AS the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, holds its national convention today, President Muhammadu Buhari’s body language regarding his ‘anointed’ successor is causing ripples in the party.
This is different from the party chairmanship position where he made his choice clear and asked members to work it out through the consensus approach. Although the Presidential party primary election is still weeks away, the President has refused to make his interest on his successor known to anybody, his closest loyalists included.
Of recent the party has been faced with leadership crisis and many knotty issues. Two of the major brain cracking issues are the choice of APC’s national chairman; and President Buhari’s likely successor.
Although President Buhari and APC stakeholders agreed recently that in 2023 the Northern and Southern parts of the country should swap positions, which means the South should produce Buhari’s successor, the matter is still raising dust in the party.
The North will produce the National Chairman of the APC, today since the position has been zoned to the North-Central and former Nasarawa State Governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has emerged as consensus candidate. Adamu is Buhari’s preferred candidate for the APC top job. The last national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is from the South.
Battle for APC presidential ticket
Now, many leaders of the party from the South and North are angling to succeed President Buhari. They include APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Ebonyi State Governor, Engr Dave Umahi; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; and Rev Moses Ayom.
There are speculations of moves to draft immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, into the race.
The President’s perceived reticence and refusal to indicate the direction he is looking at for his possible successor, have worsened apprehension in the party.
As it is, “President Buhari has refused to show interest on who will succeed him. He has not anointed anybody and has not shown any indication that he will do so, at least for now,” a Presidency source said.
President Buhari had said in a TV interview recently that the issue f his successor was not his business before adding that if he named the person, the preferred choice might be eliminated.
One of our sources said “he just made that comment to answer the question and not that there was anybody he had in mind.”
The source further said that he was not ruling out Buhari later showing interest on who succeeds him but was blunt in saying that “for now, he has not and has never given any sign he will.”
One Northern governor, who is very close to the President confirmed that Buhari has not “shown interest on who will succeed him although he prefers the party chairman to come from the North-Central which indicated APC’s Presidential candidate may go South.”
An aide to a governor very close to the President corroborated this. Said he: “Our governor has even pressed him to show direction on who will succeed him to reduce the tension the issue is generating in the APC. You can see the heat that the battle for the national chairmanship generated until the President put his foot down.
We wanted him to indicate his anointed successor so that we can begin to plan early and begin mobilisation. Our principal found out that the President was not yet considering anybody. If there was somebody the President has in mind, our governor would be among the first to know. Right now, there is nobody.”
Games being played by presidency cabal
According to the source, some members of the cabal in the presidency are misleading some presidential aspirants that President Buhari was supporting them.
“I pity such aspirants because they are being taken for a ride. They will be disappointed after spending their money on a wild goose chase,” the source added.
Indeed, a minister told Saturday Vanguard that as of now no one knows Buhari’s views on his likely successor.
In response to reports of party founders’ unwritten agreement at the formation of the APC in 2013 to cede power to the South-West in 2023, the minister said: “That is the feeling in some quarters. It is not true but even if it is true it is difficult to tell if Baba would support a South-West candidate to succeed him.”
Those who won’t succeed Buhari
“President Buhari is very taciturn. No human being can tell where Baba’s thought is. I don’t know who will succeed him but I know those who will not succeed him.
“The question of President Buhari’s likely successor is a major issue. It is germane. That is why the next national chairman has to be 100 per cent loyal to the President for the President to have his preferred choice as the presidential candidate of the APC. If the chairman is not loyal before you know it another candidate will emerge.”
But all their permutations in APC are hinged on their hope to win the Presidential election which the opposition party, PDP, has vowed to wrestle from them.
Uzodinma to supervise APC convention… heads technical committe
As the national convention of the All Progressive Congress (APC) gets underway in Abuja, the imo state GOVERNOR, Senator Hope Uzodinma is to head the technical committee to oversee the conduct.
Senator Uzodinma is heading 34 other eminent party leaders to monitor and supervise the convention.
In a letter addressed to the governor, the chairman of the Caretaker committee and Extraordinary convention Mala Buni informed Senator Hope Uzodinma that his committee is responsible for the smooth conduct of the convention.
The Imo state GOVERNOR was further informed that he was selected as the chairman based on his track record of service and commitment to the party.
According to the letter” Your selection is in consideration of your track record of integrity and firm commitment towards the ideals and development of our great party”
While the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu is the secretary of the committee,other members include the governor of Nasarrawa state,Abdulahi Sule, Justice Minister,Abubakar Malami and Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.
Uzodinma and other members of the committee have since resumed duties in Abuja.