The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice Chairman (North West), Salihu Lukman, has revealed that certain individuals in the Presidency are indifferent to the aspiration of the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Lukman, in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday, titled: ‘Electoral Contests and Public Expectations: Matching Hopes with Realities,’ said that the former Lagos State governor was not on the list of their favoured candidates to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lukman, who is the former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum and APC National Working Committee member said the plan to pick a favoured successor for Buhari started in April 2022, with individuals he claimed were non-card carrying members of the party as masterminds of the plot.
Lukman, who listed Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and former President Goodluck Jonathan as their favoured choices, further said that incumbent Senate President Ahmad Lawan was picked as fall back option to court the sentiment of the North.
“It may also be important to remind Nigerians that the scheming around the emergence of a so-called consensus candidate was ridiculously stretched beyond the APC to include people like former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.
“These were never members of the APC. But with the active collaboration of some influential people outside the APC, such as Chief Nduka Obaigbena, publisher and owner of This Day Newspaper and Arise Television, some sophisticated mobilization of so-called ‘hundred eminent businessmen, political, media, and civil society leaders, including 14 current governors, 13 former governors as well as three former senate presidents’ commenced around April 2022.
“Gradually, this scheming shifted and was entrenched within APC. By May 2022, when the party began to sell its nomination forms to aspiring candidates, forms were purchased by some APC leaders for former President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
“Eventually, when these schemers couldn’t succeed in popularising both former President Jonathan and Mr. Emefiele as possible contenders to emerge as consensus presidential candidates for APC, the Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, was recruited and promoted.
“It is on record that Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, on the eve of the Convention that elected Asiwaju Tinubu as the Presidential candidate of the party, announced to NWC members that Sen. Ahmed Lawan was the consensus presidential candidate of the party. Members of the NWC, together with Progressive Governors, rose against that move. Thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari, the contest for the Presidential candidate of APC was thrown open, and Asiwaju won with a wide margin.
“Part of the dummy promoted within the APC to attempt to popularise the choice of a Northerner, Sen. Ahmed Lawan as a consensus candidate was that since PDP had elected Alh. Atiku Abubakar, a Northerner as its Presidential Candidate, we needed to also elect a Northerner so that we can win the votes of Northerners. This is completely inconsiderate of the popular agitation for power shift in the country.
“It is also insensitive of the potential instability that the choice of another Northerner emerging as President of the country could cause. Ahead of the APC National Convention, APC Governors from the North had already declared their opposition against a Northerner emerging as APC Presidential candidate,” he said.
Corroborating the claim of Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, on the coordinated plot by forces in the Presidency to frustrate the APC presidential candidate, Lukman maintained that Tinubu would ultimately win the election.
“Of course, forces within the APC are also uncomfortable with the possibility that Asiwaju Tinubu will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Schemers that failed to produce either Mr. Emefiele or former President Jonathan or Sen. Ahmed Lawan as a consensus candidate of APC have unleashed Mr. Emefiele’s so-called cashless policy to damage the APC and the candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu. But like they failed in the case of the consensus presidential candidate, they are also failing in their intrigues to damage the APC and the candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu.
“As Asiwaju Tinubu emerged as the Presidential candidate of APC despite their machinations, Asiwaju Tinubu will also become elected as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God willing,” he aded.