Buhari’s speech: Confusion hits APC over primaries

Hope of members of Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress(APC) expecting a presidential primary election appears to have been dashed as President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his desire to choose his successor according to the constitution of the party.

President Buhari gave this hint on Tuesday at a meeting he had with governors under the umbrella of Progressive Governors Forum at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He affirmed that going by the internal policy of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), “continuity” has been adopted as a succession plan ahead of the party’s convention starting June 6, 2022, where the presidential candidate of the party will emerge.

Going by his antecedents, President Buhari is most likely to choose his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN as the next leader of the party and President of Nigeria. In 2019, everyone had thought that he was definitely going to drop Osinbajo as his running mate. Even members of his kitchen cabinet led by his former Chief of Staff, the late Abba Kyari had concluded plans on another candidate, only for him to send nomination forms to the Osinbajo, less than 48 hours to the conclusion of submission of forms.

At the meeting, President Buhari appealed to the APC governors to support him as he is about to unveil his anointed candidate, who would fly the flag of the party at the general election in 2023.

This was part of the highlights of another meeting the President had with APC governors, including the party’s Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, in what is considered the strongest hint yet that the President will soon endorse his Vice President.

The President reportedly said: “I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”

He explained that already APC has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first term Governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second term Governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.

“As we approach the Convention, I appeal to all of you to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community. Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of a candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”

Observers said in talking about how the party has encouraged first term Governors to go for a second “the President urged for consistency in choice of the party’s flagbearer and also hinting on his preference for continuity.

President Buhari therefore told his audience to expect a stronger and more firm leadership from him as he commences his last year in office. “The transition processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful Political Parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes. Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.”

“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the Party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the Party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner;

“Such leadership is required so that the Party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the center, holds the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gains an additional number of states at state levels”, he concluded

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