APC presidential ticket: It’s the governors’ game
…Why Fayemi May Emerge, the NGF Connection
Strong indications have emerged that not less than 18 of the APC governors elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) may be rooting for the presidential ambition of the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi in the build-up to the party’s special national convention scheduled for Tuesday.
This development may be in tandem with the decision of members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF across party lines that they must all work to ensure that one of them emerges the next President of Nigeria. Multiple sources close to the inner workings of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum reveal that this decision had been sealed amongst the governors as far back as early 2021.
The governors were said to have been unanimous on one thing, that only a serving governor who feels the pain of the shoes of the present lopsided fiscal federalism status quo the states are forced to wear can effect drastic changes. “This was what motivated the high number of Governors across party lines to join the presidential race. The Governors were also clear that only governor of the present set and not the 1999 set could understand the issues better and make sweeping changes,” a source clarified.
With the reality on the ground in Abuja, hours to the Special Convention of the APC, findings revealed that 18 out of the 22 APC Governors are keeping faith with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum pact. The Governors are said to be showing deep understanding with three of their colleagues. One governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State is said to share a political umbilical cord with his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The second is Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State who shares biological ties with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Fayemi is, in fact, said to be preaching this tradition of understanding amongst his colleagues and has maintained a very cordial relationship of mutual respect with Sanwo-Olu and Oyetola respectively despite their helpless positions.
Another Source disclosed that, unlike the Governors’ disposition towards Sanwo-Olu and Oyetola, many of them are not comfortable with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State for departing from the agreed path. Another Source close to the Progressive Governors’ Forum also hinted that “contrary to the popular notion that Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno is with the Tinubu camp, he will break ranks with his godfather, Kashim Shettima and deliver the Bornu State delegates to Fayemi when push comes to shove.”
It would be recalled that Governor Babagana Zulum reminded Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in clear terms when the latter visited the State to solicit the support of Borno State delegates that he would do nothing but what President Buhari wants him and the State’s delegates to do when the time comes.
More authoritative Sources even outside of the Governors’ Forum confirm that Fayemi has been able to align 18 out of the 22 APC governors behind his presidential ambition. A Presidency Source also disclosed that, to the delight of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Fayemi is said to have displayed exemplary leadership and discretion in the management of his Presidential ambition thus far. According to him, “while many of the other Presidential aspirants made grand entries into some of the States they visited under heavy media spotlights, Fayemi has shown that his PhD degree in War Studies is not just academic attainment. He has held far more strategic and productive meetings with political and traditional leaders across the country than any other aspirant in this race. Like they say in war planning, never notify the enemy of your movement.”
Another member of the APC Progressive Governors’ Forum who also spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity also said, “Fayemi’s meeting with the governors is in continuation of the engagements he had had with them in the past and that the recent meetings were at the instance of the governors, who wanted assurances on a number of issues.”
“We are very optimistic about Fayemi’s chances and in the next couple of hours, many of the other governors on the sideline would come on board. We believe that some of the governors who are also aspiring would queue behind Fayemi.”
He further said: “Many governors have already pledged their support to Fayemi. They have also reiterated their stance that it is their collective decision for a governor to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari. With the support of 18governors, Fayemi is expected to put up a strong fight for the presidential ticket of the APC.”
“Fayemi’s choice is the least problematic for President Buhari because the governors control the delegates and will always direct them to put the vote behind the President’s anointed candidate. It is easier for the President to ask the governors to vote for one of their own than anyone outside that fold. That is the type of sense of solidarity amongst the governors,” the source explained.
As a follow up to the Saturday night meeting of the South West leaders at the residence of former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba aimed at persuading all the other aspirants on the need to agree on a consensus candidate at the micro zoning level, indications have emerged that another meeting has been scheduled for 8 pm on Sunday at the same venue to enable the South West to present a common front at the follow-up meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari scheduled for 10 pm same day. It is however not clear if any of the aspirants would agree to step down for the others.
Adeyemo, a publisher and public affairs analyst,wrote in from Abuja.