APC presidential primary: Between the devil and the deep blue sea


The forthcoming presidential primary of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, will make or mar its chances of retaining the key to Aso Rock, M. A. Nababa writes

Either way, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in a fix over the outcome of its impending 2023 Presidential primary. Indeed, the party is in a dilemma as to whom to choose, between a Northerner where the votes are, and a Southerner where the person who can bring the votes is. The Northerner for now is the X or Y man and the Southerner is without doubt the Asiwaju, The BAT or as everyone knows, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Tinubu, like him or hate him, is a household name for a long time in Nigeria’s political lexicon. His political prowess and ingenuity came to fore in 2014 when he midwifed and cobbled a merger of a political party that swept off the roots of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general election of 2015. Hitherto, the PDP had held sway for 16 years as the ruling party of the nation.

Interestingly, he didn’t share in the spoils on the table, but retreated simply as a National Leader of the party; whatever that means. Although it was generally believed that he had placed his cronies in lucrative government agencies where he pulled the strings and milked the national cow.

President Buhari remained the major beneficiary of the merger and many conspiracy theories revolved as to a plan to let Tinubu succeed Buhari come 2023.  Indeed, there was the clandestinely attempted Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015 which was jettisoned on the ground of religious factors to respect and accommodate Christians in the process.

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But now the die is cast. 2023 is almost here, and APC is at a lost in respect of whom to field as its presidential candidate.

Atiku: A serial contestant from the PDP

On its neck already, the opposition PDP have settled for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Nigeria’s former Vice President (1999-2003) as its presidential aspirant.

The PDP in its wisdom, quickly and deliberately threw over board its earlier plan of zoning the presidency to the south and let it open to all contestants from each region, and eventually, a northerner in Atiku emerged. It was really to throw spanner in the works for the ruling APC.

By Monday, June 6, 2022, APC will have to commence the process to elect a flag bearer. The party has already mooted the idea of also throwing overboard its initial plan of choosing a southerner. It will most likely go on consensus to come up with a Northern candidate to slug it out with Atiku.

Tinubu: Will this be his turn?

If this happens, then a problem will arise, because the party would have shut out a major stakeholder in Asiwaju. His reaction will have great consequence on the fortunes of the party in the general election next year. And to go his way, may not be the best way out for the overall interest of the party.

Head or Tail, APC has boxed itself between a rock and a hard place!


M. A. Nababa

M. A. Nababa is an essayist with deep interest in education and history. He has written on several topical issues for decades. And he is the co-founder of Memorila.

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