ABUJA— There were indications, yesterday, that the newly-registered All Progressives Congress, APC, might have run into a political storm over who to field as its presidential candidate in the 2015 election.
Vanguard gathered that while the party is seriously considering a younger but popular northern politician to fly its presidential flag, one of the founding leaders of APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), has said that he would not step down for any other.
The decision by Buhari to contest again in 2015 is said to have unsettled key leaders of the party, who are reported to have agreed in principle to concede the presidential slot to younger members of the party.
A Senator, on the platform of APC, told Vanguard in Abuja that the new party was taken aback by the former Congress for Progressive Change, CPC’s presidential candidate’s decision to jettison a gentleman agreement and run in 2015.
The lawmaker, who is a ranking officer in the National Assembly, told Vanguard that the former leader’s ambition was at variance with an earlier understanding that neither Buhari nor Asiwaju Tinubu, who are regarded as the principal promoters of APC, would run for any elective office in order to give the new party the ‘semblance of a new beginning.’
The lawmaker said: “Our earlier thinking was that the two leaders (Buhari and Tinubu) should provide leadership for the new party and groom an acceptable candidate that will beat Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan, because from all indications, PDP will present him.
“By our calculations, a younger and vibrant politician should run as our candidate so as to give PDP a good fight.
“But from the way things are, we are stuck between telling Buhari, outright, not to run and allowing him to continue with some ripple effects coming our way later.”
The source confirmed that APC was already working on the possibility of drafting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, into the new party with a view to presenting him as the party’s candidate in 2015.
He said some APC leaders were working on Tambuwal because of his age, acceptability across party lines and the fact that he hails from the North-West with the highest voting population in Nigeria.
However, former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct CPC, Rotimi Fasakin, said on Tuesday that there was no time Buhari entered into any agreement with anybody not to run as a presidential candidate in 2015.
Fasakin said: “Nobody can stop the former head of state from testing his popularity at APC’s presidential primary.”
Fasakin described the purported arrangement whereby Buhari and Tinubu were made to jettison whatever ambitions they had as a ruse.
He said: “The said arrangement is mere propaganda to stop Buhari from testing his popularity again in 2015. But I can tell you that it will not work.
“Let me tell you, come 2015, General Buhari will participate at the APC presidential primary and nobody can stop him. I repeat, he will contest and no one can stop him from doing so.”