Abuja – Plans by leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt consensus option in selecting the presidential standard-bearer for the 2023 General Elections is causing stiff opposition among the party’s stakeholders.
Checks by The Guardian revealed that no sooner had the Secretary of APC’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) hinted at the possibility of choosing the presidential candidate through consensus, than the interest groups up-scaled their lobby for consideration.
It was gathered that while proponents of Igbo presidency are pushing for a favourable consideration by the party leaders, supporters of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, maintained that the pre-merger arrangement that assured Southwest region of succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari should be respected.
Although the APC has not yet made a public pronouncement on the zoning of the presidential slot for the 2023 poll, the subject remains a quiet contestation among proponents of zoning and those pushing for merit and democracy in the party.
Some chieftains of the party, including leader of President Buhari’s support group, Buhari Legacy Continuity Initiative, Mr. Sam Oraegbunam, argued that the Igbo should be allowed to produce Buhari’s successor, but others dismissed the argument on the grounds that they did not make sufficient electoral contribution to the success of APC.
Oraegbunam contended that if such measures as quota system and federal character principle had been used in the past to accommodate other sections of the country, “there is nothing bad if Igbo is considered for quota Presidency.”
The BLCI co-ordinator said it was odd to have a person from South-West as consensus candidate, particularly after 16 years of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as President and Vice President respectively.
Meanwhile, a founding member of the party, from the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) legacy arm, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said that Tinubu would be in a pole position to clinch the ticket under consensus arrangement.
Okechukwu, who is a member of APC in Enugu State and also the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), described the consensus approach as “a deft move that will perish the prospect of implosion” in the party.