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The hurdles before APC convention and primaries

The hurdles before APC convention and primaries
February 05
15:26 2022

BY ZAYYAD MUHAMMAD

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is facing two big hurdles that may mar or make the party — the national convention slated for February 26, and the presidential primaries for the 2023 elections.

These two events are not new to the APC, but are unique because of the ongoing scheming, intense horse-trading, ploys, and scrabble for ‘who gets what’ by all the interest groups in the party. This is normal in political parties and most common in Nigeria.

The February 26, 2022, national convention is critical because of the nature of the APC – a conglomerate made up of diverse interests and competing blocs. The 2023 presidency politics will be highly embedded in the February 26, 2022, national convention.

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All the blocs and interest groups will flex their muscles in order to have an upper hand in the national convention, so as to have confidence in facing the presidential primaries. Though in Nigerian politics, the formation of the national working committee (NWC) of political parties during the national convention is mainly a product of consensus rather than competition, interest groups will still try to have an upper hand.

All the interest groups know that Buhari’s position and sometimes that of the governors ultimately determines who gets what. This is also common in Nigerian party politics, though not a written rule, but it is generally accepted. The position of the president is the deciding factor. Buhari’s position will for sure be taken through the prism of the 2023 presidency, likewise the governors’.

The Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker/extraordinary planning committee (CECPC) is a kind of a blessing to President Muhammadu Buhari and many of the governors because the party has been sailing as they wished — a tactful strategy ahead of the 2023 presidency politics and to keep control of the party structures as well as not take any chance. Those benefiting from the CECPC will try to have a new party structure similar to the workings of the CECPC. For operating without a board of trustees (BOT) for a long-time, the APC committed a political error, if not corrected, its effects will emerge in the long-run

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There are some candidates from the north who have shown interest in leading the APC. All of them are strong candidates and are being promoted by many groups and bigwigs. They include Abdulaziz Yari, Tanko Al Makura, Ali Modu Sherrif, George Akume, Isa Yuguda, and Danjuma Goje the former governors of Zamfara, Nasarawa, Borno, Benue, Bauchi, Gombe states. Sani Musa, Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa state, and Salihu Mustapha from Kwara state. All these hopefuls are highly qualified but politics, consensus, and interests will determine the emergence of the new NWC of the APC. In fact, someone can get into the NWC of a political party even if he/she is not on the ground at the venue of the national convention, because at earlier stated, consensus often produces the members of the NWC.

The APC has no reason to retain presidential power in the north come 2023. So, most of its presidential hopefuls apart from Yahaya Bello are from the south — Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, Kayode Fayemi, Dave Umahi, Ben Ayade, Rochas Okorocha, Rotimi Ameachi, Orji Kalu, and one man- Samson Uchenna Charles is making strong waves among the youths in the north, if he throws his hats in the APC, he will pull a surprise because some of the 2023 presidential hopefuls in the APC are committing big political blunders – awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval and endorsement.

Buhari doesn’t have a history of such, and he will never do it. While one or two 2023 presidential hopefuls in the APC are ahead consolidating his old connections and networks and building new ones, many of them are dragging their feet concerning declaration and campaigning for the 2023 presidency; waiting for Buhari’s greenlight — an approval that will never come.

The forthcoming APC national convention will make or mar for the party if consensus fails and one interest bloc hijack the key positions because of the politics 2023 presidency. APC must align the membership composition of the NWC with its strategies for the 2023 presidential election. For instance, it must look for youths to fill some positions and that of the vice-presidential candidate in particular. However, at the end of the day, President Muhammadu Buhari’s input will definitely determine the direction of the convention and who gets what. This is not a written rule in Nigerian party politics but an acceptable one in party politics.

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Muhammad writes from Abuja. He can be reached via 08036070980 or [email protected]

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