The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the North-west political zone has declared that despite the opposition within and outside the party, presidential candidate of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu will emerge victorious at the forthcoming election.
APC National Vice Chairman, (North-west) Mallam Salihu Moh Lukman said although certain individuals are indifferent to the aspiration of Tinubu but the former Lagos state governor will win.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Tuesday in Abuja, titled “Electoral Contests and Public Expectations: Matching Hopes with Realities” the APC chairman revealed that Tinubu was not in the list of the favoured aspirants to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari during the party’s presidential primary in Abuja.
The former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and member of the APC National Working Committee said the plan to pick a favoured successor for Buhari started in April 2022 with individuals whom he claimed were non card carrying members of the party as masterminds of the plot.
Lukman who listed Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele and former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan as their favoured choices further disclosed that incumbent Senate President, Ahmad Lawan was picked as fall back option to court the sentiment of the North.
“It may also be important to remind Nigerians that the scheming around emergence of a so-called consensus candidate was ridiculously stretched beyond the APC to include people like former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. These were never members of the APC. But with the active collaboration of some influential people outside the APC such as Chief Nduka Ogbaigbena, publisher and owner of Thisday Newspaper and Arise Television, some sophisticated mobilisation of so-called ‘hundred eminent businessmen, political, media and civil society leaders, including 14 current governors, 13 former governors as well as three former senate presidents’ commenced around April 2022. Gradually, this scheming shifted and was entrenched within APC. By May 2023, when the party began to sell its nomination forms to aspiring candidates, forms were purchased by some APC leaders for former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
“Eventually, when these schemers couldn’t succeed in popularising both former President Jonathan and Mr. Emefiele as possible contenders to emerge as consensus Presidential candidates for APC, the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan was recruited and promoted. It is on record that Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, on the eve of the Convention that elected Asiwaju Tinubu as the Presidential candidate of the party, announced to NWC members that Sen. Ahmed Lawan was the consensus presidential candidate of the party. Members of the NWC together with Progressive Governors rose against that move and again thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari, the contest for the Presidential candidate of APC was thrown open and Asiwaju won with a wide merging.
“Part of the dummy that was promoted within the APC to attempt to popularise the choice of a Northerner, Sen. Ahmed Lawan as a consensus candidate was that since PDP had elected Alh. Atiku Abubakar, a Northerner as its Presidential Candidate, we needed to also elect a Northern so that we can win the votes of Northerners. This is completely inconsiderate of the popular agitation for power shift in the country. It is also insensitive of the potential instability that the choice of another Northerner emerging as President of the country could cause. Ahead of the APC National Convention, APC Governors from the North had already declared their opposition against a Northerner emerging as APC Presidential candidate.”
Corroborating the claim of Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai on coordinated plot by forces in the Presidency to frustrate the APC presidential candidate, the National Vice Chairman, North-west of the party maintained that Tinubu would ultimately win the election.
“Of course, there are forces within the APC that are also not comfortable with the possibility that Asiwaju Tinubu will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Schemers that failed to produce neither Mr. Emefiele or former President Jonathan or Sen. Ahmed Lawan as consensus candidate of APC have unleashed Mr. Emefiele’s so-called cashless policy to damage the APC and the candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu. But like they failed in the case of consensus presidential candidate, they are also failing in their intrigues to damage the APC and the candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu. Like Asiwaju Tinubu emerged as the Presidential candidate of APC despite their machinations, Asiwaju Tinubu will also become elected as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God willing.”
Lukman said the record of commitment to Nigerian democracy, party building and capacity of the presidential candidate of the party was unparalleled when compared to other candidates in the forthcoming election.
He said democracy was beyond periodic elections; but a daily affair, adding that since the formation of APC in 2013, the struggle to build the APC as a democratic, progressive and accountable institution had been a priority agenda.
Lukman said: “Looking at the Nigerian political landscape and compared to all the other parties and candidates for the 2023 Presidential elections, APC’s and Asiwaju Tinubu’s record of commitment to Nigerian democracy, party building and capacity is unparalleled.”
Lukman added: “Meeting public expectation is about being accountable, which is beyond elections. The candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu therefore is beyond the 2023 elections; it is about matching the hopes of Nigerians to develop our country and the reality of being faced with the challenge of building the foundational institution of every democracy, which is the political party. That is the founding vision of APC, it remains the pillar of every electoral contest in APC since 2015, and it shall remain so!.”
The party chieftain noted that as Nigerians move closer to February 25, 2023, which is the day when the nation would go to polls to elect President and National Assembly members, the public debate was all about possible winners and losers.
Lukman stressed that understandably, most Nigerians are obsessed with the issue of proving that their preferred candidates would win the elections, but unfortunately, the dominant approach in the debate was the old antagonistic disposition, which reduces electoral contests to a competition between the good and the bad.
He stressed that consequently, Nigerians blindfold themselves into a game of wit, which overlooked the obvious limitations and shortcomings of chosen candidates, while candidates that are not chosen are damaged, if not criminalised and in the process, respect is completely lost.
The party chieftain stressed that it could be argued that this is the global reality, but added that there was the need to elevate electoral contests beyond the game of wit.
“Once electoral contests are reduced to a game of wit, prospects for democratic development risks being inhibited. One of the problematic issues of reducing electoral contests to game of wit is that, by commission or omission, Nigerians tend to take for granted the hard earn successes that have been recorded over the years and throw up some fantasies around candidates who’s only commitment to democracy and political development of the country is limited to the extent that they are on the ballot for election,” Lukman said.