Consensus candidacy: APC presidential aspirants hold meetings in Abuja

By The Citizen
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Day and nocturnal meetings have become the lot of the of the four presidential aspirants of the All Presidential Congress, APC lately, Vanguard investigations have revealed.

The meetings which now hold in and outside Abuja were to essentially reach consensus of who would eventually fly the flag of the leading opposition party in the 2015 general elections.

The four aspirants who are jostling for the ticket of the party and have purchased their nomination forms for the contest included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and former Head of State, General Mohammad Buhari.

The two others were the incumbent Governor of Kano State, Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso and the Founder and Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah who picked his own form last week.

Imo State Governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, Vanguard gathered, is also interested in the office but was yet to pick his nomination form.

An APC source in Abuja who confided in Vanguard confirmed the meetings of the presidential aspirants.

A highly placed officer of the party at its national secretariat in Abuja, the source said the it was a normal democratic process for the four aspirants to agree among themselves on who would eventually become the party's candidate, saying that anything short of that would necessity the conduct of primaries for them.

He however said the party has not, at the moment, set up any committee for the exercise that is scheduled to hold on December 8, 2014.

'It is a normal political process. But as a party, we have not really set a committee. The aspirants themselves are working to get a consensus. Several interest groups around the aspirants are also exploring every opportunity for consensus.

'My understanding of the matter is that, I am sure the consensus matter that is being will be pursued to the logical end. Wherever they were unable to produce the outcome that we want, then we will conduct the primaries which is democratic too. If one of the aspirants who bought the form says he doesn't want consensus, then we have to conduct the primaries. But unless all the four aspirants who bought the form agree on one candidate,' he said.

The source also dismissed the reports that governors on APC platform were asking for vice presidential plot, saying that what was important to the party was the emergence of marketable presidential products.

He said: 'I am not aware of the governors asking for the VP slot. At no forum have I heard that. I am a high ranking member of the party, if that happened, I should have known. It is a mere speculation. The important thing is to produce a candidate and the running mate that will win vote for us.

'If the running mate will come from the governors, fine. But to impose a candidate on the party, they cannot. Ok, now, whether the governors like it or not, a presidential candidate must emerge, isn't it? Once the candidate emerges, he will have a running mate. The party might have a say but the candidate determines who his running mate will be.'

Another party source who spoke to Vanguard said that ' a lot of meetings are going on here and there between the aspirants'.

According to him, it was not clear who the candidate would be.

But investigations also revealed that Gen. Buhari is likely to become the presidential candidate of the party.

His name, sources said, came up each time such topic was discussed.

'But I do not know who may emerge the candidate among them. For me, it is Buhari's name that I keep hearing', another source said.

They however added that it would be a difficult issue if former Vice President Atiku failed to consent to consensus plan.

For them, Kano State Governor, Kwankwaso and Leadership Chairman, Isaiah would not be a major problem but Atiku who they said may not easily step down for Buahri should the odds Favour him.

Meanwhile, Isaiah while picking his form last week promised that the aspirants would play the game according to the rules.

He also expressed optimism of securing the party's presidential ticket when asked by Vanguard if he was frightened by the 'big names'.

'We can assure you that we are going to work by the rules. We are going to ensure to it comes out well without any rancour in the interest of our party and this nation because we know how important it is for the party to win the next election.

'We are doing it on the 8th of December and we have promised it is going to be rancour free. We will all support whoever eventually emerges. But I intend to win', he said. Vanguard.