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Buhari’s Silence On Zoning, Successor Unsettles APC

The ruling All Progres­sives Congress (APC) is currently in a di­lemma as President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the leader of the party, has not given a clear direction on his choice of successor or the region where the party should zone the presidency to.

Daily Independent gath­ered that the president’s si­lence on which region the par­ty will zone the presidential ticket to has further height­ened the tension in the party “as those mandated to run the affairs of the party are doing what suits them as there is no direction from the president”.

The Caretaker and Ex­traordinary Convention Plan­ning Committee (CECPC) on Tuesday said that at the ap­propriate time it will come up with a consensus and agree­able presidential candidate that will fly its flag in 2023.

“After our congresses and the national convention we will shock them (PDP) by bringing a consensus and an agreeable candidate that will fly the flag of the party come 2023. APC has no third term agenda like PDP. What we are doing now is to stabilise the party and not allow individual ambitions to derail President Buhari’s administration”, Sen. John Akpanudoehede, National Secretary of APC, had said.

Speaking with Daily Inde­pendent, a chieftain of the par­ty, who served as minister in President Buhari’s first term, said the idea of fielding a con­sensus candidate is nonsense as the major contention in the party is the issue of zoning.

“I am a leader in the party and I can categorically tell you that there is no clear direction from the president as to where we are going. From the way things are going, I think it is high time the president spoke to us in the language we un­derstand so that everybody can fall in place. Silence is no longer golden.

“The major bone of conten­tion in the party now is the is­sue of zoning. Where will the next presidential candidate of the party come from? If you recall, few weeks ago when Governor Ben Ayade defected to APC, the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Fo­rum, Atiku Bagudu, said the APC will throw the presiden­tial ticket open. The president has not said anything on that.

“Few days ago, Southern governors also insisted that in the spirit of justice and equity, the South must produce the president in 2023, still yet no word from President Buhari. Now, the Caretaker Commit­tee is talking about presenting a consensus candidate.

“That is already creating tension in the party. How will the consensus arrangement take place? Will they zone first and after that they will now pick a consensus candidate from the region they have zoned the ticket to? So, there are many questions begging for answer and like I said, the president should speak to us in the language we under­stand”, he said.

However, when contacted, a member of the Caretaker Committee of the party said President Buhari is aware of developments in the party as he is regularly briefed by Governor Mai Mala Buni, who is the national caretaker chairman.

He said the president is waiting for the outcome of the forthcoming national con­vention where the issue of the national chairmanship of the party will be decided before taking a decision on the zone to produce the presidential candidate.

“Contrary to what they are saying, the president is well aware of everything in the party. When we get to the bridge of the presiden­tial candidate, we will cross it. Right now our focus is on how to have a hitch-free ward congresses and national con­vention where our national chairman will be elected,” he said.

Meanwhile, Osita Oke­chukwu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and founding member of the ruling party, has de­bunked claim that President Muhammadu Buhari had a succession agreement with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the party.

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