Automatic Ticket For Buhari Causes Stir In APC
The agitation by the Buhari Group to make General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) the consensus candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be generating another controversy after overcoming the one generated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket as the camps of other aspirants are kicking against it.
A senior member of the party told newsmen at the weekend that the manoeuvres by certain APC forces to make the former military ruler the party’s presidential candidate for the 2015 poll without going through an election is not going down well with the supporters of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Senator Bukola Saraki and Atiku Abubakar camps.
The informed APC insider, who did not want to be named because he had no authority to speak, however, admitted that any attempt to impose Buhari on the party as the presidential candidate would destroy the foundation and credibility of the APC.
He said they were particularly disturbed by signals coming from the Buhari camp who insist that the emergence of Buhari as a candidate “is a settled matter.”
But in a swift reaction, a political ally of General Buhari clarified that their agitation was for the retired general to be a consensus candidate, adding that the group was not asking for an automatic ticket.
General Buhari began the controversy when, in an interview with Rariya (a Hausa newspaper), which was culled by Premium Times and People’s Daily, he publicly disagreed with the modified open direct primaries adopted by the APC.
The spokesman of the Buhari Organisation (TBO), Osita Okechukwu spoke further on that position, saying “Given all the indices, APC already has a de facto presidential candidate in the person of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). If you go through the constitution of APC, under Article 20, it says for nomination of candidates either for party offices or presidential election, you first explore consensus. If an agreement is reached through consensus, it has to be affirmed. If we go through that method, though we have a lot of good quality people in APC, I do not know of any person who the leadership of APC would tell Buhari to step down for.”
Our source also said that the former FCT minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i used his twitter handle “to take this rubbish to the social media”.
The source explained that such a phrase smirks of arrogance and disrespect for other democratic voices in the party.
According to this insider, disregarding democratic process in the choice of party presidential flag-bearer could drag APC into deep “and possibly irreparable political damage.”
He explained that the idea of “automatic adoption” of Buhari or any other aspirant for that matter is undemocratic and would be resisted.”
The APC source warned that party members should not be reduced to “slaves and sheepishly expected to sign on the dotted lines when confronted with the nauseating idea of automatic ticket.”
The APC insider said those scheming for “automatic ticket” for Buhari “are probably PDP fifth columnists who want to drive a nail into the APC coffin.”
He explained that APC is bigger than individual members and that its credibility and commitment to democratic values must not be sacrificed on the altar of satisfying anybody’s stubborn ambition.”
The APC source also said that at no time was any decision taken by the party leadership to give anybody automatic presidential ticket for the 2015 presidential ticket.
He noted that the success of the modified open direct primaries for choosing its governorship candidate in Adamawa for the October 11 election has given confidence to the party leadership that it is a preferred option for choosing its candidates for the 2015 elections.
It would be recalled that when the former five PDP Governors and Vice President were individually visited and advised to join the new party, each was assured that this was a free and fair territory.
“In fact the registration of the party members was the mark-off point for a new beginning, conferring equal membership on all party members. Where is this idea of “divine right to rule” by Buhari coming from?” he queried.
He advised the party leadership to come out openly to issue clarifications about the process to be adopted to produce the APC’s presidential candidate for the 2015 elections.
But speaking with our correspondent yesterday, a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) who begs for anonymity because of his position said, what they are asking for is withion the principles of democracy.
“What we are asking for Buhari is not automatic ticket but making him our consensus candidate and this is within the law. The Electoral Act allowed it and recently, some PDP leaders gathered at Owerri and were asking the party to make President Goodluck Jonathan the consensus candidate. What we like is to honour Buhari by making him the consensus candidate. We see nothing wrong in it. Those who are making noise about it are not being sincere.”
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