Bisi Akande, former interim chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says some northern elites had asked the party not to field Muhammadu Buhari as presidential candidate in 2015.
In his autobiography “My Participations”, Akande said some prominent royal fathers from the region were adamant that fielding Buhari for the election may create problems in the north.
The author added that former President Olusegun Obasanjo also asked leaders of the party not to go ahead with Buhari as its candidate.
He said the APC decided to review the opposition against Buhari, but decided to endorse him for the nation’s number one seat.
“It was apparent from the start that Buhari would be our choice for President. That was one of the bases for the merger,” Akande wrote.
“However, there were pressures from the elites, especially from the North, including royal fathers, piling pressure on us not to allow Buhari to be our presidential candidate.
“A prominent aristocratic leader from the North stayed several nights in Osogbo, persuading Governor Aregbesola to prevail on us not to field Buhari. He threatened that if we did, there would be trouble in the North.
“We also met Obasanjo and asked him to join us. He said that he would not join us but that he had his sympathy for us. He said he has decided not to join any political party since he left PDP. Behind the scene however, I understood he was pressurising some of our leaders not to use Buhari as our candidate.
“It got to a point when Bola Tinubu had to confront him thus: ‘It is not fair sending me Buhari. Buhari was a soldier and he was one of your junior officers in the Army. Why don’t you call Buhari and let him know how you feel about his intention to be President?’ I don’t know whether Obasanjo stopped at it. From the start, he did not want Buhari to be President.”
Akande further said what boosted the party’s chances at the elections was Buhari’s “enormous charisma” which he said could be compared to politicians of the first republic like Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and and Nnamdi Azikiwe.