- The most anticipated presidential primary election is upon us already as APC gets set to decide its torch bearer on Monday, June 6
- Notable names like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, and Rotimi Amaechi have been tipped as favourites to clinch the ticket
- Meanwhile, there are speculations that the party my resort to adopting the consensus approach with going to the polls
Expectations are high, the odds are all out as Nigeria awaits who will be the bannerman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the much anticipated presidential primary election slated for Monday, June 6 at the historic Eagle Square in Abuja.
Intriguing to say, the APC presidential primary election have been laced with a lot of controversies, tension, and suspense as the ruling party is yet to conclude on the next line of action in selecting its next torch bearer since President Muhammadu Buhari.
Political pundits and enthusiasts have given their input and forecast on what might likely be the outcome of the most anticipated presidential primaries in a very long while with the likes of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Rotimi Amaechi as the major personalities in pole position for the golden ticket of the party.
Here are the three likely outcomes to expect at the APC presidential primaries:
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Earlier in the week, President Muhammadu met with the governors of APC ruling states over the forthcoming presidential primaries.
In the meeting, the president read out a statement urging the state governors to support him in selecting his successor.
According to the statement he said:
“In keeping with the established internal policies of the Party and as we approach the Convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”
Reports have also confirmed that if there were to be a consensus candidacy policy at the convention, the flag bearer status will certainly be heading to the southern region.
According to a report by the Guardian newspaper, all northern governors of the APC in a statement agreed to support a southern flag bearer.
The statement reads:
“In the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.”
However, the boiling point and dilemma in all of this is that the major front runners, the trio of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, and Rotimi Amaechi are all from the southern region of the party.
The above brings many to wonder which one of these political heavyweights will be selected if ever there is a consensus.
The latest report by Legit.ng revealed that President Muhammadu favours the candidacy of Yemi Osinbajo as the consensus candidate of the party.
Some APC sources have told Legit.ng that the president may have hinted about who he will pick as his successor.
According to the sources, the use of the word 'continuity' by the president suggests he may settle for his deputy and Nigeria's vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Presidential sources believe this to be a direct reference to what has been the far-flung and widespread support the vice president has garnered in the last several weeks after he declared to run for president and then embarked on nationwide interactions with APC delegates.
The source who was present at the meeting added that the governors told the president they would embark on consultations following his stance at the meeting.
In the same vein, other reports have it that the president is not suing for a consensus candidate or zoning policy approach in selecting the flag bearer of the party.
APC primary: VP Osinbajo, Tinubu unwilling to shift ground, as southwest elders' consensus attempt fails
The outcome of the meeting as reported by the paper while quoting Abdullahi Adamu the national chairman of APC stated that the meeting did not discuss zoning rather Buhari advised that a consensus should be reached to reduce the number of aspirants.
From all indications of the recent reports, it is expected that the presidential primaries of the APC might head to the ballot.
Going by the ballot system, one name seems to be predominant on the lips of everyone, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has been regarded as a firm favourite to clinch the party ticket.
However, Tinubu’s only obstacle at the moment seems to be himself and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recently, Bola Tinubu visited delegates of the party in Abeokuta, Ogun state where he was involved in an outburst that led to him calling out the incumbent governor of the state, Dapo Abiodun and President Buhari.
While addressing delegates of the APC in Ogun, Tinubu boasted of how he made Dapo Abiodun the governor and that his influence brought President Buhari into power, stressing that it was his turn to become president of Nigeria.
The APC stalwart’s remark has since been greeted with criticism across various platforms, both on social media, the traditional media, and within the APC.
Some believe his statement might cost him the ticket and may have triggered a U-turn from some of his allies.
Most notably, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal in an interview with Arise TV described his statement about singlehandedly ascending Buhari as president as "an arrogant assumption."
In a report by the Nigerian Tribune, Lawal said Tinubu's statement is already been perceived in the North as a personal attack on President Buhari and could undermine his chances of winning Monday’s Presidential Convention.
" Sometimes it is very difficult to support a Yoruba person in national politics if you are not one.
“They have a way of making you regret your support because they eventually make you seem like a traitor to your own people.
“Now all these comments about Bola’s Yoruba presidency and his support of Buhari without which Buhari would not have been president is bullshit."
Meanwhile, information from other quarters have it that President Buhari's body language speaks volume as he does not favour the candidacy of Bola Tinubu. His recent outburst in Ogun state might also be a determining factor for the president to finally make his decision.
The underdog/ surprise candidate (Rotimi Amaechi)
In another development, a shocker at the APC presidential primaries can never be ruled out as it is imminent that one might occur.
The candidacy of former minister of transportation and ex-governor of Rivers state might come as a surprise to many, while in some quarters it might be perceived as the master stroke and secret weapon of President Muhammadu Buhari's silence all the while.
Going by popular opinion, Osinbajo, Tinubu and Ameachi are the major aspirants in pole position for the presidential ticket of the APC.
However, in all of these three aspirants, Amaechi seems to be the most experienced on the premise of leadership across all levels.
The 57-year-old Rivers state politician has served as a grass root politician, a lawmaker, a two term governor and as well as a former minister under the cabinet of President Buhari.
Going by this statistics, he has worked in an administrative role, ministerial role, and also in a legislative role. He has been widely regarded as the best performing minister in Buhari's government following an incredible milestone in infrastructural development in the transport system of Nigeria.
2023: Buhari speaks on how APC presidential candidate should emerge
Legit.ng had earlier reported that President Buhari broke his silence on the method of choosing the presidential candidate of the APC during the forthcoming presidential primary.
The president advised the APC governors to focus on the changing dynamics of the country and the expectations of Nigerians in electing a candidate.
He urged them to have victory as their major focus in the entire process, adding that the flag bearer must be someone who will give a sense of confidence to the masses.
Convention: Don’t be like PDP, Group tells APC ahead of presidential primary
Meanwhile, Legacy Transformation Initiative, a policy formulation, and analysis hub has lamented the inducement of delegates by Nigerian politicians as seen in the just concluded primary election held by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The non-partisan group called on the ruling APC not to toe the path of the PDP ahead of its convention.
It said it will be a stain on the reputation of the party if its delegates are induced monetarily as it was in the case of the opposition party.