After more than 48 hours of consultations, the All Progressives Congress appears to have reached a decision on the choice of the running mate for the party’s presidential candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
However, the party’s leadership is keeping the identity of the preferred candidate under wraps, but the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, while speaking to journalists at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday, hinted that Buhari would announce the party’s choice today (Wednesday).
Odigie-Oyegun, who stepped out of the NWC meeting to address members of the Jigawa State chapter of the party, denied the charge that the choice of the running mate was being delayed.
“It’s not delayed, the candidate will speak to you people, I have a feeling he will speak to you tomorrow (today). The party has consulted with the candidate and we have reached some agreement and he will address you on it tomorrow.”
The NWC meeting which started at about 1pm ended at about 8.12pm.
Apart from Odigie-Oyegun, none of the party leaders who came out of the meeting agreed to speak with the media.
Those in contention for the top job are: Prof. Yemi Osibajo, Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomole and Babatunde Fashola.
Others in the race are the immediate past Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Olorunnimbe Mamora; a former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; and former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.
However, Osibajo appears to be the most favoured because of his religious background, the fact that he like Buhari has a clean record of public service and his closeness to the party leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
The party is expected to submit the particulars of its candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, unfailingly on Thursday.
According to the election time table released by INEC, prospective candidates for the Presidency and National Assembly in the 2015 general elections must submit forms CF001 and CF002 at the INEC Headquarters in Abuja on or before that day, in line with Section 31(c) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provides for not later than 60 days before election
Prominent Yoruba leaders, who are non partisan, have urged the party to ensure that a credible personality picked the vice-presidential candidate ticket.
Some of the leaders, who included a retired soldier and a renowned academic, commended the party’s leadership for the transparent way the presidential candidate emerged.
A power bloc within the party is rooting for a South-West personality to emerge as the vice-presidential candidate.
The bloc contended that top positions such as the presidential ticket and the national chairmanship of the party had been conceded to the North and South-South regions of the country.
Specifically, the bloc explained that the Congress for Progressive Change – one of the three parties that merged to form the APC – produced Buhari, while the All Nigeria Peoples Party, a party in the merger, produced the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
It said the vice-presidential ticket should be conceded to the Action Congress of Nigeria, which is the third party in the merger.
An APC governor said the choice of the vice-presidential “is more complex than as it is being seen because many interests are involved.”
The governor, who said “we are at a very critical stage of the process,” added that a credible candidate would emerge at the end of the rigorous exercise.