Tinubu, APC Leaders Resist Entreaties from Buhari to Attend Declaration
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, and state governors of the party, are having a hard time rebuffing the pressure being mounted on them to attend the formal presidential declaration of one of the leading contenders of the party and former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari. Sources in the Buhari Campaign Organisation revealed that as at Saturday, Buhari was yet to secure a commitment from any of the leaders of the party to attend his declaration, which is scheduled for wednesday.
It was gathered that the reluctance of the APC leaders to yield to pressure from Buhari was based on the understanding that leaders of the party had agreed to be non-partisan in the processes through which the presidential standard-bearer of the party would emerge. It was for this reason that none of the national leaders of the party was in attendance during the declaration of another presidential hopeful in the party, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Accordingly, the leaders are withholding any commitment on their attendance of the Buhari declaration. Sources further revealed that the leaders of the party had told Buhari about their reservations in attending his declaration tomorrow, so as to have a rancour-free presidential primary election in the party. It was learnt that the leaders of the party made their position known to Buhari at the wedding ceremony of the daughter of Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, in Owerri on Saturday.
Nonetheless, the Buhari camp continues to push for a consensus arrangement that will make the retired general emerge as the standard-bearer of the opposition party. It is also the thinking of his campaign organisation that mobilising the national leaders of the party to attend his formal declaration would send a strong message to his co-contestants that he is the anointed candidate of the party for the presidential election. According to one source, “It now appears certain that the national leaders of the party will not be attending the declaration of General Buhari on Wednesday.”
“The declaration was meant to have been last Wednesday, October 8, but was postponed because the day coincided with the grand finale rally of the party before the aborted Adamawa State by-election. It was expected that the national leaders of the party who were being expected to attend the declaration would be at the campaign rally in Adamawa. But despite the postponement of the declaration till this week, we are yet to secure any commitment from principal leaders of the party to attend the event. The reason the leaders are giving for not attending the event is based on an understanding not to be overtly partisan in the run-up to the presidential primary of the party in which they are expected to be umpires.”
However, despite the difficulty Buhari appears to be having getting the leaders of the party to attend his declaration ceremony, the minor setback has not deterred the former head of state from soliciting the support and consulting with crucial members of the party who will determine his fate at the primary election. Speaking yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, after holding a closed-door meeting with Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Buhari said his intention to take another shot at the presidency was to ensure that the country is secure and its economy efficiently managed.
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