From Ejike Chinedu, Lagos
The All Progressive Congress is set to conduct its National Convention on Wednesday for the purpose of picking the Presidential candidate that will challenge President Goodluck Jonathan in February next year’s presidential election.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed said the choice of having the convention in Lagos was after thorough considerations of available options. He said that after some cities were knocked off by unavoidable setbacks, the planning committee was left with Benin and Lagos. According to Lai Mohammed, Benin was discovered not to have enough facilities to accommodate about 8,000 delegates expected for the conference.
There are indications that as at Tuesday afternoon, many of the delegates are already arriving. The aspirants, State governors and other members of the National Leadership of APC were holding series of meetings to review strategies. An aide to a governor from the South South Region told HOMELAND NEWS that her principal will be meeting with delegates for the greater part of Tuesday.
The highpoint of the maiden national convention of the APC will be the election of the man that will tackle President Goodluck Jonathan in the Presidential election next year. From inception, APC has not pretended about its determination to form the government by May 2015. Political watchers believe that President Jonathan can have a smooth sail to victory if APC puts the wrong foot forward in the election of their candidate.
At the last count, five eminent Nigerians are vying for the ticket of the party. But realistically, most Nigerians see a tough battle between two.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar enjoys wonderful loyalty from some political elites but is not as much connected to the grass roots. Out of all the aspirants, Atiku seems to have the better knowledge of the real challenges of all the sectors of the Nigerian state. In addition to that, he has a verifiable solution to most of the issues perhaps because the former Vice President has around him some the best heads that can be found in the country . But will this translate to votes at the convention?
Not many have forgiven the Turaki Adamawa for switching party allegiance from the PDP to the AC, back to PDP and off again to join the new party APC.
Former Head of State, Mohammadu Buhari is the closest contender for the ticket. Having contested and lost the Presidency in the past three attempts many Nigerians had expected the General to take a back seat and play the “god father”. He has been accused of many things including religious fundamentalism. But those who support him are always quick to defend the Katsina state born soldier turned politician. They say that Nigerians have been unfair to General Buhari. They claim that the former Head of State is one of the most detribalized citizens of the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians if not millions believe that General Buhari is directly or indirectly connected to the Boko Haram insurgents. They claim, without proof though, that the General promised to make the country ungovernable if President Jonathan won the 2011 elections.
What no one has been able to take away from Mohammadu Buhari is that he is a few meters more upright than most Nigerian politicians. He is believed to be the only one who can at least reduce the level of corruption in the country. Those who love him say he is the only aspirant that cannot be tagged in Naira and kobo. Because every passing day highlights Nigeria’s deer need of a commander in chief to will take charge and quit excuses, General Buhari’s ascendancy had been on the rise.
Other aspirants: Sam Nda Isaiah, Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibrahim Kwankwaso will not a bad outing but may not make much impact to affect the result of the primary.
There are those however who say that Gov. Kwankwaso will perform better that Atiku Abubakar on the convention’s result sheet.
Other major interests at stake are those jostling to become the “number 2 man”. Some serving governors are reported to be top on this list. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo and Rochas Okorocha of Imo state.
Whoever that emerges as the flag bearer of the APC will do a whole lot more than telling tales in convincing Nigerians on why President Jonathan should be jettisoned in favour of a new government.