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WINNERS & LOSERS: Buhari, Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi and governors after APC convention

WINNERS & LOSERS: Buhari, Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi and governors after APC convention
March 27
17:51 2022

It was an event that was contrived in some quarters not to take place, but after all the scheming — including a suspicious court injunction secured to subvert it — the national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was finally held on Saturday.

Prior to the day, not much drama was expected as most positions in the national working committee (NWC) — the organ that runs the day-to-day activities of the party — had been filled by consensus.

But this is politics where everybody cannot win. For every winner, there is a loser.

TheCable takes you through the key figures in the ruling party and what they might have gained, regained or lost during the convention.

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BUHARI PICKS THE CHAIRMAN

Although nominally a member of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the sitting president of Nigeria, is the de facto leader of the party. There is the theory of party supremacy and there is the reality of executive powers residing in a president in a developing country. The party leaders know the meaning of that. Still, despite all the “unity lists” flying around weeks ago, purporting to show the key national officers that Buhari wanted in place, he was only interested in one person and one position: Abdullahi Adamu as the national chairman of the party. That was all he asked for. That was all he got.

Verdict: Winner.

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OSINBAJO STILL WATCHING AND WAITING

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is clearly interested in succeeding Buhari in 2023, was just a floor member at the convention. He was not known to be pushing for any candidate. Although popular in the streets, he does not have much say in the party structure, which is where the presidential candidate will be determined. Clearly, Osinbajo will simply tag along with Buhari’s choices, knowing full well that his principal could make or mar his political future. TheCable understands that Osinbajo’s game plan is to remain a loyal deputy with the hope of getting Buhari’s endorsement.

Verdict: Jury still out.

TINUBU OUTDONE BY SOUTH-WEST GOVERNORS?

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Three key NWC positions were zoned to the south-west: national secretary, national vice-chairman and national youth leader. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state who has already declared interest in being the next president, was believed to be rooting for Ife Oyedele as national secretary, but the governors settled for Iyiola Omisore. He preferred Afeez Bolaji Repete as national vice-chairman (south-west) but Isaac Kekemeke got the nod. But Dayo Israel, the new national youth leader, was backed by him. Indeed, Tinubu wanted Tanko AlMakura, former governor of Nasarawa state, as chairman but Adamu got the job. However, Tinubu is said to be more focused on the presidential nomination convention, where delegates will call the shots, rather than the NWC which he thinks he does not really need to get the ticket.

Verdict: Jury still out.

ARE THE STARS ALIGNING FOR AMAECHI?

Although he has not openly declared his intentions, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation and former governor of Rivers state, has his eyes on the party’s presidential ticket. He is one of the very few ministers with unfettered access to Buhari and he almost always has his way with the president. This has fuelled speculation that he may be Buhari’s preferred choice in 2023. The convention did not do his ambition much harm, in that case. TheCable learnt that the choice of Adamu was his idea from the beginning, and he moved quietly to sell him to the president. Buhari, who was not known to be particularly close to the former Nasarawa governor, went Adamu’s way. Amaechi has been in a celebratory mood, although some insiders insist he may not be doing his calculations with the right formula.

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Verdict: Winner.

GOVERNORS GAIN ALL, LOSE ONE

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But for the national chairman position which they conceded at the last minute by asking other would-be contestants to withdraw for Abdullahi, the governors pretty much got everything else they wanted. They installed the national secretary, national organising secretary, the two deputy national chairmen, the vice-chairmen from their zones and the national legal adviser. “The governors grudgingly conceded the national chairman position to the president because he insisted Adamu was the person he wanted, otherwise AlMakura would have got it in an open contest. But that was about all that they conceded to the president. They drew up the lists for their respective states and zones and conceded only a few slots to non-governors,” an insider told TheCable. The governors are back in charge of the party.

Verdict: Winners.

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THE BUHARI ‘CANDIDATES’ OF OLD

Some ministers and associates of the president also tried to push some candidates through by lumping them with his endorsement of Adamu. In a list earlier circulated, Ken Nnamani, former senate president, was allegedly endorsed by Buhari for national deputy chairman (south), but Emma Eneukwu was the south-east governors’ choice. Nnamani lost out. Farouk Aliyu Adamu (north-west) was also purportedly endorsed by Buhari as national deputy chairman (north), but Abubakar Kyari from the north-east was finally settled for after the swapping of positions in the zoning.

Verdict: Losers.

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