Aspirants for the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress have intensified their campaigns, with a former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; and Senator Sani Musa lobbying members of the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, Yari met with the APC Caucuses in the Senate and the House of Representatives, while Musa met with the ruling party’s caucus in the House.
The APC is billed to elect a new National Working Committee at its national convention scheduled to hold on Saturday.
At the meeting with Senators, Yari warned the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), against endorsing any of the aspirants.
Yari particularly urged the President to avoid a repeat of his mistake of handpicking a former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, as National Chairman of the APC.
The ex-governor said, “You have also been reading in the newspapers that President Muhammadu Buhari did not anoint anybody; the Special Adviser on Media, Garba Shehu, has since clarified that.
“We are trying to break those jinx; we must come through the ballot box so that we can respect the votes of the people, not by picking. Let me remind them: those that think they can just be pushed forth come and do it, that it will not be business as usual.
“The President made a mistake in the past by anointing Adams Oshiomhole singlehandedly. Nobody voted for him; he was anointed as the National Chairman and you can see the result today. Do you want to remain like that?”
Yari also said he was not aware that the APC chairmanship had been zoned to the North-Central geopolitical zone. “What we were briefed was that the positions of the North should go to the South, and those of the South to the North. That is what the caucus sat down to agree,” he said.
The ex-governor further said, “In any case, one thing we should be determined to do is to bring about true democracy. For instance, this particular office is always being marred by all sorts of arrangements that did not deliver the right choice of the people.
“For instance, should the chairmanship be zoned to northern Nigeria and the Presidency to the South, are we going to dictate to the zone that should be chosen? No! We are trying to break that jinx and embrace real democracy. I did not know any issue about zoning because it was not communicated to me. I only saw it on social media.
“I have already purchased my form… We are ready to meet in the ballot box.”
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, noted that Yari was one of the few contestants that had formally visited the caucus in the Senate.
Omo-Agege said, “APC is at a crossroads. That is the bad news. The good news is that all the challenges will soon come to pass. You are a major stakeholder. You’ve served as a governor and you know the problems of the party. In the next few days, continue to toe that path of peace.
“All we seek here at the National Assembly is a strong APC that will win the next election. There are so many conspiracies outside here. The PDP is praying to win the 2023 general elections, we are also praying and we pray God should not answer their prayers.
“You are a leader that can speak truth to power. You are a leader that fit that bill. We wish you success on the 26 of this month.”
At his meeting with the House APC caucus, Musa stated that the ruling party and not individuals should be built to become an institution. He also stated that a party is supposed to be close to the people.
Musa said, “The kind of leadership I would bring is that those that run the affairs of the party should be seen to be very useful to everyone. They will be busy 24/7, 365 days and not only when we have conventions or congresses.
“It would even reduce the burden of leadership because if the majority are well educated and enlightened with the programmes and activities of the governing party, I don’t see how any other party would have a space.
“Today the APC is not taking advantage of the numerous consistency projects that our legislators are doing. We do not have anything like peer review. There is nothing like that at our party. We do not do the least of it, town hall meetings whereby you engage the ward executives of the party to the state gathering in one place. Even if we would do it on a quarterly basis, it would make our constituents believe that the party in government knows what it is doing.”