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Grooming Buhari’s Successor: Day Pro-Acad got more than they bargained

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[files] President Buhari

With the recent call by some professional political jobbers on President Muhammadu Buhari to name and start grooming his successor for the 2023 Presidential election, it was clear that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) wants to stretch its luck too far.

Coming at a time when its victory at the recent 2019 election is being contested in court, the recourse to a discussion about the 2023 election cycle might have been programmed to achieve some hidden purposes.

It would be recalled that incumbent Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el Rufai, was about the first APC chieftain to fly the kite that President Buhari was in the best position to anoint or appoint the person to step into his shoes.

Although el Rufai dropped his clangor before the buildup to the 2019 general elections, the fact that he has continued to show interest in the office of President confirms how inclined the governor is to the belief that President Buhari would consider him.

Watchers of APC politics, especially the tenuous structure defined by varying cleavages, believe that those who seek President Buhari’s final word as to who becomes the presidential candidate of the party are apprehensive of what fate that could befall the party after in his exit.

Despite the giant momentum achieved by the fusion of erstwhile fringe opposition political parties into APC, the party has refused to jell into a cohesive platform. What could have sparked off the speculated implosion of the party was the last national convention, which came after the failed attempt to hold a mid-term convention.

But, in utter disregard for the party’s effusive promise of change, President Buhari’s acquiescence to nominating and imposing a candidate for the post of national chairman in the person of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, became the saving grace.

It however came out as a mere postponement of the evil day, because even after Oshiomhole’s emergence as national chairman, the internal contradictions in the party continued to rear their ugly heads in various ways.

From ferocious parallel congresses through the direct versus indirect primary selection methodologies; through the attempt by the national chairman to execute his solo effort at instilling party supremacy, the party continued to cringe and wobble.

Disputed Mandate, Stillbirth Cabinet
Notwithstanding the imperfections and divisions within the ruling party, it managed to snatch a disputed victory at the 2019 general elections. But, while the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continued to press home its argument that the party and its candidate in the presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, defeated President Buhari and APC, talks about the 2023 election came as a grave distraction.

Although some people blame President Buhari’s inability to constitute his cabinet earlier on the presidential election petition filed by Atiku and PDP, some APC chieftains insist that the ruling party has nothing to fear.

One of the optimists, Lauretta Onochie, who is President Buhari’s aide on social media, maintained that the legal challenge from Atiku and PDP is not strong enough to upturn the President’s four-year long mandate.

It could therefore be in a bid to ride on that sentiment that members of the Progressives in Academics (Pro-Acad), decided to fly their own kite by prompting President Buhari to avoid delays in naming and grooming his successor.

But apart from providing psychological retreat for the President, the Convener of Pro-Acad, Dr. Bolarinwa Bolaji, and his sponsors know full well that it is not Buhari’s job to name a successor.

And coming less than six months after inauguration, the call also tends to epitomise the mischief and intrigues that define APC politics. Pro-Acad succeeded in merely echoing the voices of their sponsors.

Echoing Southwest Leaders
By the tenor of their presentation, Pro-Acad seems to echo similar sentiments expressed by some Southwest APC leaders when they visited President Buhari. Although the group was described as Pa Ayo Fasanmi faction of the Afenifere, most of those on its delegation were chieftain of the ruling party.

Speaking during the meeting that fateful Tuesday, the leaders tried to set governance agenda for President Buhari through a presentation by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, asking for true federalism among four other sectoral requests, including security, education, youth employment, power supply and agriculture.

Those in attendance in addition to Durojaiye, were Bola Tinubu, Chief Segun Osoba, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Chief Kemi Nelson among others. In his speech, Durojaiye had stated: “We seriously recommend clinging to the spirit and letters of our federal constitution. This is one sure way of achieving the desired goals of unity even in diversity, mutual respect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of our constitution that is, ‘we the people.’

“We will be a greater nation if we sincerely practice true federalism, think and act as Nigerians rather than as champions of the smaller units we were born into. Our big size is an asset worthy of preservation…”

Some observers described the presentation as a dry run of campaign stuff, wondering if the agenda setting was in a bid to ensure that President Buhari does not perform abysmally to make the 2023 presidential election very challenging for the party (chieftain).

But, sensing the similarity of Pro-Acad’s demand to the one from the Afenifere faction, President Buhari declared: “A lot of our young people are taking things for granted. Imagine contesting elections three times and ending up in the Supreme Court, it takes a lot of conviction and hard work.

“But people take things for granted; they say I want to be the president. As if I just closed my eyes and opened and I got it…

“Succession, to me this is very funny, because if I did find anybody I will create more problems for him or her. Let those who want to be President try as much as I did. I believe those who are interested need to know that I tried three times and the fourth time I thank God and technology, PVC.”

The President seemed to have said so little, but his summations spoke volumes to the treachery and infighting which the 2023 presidential considerations is causing for the ruling party.

And to the busybody academics, they got more than they bargained for when the taciturn Buhari declared as a matter of fact: “I think you have more to do as intellectuals to make sure you correct Nigeria’s intellectual development, it is very important for the next generation.”

How far APC and its chieftains, especially those angling for the Presidency, would go in sacrificing governance on the altar of politicking would be seen as the Presidency battles with its disputed mandate ad challenges of setting up the Next Level cabinet.


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