The All Progressives Congress (APC), according to reports, is nursing the idea of pursuing a consensus arrangement to choose his presidential candidate. According to Senator John Akpanudoehede, National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), "at the appropriate, the party will come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate that will fly its flag in 2023".
Senator Akpanudoehede made the statement while reacting to an allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that President Muhammadu Buhari had a self-succession plan. The APC scribe noted that the President had no such motive.
What caught my attention the most in that press statement is the insinuation or declaration that the APC plans a consensus presidential candidate. For me, that is a near impossibility. It is suicidal, especially if they try to manipulate or apply any force to actualise it.
If care is not taken, it can lead to the Zamfara scenario for the APC. Yes, the APC should negotiate to build bridges. Yes, they can reach compromises. But, they must never compromise a free, fair and transparent primary election. If they do, they should get ready for a litany of court cases, factionalisation and jumping of ship my its members. A combination of these are likely to reduce the chances of victory for the party.
Personally, I do not see how the APC will succeed in getting the geopolitical zones clamouring for the ticket to give it up without a contest. For instance, I do not see how the North-central will give it up for the Southwest or Southeast. I also do not see the Southeast giving it up for another zone. This is one hurdle that the party needs to deal with.
In fact, the debate whether the political parties, including the APC, should zone their presidential tickets to the South or the north is still largely unsettled. And listening to all sides, one realises that they all are making some sort of relevant points.
The APC is not as united as it sometimes seem. The leaders are battling disputes and conflicts of interest. The political face-off between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki brought this to the fore. There are institutions that governors like Babangana Zulum, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Abdullah Umar Ganduje are sympathizers of Asiwaju's presidential bid. And there are a host of others reportedly opposed to it.
Also, I do not see how the APC will get all of its governors to agree on a particular presidential candidate. For instance, how is the party leadership hoping to get all its governors to support Mr Tinubu for president? Conversely, how do they plan to get the governors to all support another candidate at the expense of Asiwaju? In my opinion, It is a difficult thing to achieve.
The APC must be mindful not to push its luck too far. If it tries to do so, it may fall into a major crisis in an election year. And I am sure that is not something that they want to risk. It may jeopardise their chances of victory in the defining election. A report just published on the website of Vanguard Newspaper indicates that the Ekiti State Chairman of SWAGA, Senator Tony Adeniyi, already said today that "the consensus arrangements won’t work on the strength that Governor Kayode Fayemi and his caucus, have allegedly imposed and handpicked the delegates for the congresses without the inputs of other party stakeholders".
My candid advice, therefore, is for the APC to be transparent and fair to all of its members. It must ensure it allows for healthy contestation of ideas and positions. The party should not manipulate or impose candidates in the name of reaching a consensus. It should strongly consider conducting a very free, fair, transparent and primary election. The product of such a process will help to stabilise the party and reduce disagreement within the party.
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