Ahead of the national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), members of one of its legacy parties, the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) were in a dilemma over who to support between a former governor of Nasarawa state Tanko Almakura and a former deputy national chairman of CPC, mallam Saliu Mustapha.
This dilemma, according to sources who were in the defunct CPC with both Almakura and Mustapha, was as a result of chances and credentials of the two party chieftains.
While the former Nasarawa state governor was the only governor CPC had then, Mustapha is also said to have been a long standing ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was the leader of CPC.
The APC leaders argued that the Bola Tinubu-led defunt Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had produced both the interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and the first substantive national chairman, Chief John Oyegun, hence it is the turn of CPC to produce the next national chairman of the APC.
One of the sources who is of the CPC legacy party told our correspondent Monday in Abuja that “with the calibre of our people in the race for the position which we believe is ours this time, I can tell you that many of us are divided on who to back.
“Al-Makura enjoys the support of some of us who count on his antecedents as a former governor and his clout among his fellow former governors but Mustapha is a founding CPC member with a strong background in party administration and was a driving force in The Buhari Organisation (TBO).
“His support base among CPC members is one that cannot be dismissed especially as he seems to be a rallying point for many stakeholders within our group and also younger people in the APC”, he added.
According to the source, the reason CPC elements have narrowed it to Al-Makura and Mustapha is because of the belief that the position may be eventually zoned to the North-central.
Another source said: “Yes we have 3 CPC members who have indicated interest, Al-Makura from Nasarawa, Mustapha as you know is from Kwara and Barrister MB Mohammed from Taraba who may have been zoned out of the race.
“So we have those two from the geopolitical zone but we are concerned about two other contenders from the North-central, former Benue state governor George Akume and Senator Sani Musa from Niger who have their origins in ACN and ANPP respectibely, so we are keen on insisting that it is CPC’s turn to occupy that seat.
“We have good ground for this because the two other legacy parties have previously produced National Chairmen and none of our people is likely to seek the Presidential ticket after President Muhammadu Buhari.
It is however not clear if CPC elements in APC would eventually settle for a consensus candidate between Al-Makura and Mustapha.