A few weeks back, this column asked a rhetorical question about the 2015 elections. I return to the same theme today but with a specific focus on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidential election scheduled for February 14, 2015. Why is APC of special interest and not the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? First, the APC represents the best alternative we have in the land today to another four years of PDP and that’s why the party owes all Nigerians the scared duty to put the best candidate forward in next year’s presidential election.
The PDP being what it is had adopted a ‘consensus’ approach by making President Goodluck Jonathan its candidate for the election. Of course, an incumbent usually has what is called “the right of first refusal” in an election but with the way PDP is run, who would have even dared to contest a primary against Jonathan? Those who actually wanted to do so have been smart enough to leave the party so that they can further their ambition.
So that leaves us with APC as the only party can help any Nigerian with the ambition to unseat Jonathan. Please don’t mention the Labour Party or the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which a friend usually refers to as PDP external wings.
But the way the APC is going about the rather important exercise of picking her flag bearer should give all Nigerians serious concern especially those who might be looking forward to a titanic battle next year. The visit by former governor Bola Tinubu to former President Olusegun Obasanjo surely leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Pray, when did Obasanjo become a member of APC? Is it also not ironic that the delegation did not include John Oyegun, APC national chairman? To add a further kick in the mouth, Mr. Tinubu later told journalists that, “We’ve taken observation of his former boys who are running for presidency in our party, All Progressives’ Congress (APC), and what he (Obasanjo) has to say about them.” Let’s leave sociolinguists to determine the full import of the condescension in that statement as full-grown adults could be referred to as ‘boys’. By the way, a lesson for those Nigerians who fight themselves silly because of politicians. The same Tinubu once presided over Lagos State and his government took the Obasanjo-led federal government to court over the seizure of monthly allocations meant for the state. Anyway, we’ve always been told that only interests are permanent and not friends or enemies in politics.
The candidacy of former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, is something that will either make or mar APC. If fielded, APC is in a dilemma, and if not fielded, they are in dilemma too. Selling his candidacy will be a herculean task and again nobody is more positioned to help the party than Buhari. The retired general is a hot potato in the party’s hands. With his formal declaration scheduled for Wednesday, October 15, a gladiatorial battle is what will be witnessed in APC as the party picks its presidential candidate. With reports that Tinubu, and Senator Bukola Saraki are backing Buhari, the horse has left the stable and it appears nothing can be done to stop the man from Daura.
Where does this leave former vice president Atiku Abubakar? He is in a quandary and this in no way detaches from the wonderful work his campaign team is doing. Even if we ignored the gaffe of writing embassies in Nigeria about his intention to lead us, he has taken to social media to engage Nigerians, especially young ones, on his ambition. Though his party still prefers godfathers to determine its flag bearer.
We should also not forget Governor Musa Rabiu Kwankaso of Kano State who last week visited some states ostensibly for the usual ‘consultation’. His media handler, however, revealed what the man thinks of his own ambition saying “Gov. Kwankwaso was in Osun State in continuation of consultations regarding the pressure being put on him (to) vie for the presidency in 2015” on social media. So Mr. Kwankwaso is another reluctant candidate? Considering we have had as president someone who wanted to be a senator, another who actually wondered why some people were begging him to contest, another who wanted to rest and take care of his health, and another who never dreamt of the office, can’t we leave someone who has to be pressured into contesting out of this very important race?
Sam Ndah Isaiah is equally in the running even though I suspect he is the only one who thinks he can win the ticket but politicians are eternal optimists. Another serious issue is that APC had fixed December 2 as the date for its primary election, leaving the candidate with about nine weeks to campaign and sell the party’s programmes to Nigerians. Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan continues to enjoy media attention as a sitting president and the major opposition party still does not have a face to its campaign. I really wished APC would get it right and offer an alternative.