APC Begins Calculations For 2019
AS the All Progressives Congress, (APC) grapples with the challenges of personnel selection and zoning of principal officers of the National Assembly to form the next federal government, indications have emerged that considerations for the 2019 presidential election are affecting the stands of major players.
The Guardian investigation reveals that leading members of APC including the Fourth Republic Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governors of Kano and Rivers State, Engineer Rabiu Kwankwaso and Rotimi Amaechi are all engaged in the political pantomime with eyes on 2019.
A reliable insider confided in The Guardian that though the APC national convention threw up Kano State Governor in the second position, there seem to be an understanding between the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku over the 2019 presidential slot.
The source, a former national officer of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), disclosed that Buhari has betrayed through body language his intention to do just one term in office stressing, “in consequence these prominent players in our party, the APC, are scheming to position themselves or their proxies for the ticket in 2019.”
He added that the decision by Buhari to delegate the former Vice President to accompany Agricultural Minister, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, to lobby South African President Jacob Zuma, was not only to show solidarity for Adesina on his candidacy for the African Development Bank presidency but also assure Atiku of support.
“But the plot by those who want to sideline Atiku from the APC ticket is responsible for the effort to bring Buhari’s friend, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, on board in the incoming government.
This people believe that if Kingibe comes into the picture, it would be hard for Atiku to pick the presidential ticket of APC in 2019,” he stated, adding that placing Kwankwaso second in the APC primaries was part of the plot to frustrate Atiku.
He said that the sudden attention being given to the North East for the Senate presidency was ostensibly to pave way for Senator Ahmad Lawan to garner national clout and prepare him for eventualities in 2019, adding that Atiku has asked his loyal senators-elect within APC and PDP to side with Senator Bukola Saraki for the Senate top seat.
The Guardian gathered that concern for 2019 is also playing out in South East over the choice of who occupies the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) where former Governor of old Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Senator Chris Ngige are possible candidates.
When APC stakeholders visited the President-elect, Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, while handing over the letter signed by the stakeholders, which listed three potential appointees to the office of SGF, told Buhari, “my people have asked me to present this letter to you and that you consider the content.”
But while Onu circulates the impression that the office of SGF was his for the taking, Okorocha feels that the position of SGF was demeaning for a former presidential aspirant and eminent Igbo leader in the stock of Onu, a sentiment which some interpret as the bourgeoning rivalry between the Imo Governor and Onu for the 2019 presidential race.
As Tinubu courts North East support, having worked for Tambuwal’s emergence as Speaker in 2011, opposition to Muslim-Muslim ticket is said to have sent him in search of a Northern Christian with whom he could pair to take over from Buhari.
A member of Kano state executive council who did not want to be mentioned told The Guardian that Senator-elect Rabiu Kwankwaso and Amaechi are waiting on the wings to fly the flag of APC in 2019 adding that APC would reciprocate Kwankwaso’s gesture of support especially in the appointment of former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as the Emir of Kano after a turbulent exchange with the presidency.