With the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) timetable for activities leading up to the 2023 elections rapidly approaching, forcing the All Progressives Congress (APC) to take a rapid-fire approach to its presidential primary, the presidency has yet to take a position on who should win the party’s presidential ticket.
According to sources, President Muhammadu Buhari is still analyzing how presidential hopefuls are engaging party stakeholders on the presidential ticket battle, as well as comments from party faithful and the general public on who looks to be the popular option.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos State governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ebonyi State governor Dave Umahi, former governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, and Senate majority whip Orji Uzor Kalu are among those who have expressed interest in the race so far.
Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, and Emeka Nwajibua, the Minister of State for Education, are among others anticipated to announce.
According to sources, the party’s presidential primary would most likely be held on May 30/31 and that President Buhari is yet to publicly endorse any of the candidates vying for his job.
“The president has yet to open up on who is his favored contender at the moment,” a top aid told our correspondent last night.
Another solid presidential source told this publication on condition of anonymity that the president looks to favor his deputy, Osinbajo, who appears to be the popular option, which is why the vice president was courageous enough to proclaim his ambition to become president.
“You are aware that a deputy to either a president or a governor declaring to run for his principal’s office is unique in the country’s political history. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would not have made his announcement without his boss’s approval. Despite the fact that Buhari has not stated so explicitly.” The anonymous source said.
Recall that President Buhari refused to announce the identity of his intended successor in January this year, citing concerns about the safety of such a person.
“It is (a) secret,” he simply remarked in response to a question about who his favourite candidate is.
“I wouldn’t say because if I did, he may be eliminated.” “I’d best keep it,” the president continued, a wry look on his face.
If the results of the party’s national convention is anything to go by, President Buhari’s leanings are expected to impact the outcome of the next presidential primary.
Meanwhile, high-level politicking, horsetrading, and conniving is taking place within the party in order for the consensus choice to be accepted, as it was in 2019, when only Buhari emerged as the consensus candidate as an incumbent.
Those who reject the consensus proposal argue that, because the incumbent will not be on the ballot, the party should organize a presidential primary, as it did in 2015.
Meanwhile, hopefuls are rushing from pillar to post in order to scale up talks for the country’s top job, including last-minute encounters with key party figures.
The APC stated on Friday that the National Executive Committee (NEC) will convene for the first time after the national convention on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
The emergency NEC meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, is anticipated to finalize plans for the party’s presidential primary, pending NEC clearance.