North Woos TY Danjuma for APC Presidential Ticket
The newly registered All Progressives Congress has begun moves to draft a former Minister of Defence (retd.), General Theophilus Danjuma, into the 2015 presidential election race, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
It was learnt that the North had foreclosed the possibility of getting the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential ticket with President Goodluck Jonathan’s grip on the party.
Investigations showed that the North had shifted its focus to the newly registered APC.
A source familiar with the permutations of the northerners confided in our correspondent that the region was desperately looking for a candidate, who could unite its people, who had been divided by religions.
He said, “Unlike in the First Republic when the late Saudana of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, was around, the North is divided. Some northern leaders reason that as part of efforts to reunite the region, Muslims must be ready to concede the Presidency to the Christian North. We are zeroing in on T.Y.Danjuma.”
It was, however, gathered in Abuja, on Thursday, that a final decision had yet to be taken because consultations were still on-going.
Another source in the APC said that the move to make Danjuma run on the APC platform had started creating discomfort in the party. He said, “What is happening now is really worrisome.
“We understand that the game plan is for the merger partners in the (defunct) CPC to produce the presidential candidate while the Action Congress of Nigeria is to produce the Vice Presidential candidate.
“General Buhari is still very much interested but some elements in the North with the active support of Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, are looking towards TY Danjuma.
“The thinking is that he will have greater national appeal and he is perhaps the only person who Buhari can step down for, because of the tremendous respect he has for him.
“They are considering the option of co-opting him into the APC, using this window to give him a platform to challenge Jonathan, who appears almost certain to run on the PDP platform.”
Reacting to this scenario, the Spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said nothing should be ruled out.
According to him, since the North is desirous of providing better leadership for the country, an accomplished Nigerian of general Danjuma’s standing would not be a bad idea.
Abdullahi said, “We (the Northern Elders Forum) believe that the North should produce the President otherwise, the President of Nigeria in 2015 should be of northern extraction.
“Our position has been consistent that a suitably acceptable good candidate for the position of president should garner support hopefully not only in the North but also elsewhere in the country.
“If my friend is presented to me today, I will be the first to move around and canvass support for him.
“TY Danjuma is a personal friend and bearing his age, I would be one of those who will force him to run.
“But if the general agreement presents him, I will be the happiest for it.
“Obviously, Danjuma will have national and international appeal.
“We know the position is open to all of us, if we are a bit honest with ourselves, we will agree that one is better placed than the other and TY Danjuma should have perhaps been the president of the country many years ago.
“And perhaps he was the one who declined, otherwise people could have supported his leadership for the country many years ago and if he feels strong enough to provide that leadership, I will be one of those who will support him.”
When asked if the retired general’s age of 74 would not be a hindrance, Abdullahi said, “We are now looking at the person and his known abilities and the known character he is associated with.
“Nobody can challenge the suitability of Gen. TY Danjuma to provide leadership for the country.
“What we are saying is that if he feels inclined and he feels strong enough and willing, I am saying that I will be one of those who will give him support.”
However, a former Parliamentarian, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, does not share this optimism.
He said, “If our leadership crisis is real or contrived, meaning that the political class has become so irresponsible that nobody is thinking about the future of the country, then we are in trouble.
“If what I just said was true, then we have a very serious problem, because it seems we have to be going backwards to look for leaders who will lead us forward.
“That is not a characteristic of a forward looking progressive society. In fact, a society so condemned to this kind of thinking is permanently doomed and its survival is equally doomed.”
When contacted, National Publicity Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said it was too early to talk about the presidential ticket.
According to him, those who join the APC afresh will enjoy equal opportunities just like those who were pioneer members.
He said, “Everybody is going to start on a fresh platform, we are starting anew. It’s too early to start talking about the presidential candidate for the party at this point.
“We will not allow anybody to distract us because we still have to go for a convention to elect our officials. It is not the interim committee currently in place that will provide these modalities.
“It is automatic that I am a member of the APC as a member of one of the legacy parties.
“But I have to go to my ward to physically register just like every member is required to register.
“It’s not like, because I am carrying a CPC card then it will suffice. No. Everybody will have to be registered to become a member.
“The legacy parties (ANPP, CPC, ACN) are meeting on Tuesday next week to work out some of these modalities. It is a huge task before them. I don’t envy these 35 folks at all.
“It is when an elected executive is in place that they can draw up the necessary modalities on how candidates will emerge.”
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