Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a chieftain of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) Osita Okechukwu, has expressed support for the proposal for a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
The APC chieftain also refuted the claim by Senator Hanga that there was an agreement between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Lagos state governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu over succession in 2023.
Hanga, a former leader of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) had claim of an existing agreement between Buhari and Tinubu.
Speaking with newsmen Thursday in Abuja, Okechukwu said the proposal for a consensus candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections is a welcome development.
Okechukwu said: “As a member of the defunct CPC, I never heard of such an agreement and most importantly Mr President is not wont to or better put rarely enter 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, GCON as a replacement.”
On the proposal for a consensus candidate as canvassed by the party, Okechukwu said: “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.
“After our congresses and the National Convention, we will shock them (PDP) by bringing a consensus and an agreeable candidate that will fly the flag of the party come 2023. APC has no third term agenda like PDP. What we are doing now is to stabilise the party and not allow individual ambitions to derail President Buhari’s administration,” he said in responding to the claims of the PDP.”
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 3rd Term Agenda. Second, in my slightest imagination one doesn’t think any committee handling such delicate matter 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.
On whether Tinubu will still be the consensus candidate, Okechukwu said that “Tinubu is just an ordinary member of the APC and cannot by any stretch of imagination decide for the over forty million members of the APC.
“Who am I, an ordinary member to decide for the over 40 million membership of the APC. As a political scientist, all I fear is the Governor Bala Mohemmed PDP Committee’s report which recommended open contest, rather than rotation. It is a big albatross to rotation of president to the south.
“Albeit the PDP by throwing it open, is covertly plotting to harvest Buhari’s 12 million Vote-Bank. Indeed, a lot of people take it that PDP is tacitly waiting in the wings for APC to go south and they go north to quickly harvest the Buhari’s Vote-Bank, domiciled mostly in the north.”