2015: APC Throws Presidential Ticket Open
National chairman of All Progressives Congress, Chief John Oyegun, has said the party’s presidential candidate for the 2015 general election would emerge from an open contest where all interested aspirants, irrespective of geopolitical zone, will compete in a free and fair atmosphere.
Oyegun, in an interview said: “As regards the presidency, we have said that any person from any part of the country can contest, but we also know that as at today there are areas that are least likely to do so.”
At present, those who seem to have signalled their willingness to vie for the opposition party’s presidential ticket include former military Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, ex- Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and newspaper publisher, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah.
Popular permutations within the party, however, tend to favour Buhari, who was the candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change at the 2011 presidential election.
But Oyegun said APC did not intend to shut out anybody from the contest. He said the paramount issue for the party was to get a good and popular candidate who could lead it to victory and ensure that the aspiration of Nigerians for good governance was met.
He also indicated that the choice of the party’s candidate will be based on reality and what would work for the party in its quest to defeat PDP in 2015.
“It is still a possibility,” the APC chairman said regarding how the presidential candidate would be picked, “if anybody feels strongly about it and the party feels that that is the candidate that will help us win the election, whether in the case of presidency or vice presidency, we will quickly rearrange every other thing to fall in line. Our target is to win the election in February next year, and salvage this country.”
He said, “For example, it will not be wise for anybody from the South-south to say he is vying for APC presidential ticket. I say this because I am from the South-south.
“Of course, there are already known faces itching to fly our party’s flag, very prominent politicians. Although, they may not have commenced campaigns, but they have made known their intentions publicly. It is not for us to preempt anything. It is for them to inform Nigerians at the appropriate time. But we in the party know that there are at least four people already running for the presidential ticket.”
On the decision of the party leadership to go to the electoral court over the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State, Oyegun said, contrary to interpretations in some quarters, APC did not intend to seek the invalidation of the victory of Mr. Ayo Fayose, the PDP candidate. He said the party wanted to stop the unconstitutional use of the security forces to intimidate party members and voters.
“We want to call the attention of the public and the judicial system to this travesty of the constitution, which should not be repeated. There has to be a level playing ground if we are to have a free and fair election. We want to plead with the media to make that distinction very clear,” Oyegun said.
He added, “There was a great unconstitutionality in what the federal government did during the last Ekiti governorship election, which put our members and supporters at a terrible disadvantage. We do not want it repeated in the Osun election.
“We will depend on the pressure from the media and the public to ensure that nothing of such is repeated in both Osun election and subsequent ones. That is why we have gone to court to draw a limit to such actions regarding what is acceptable during the run-up to an election. We are trying to be law-abiding and we are praying that the federal government, too, will respect the law and to do the needful.”
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