APC chairmanship: Aspirants intensify lobby ahead of convention
Ahead of the March 26 national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), aspirants for the national chairmanship position of the party have continued to lobby for support of the party’s bigwigs.
The APC national convention was originally slated for February 26, but was last week moved to March 26. The shift in date, though has been kicked against by some members of the party, has provided the chairmanship aspirants the opportunity to reach out more.
About 12 chieftains of the party are jostling for the position among who are former governors, a serving minister, as well as serving and former members of the National Assembly.
Some of the aspirants are said to have the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Initially, it was said that the choice had been narrowed down to three of the aspirants, namely, Tanko Al’Makura (Nasarawa State), George Akume (Benue State) and Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger State).
Other remaining nine aspirants are former deputy national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Saliu Mustapha, former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator representing Niger East District, Mohammed Sani-Musa.
Others are former governors of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, Borno State, Kashim Shettima, Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, Sunny Moniedafe and Mohammed Saidu-Etsu.
But it would seem that the permutation has changed with the purported endorsement of Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State, as national chairman and Ken Nnamani, a former Senate president, as deputy national chairman, South.
Shortly after the meeting of the APC governors and other chieftains in Abuja last week Tuesday, Senator Adamu had met with governors of the North Central, including Yahaya Bello, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, whiched fuelled the permutation that he had indeed been anointed by the President.
But Ali Modu-Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State said he was not aware of any official statement by Buhari on endorsement of any particular candidate and zoning of the chairmanship position.
“Of late, I have been inundated by insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed a candidate for this all important position in our party’s leadership.
“I am in the race for the National Chairmanship position of our party APC because of my strength of character, capacity and competence. My intentions are clear and explicitly for public good rather than self-interest,” Modu-Sheriff said.
He further said, “As a loyal party member, I will abide by decisions of Mr President at any time he makes an official decision on zoning or endorsement of any particular candidate. I have unequivocal confidence in Mr President’s capacity to make the right choice for the growth of our party.
“I am totally committed to work with anyone/everyone to reposition our party towards actualising a resounding victory in 2023 general elections and beyond. Our guiding principle will be the party’s constitution and manifesto, and I will be committed to it.”
Mohammed Sani Musa, a serving senator and chairmanship aspirant in continuation of his lobby with leaders and stakeholders within the party, recently paid a courtesy visit to Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State governor, to seek his support.
Sani Musa, alongside members of his campaign team, was warmly received by the host, Governor El-Rufai.
He pledged to re-engineer the party if given the opportunity to lead the APC. He also emphasised the need for the party to have the right leadership, to enable it strategise and open for all Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general election and beyond.