As Muhammadu Buhari begins counting down to his final days in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, it can be said that the politicking has just begun.
Finding a suitable successor in less than two years could be daunting. However, the Caretaker Committee of the Ruling All Progressives Party (APC), led by the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, is doing its best to streamline the number of Presidential aspirants in the party to make the process less cumbersome.
An impeccable source who confided in The Street Journal said the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC has come up with three names that will slug it out at the Presidential primary elections.
These three special candidates, according to our sources, served as governors at one point in time in their political careers. When this newspaper pressed further, it was gathered that one of the potential flag-bearers is from the South-South of the country, the other is from the South-West and the last is said to be from the North-East region.
It is worthy to note that the caretaker committee, inaugurated in June 2020, following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC), has had its tenure extended twice for six months each and now indefinitely by the President himself.
Despite not having a definite date for the party’s convention, there has been a rave of mass defection to the APC, an indication that Buhari’s support for Buni-led caretaker committee has not ended in futility.
This strategy being used by the National Working Committee to choose a Presidential candidate could be a means of quelling existing tensions that have rocked the party over who will succeed Buhari; a development that has resulted in ligitations and counter litigations.
Also, selecting two Southerners and one Northern candidate as potential Presidential flag-bearers of the APC could be seen as a means to douse the ethnic and religious tension that has engulfed the country amid calls for restructuring and secessionists agitations.
However, Nigerians are not oblivious to fact that many of the decampees, especially governors from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) all have political intentions regarding 2023. While the offices they intend to run for is still not known, the question is, will they be sidelined and their hopes dashed?
So, how this strategy will play out is a question that begs an answer.
Other concerned APC members have seemingly expressed concerns about how President Buhari suddenly abandoned his delegatory style of leadership and has developed a keen interest in the affairs of the APC. It is even more interesting with the fact that activities related to the party no longer hold in the APC secretariat but Aso Rock.
In one of his recent interviews with Arise Television, Mr Buhari had hinted that he will never allow paper-weight politicians to succeed to him. According to him, anyone who believes he/she is capable of stepping into his shoes must first join the ruling APC. The implication of Buhari’s comment is that the door had been shut to other parties seeking to produce Nigeria’s next President in 2023.
The President said, “About succession, what this administration can do is to make sure APC lasts beyond this administration.
“We have started registration from ward to local government and to the state level. That way, the APC can know the number of members they have state by state and local government by local government so that by the time this administration goes, the legacy can continue.
“And that is the best way to go for the party and for the country.”
While giving more details about the zoning and succession plan of the APC, Buhari reiterated that the party will be the sole deciding factor.
“Shouldn’t we allow the party to decide, I just told you that we started from the bottom to the top. I told the acting chairman and a committee to give me the report by the end of the month on the convention they are going to conduct and then arrange general elections until 2023. All the elections.
“And we started this from bottom to the up, so that members of the party will be sure they are involved in decision making. Nobody is just going to sit in Lagos and tell them what to do. This is what we are arranging. Succession plan depends on the party. The party will sit and make its decision by the constituencies they won.
“So those who want to be president, better join APC,” Buhari said.
(The Street Journal)