have all the delegates at the convention venue, which would most likely be the Eagle Square in Abuja.

In line with the party's political timetable, all aspirants interested in seeking the party’s nomination to stand in the presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of

Representatives and state Houses of Assembly elections are expected to pick their forms between October 6 and 19, 2014.

Return of nomination forms for presidential aspirants will commence on October 20 and end on November 6, 2014; the screening of presidential aspirants has been slated for between November 10 and 13, while November 14 and 15 have been slated for appeals.

In addition, the sale of nomination forms for those interested in the governorship race is slated for between October 20 and November 9.

Screening of aspirants will hold from November 10 to 12, while appeals have been slated to hold between November 13 and 14.

The governorship primaries have been slated to hold on Saturday, November 15, while appeals emanating from the primaries will be entertained from November 18 to 22.

Despite the rising concerns over the discordant tunes arising from the format the presidential primary should take, the former Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday said he was certain that the APC would emerge stronger after its December 2 presidential primary.

He also said he would make his intention known to the public whether he would or would not seek the presidential ticket of APC for the 2015 presidential election.

Saraki, who is currently representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the Senate, was responding to the perception that the vaunting ambition of APC presidential hopefuls could lead to divisions within the party after its presidential primary.

Saraki, who spoke with journalists at his Ilofa GRA, Ilorin residence, said: “This is propaganda from the opposition. I want to assure Nigerians that the fact that we are going to have the primary should not in any way disintegrate any party.”

According to him, “I believe that even such primaries help to unify the party. We saw it during the era of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). After the primary, the party did not disintegrate; rather it made the party stronger.

“Even in the early days of PDP, Obasanjo and Ekwueme contested the primary and the party did not disintegrate.

“I can open up and tell you that I have had the opportunity to sit with General Buhari, Alhaji Atiku and Kwankwaso and there are assurances from them that whichever way the primaries go, they will support the party. When we started to merge with the legacy parties, the opposition said the party will disintegrate with the merger. After that they said that by the time we go for national convention the party would disintegrate.

“The party will not disintegrate because we are all making sacrifices every day. It is not easy to come together to take on a government with this level of impunity.

“We are all doing this because we truly believe that this is the best way for Nigeria. I have utmost confidence that whoever emerges as the presidential flag bearer for APC, we will rally round the person.”

On whether he would contest for the presidential ticket of the party, Saraki said: “Very soon I will make my position on the issue of whether I will or will not contest the 2015 presidential election known in the next couple of weeks.

“I appreciate the demands that I have seen coming from different parts of the country on this issue. I believe that 2015 for a lot of us is all about Nigeria; it is about the sacrifices that we will have to make and we will be taking those decisions based on the necessary sacrifices.

“The key thing is that we must rescue Nigeria; we must put Nigeria in the right direction. Nigeria is not in the right and I think nobody’s personal ambition is too large for that.”

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     APC     National Executive Committee     General Muhammadu Buhari     Atiku Abubakar     Senator Bukola Saraki     PDP