The Tinubu Campaign Organisation has warned the All Progressives Congress that the party will be violating the law if it imposes a consensus candidate.
The group’s comment comes in reaction to the reported announcement of Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the consensus candidate of the party on Monday.
According to The PUNCH, the statement signed by its Legal Director, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, the support group listed three conditions for picking a consensus candidate as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
The statement read, “The media is inundated with reports that the Chairman of the All progressives Congress (APC) has unilaterally announced the purported adoption of a particular aspirant, the consensus presidential candidate of the APC, for the forthcoming presidential election in 2023.
“While the National Chairman is yet to deny or offer any clarification on the alleged declaration, it is necessary to state that such a declaration is a legal impossibility.
“This is because under the Electoral Act 2022, consensus, though provided for as one of how a political party may produce its candidate, must specifically occur in a precise form.
“Section 84(9) (10) and (11) of the Electoral Act 2022 are the relevant provisions and the state as follows:
“(9) A political party that adopts a consensus candidate shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position, indicating their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate”.
“(10) Where a political party is unable to secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for a consensus candidate, it shall revert to the choice of direct or indirect primaries for the nomination of candidates for the aforesaid elective position.
“(11) A special convention or nomination congress shall be held to ratify the choice of consensus candidates at designated centers at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal, and State Constituencies, as the case may be”.
“Instructively, none of the above conditions have occurred in respect of producing the presidential candidate of the APC. Therefore, any declaration of a consensus candidate would be premature and a violation of extant provisions of the law.
“We are confident that the APC will not be part of such a law-abiding entity. We are further persuaded to urge our supporters to disregard this report considering that the overwhelming majority of the APC Northern Governors who, after meeting with the President, reaffirmed their preference for a
president from the Southern part of Nigeria.
“All Nigerians widely accept this patriotic decision as a demonstration of deep understanding of the nuanced fault lines of our nation.
“In the circumstance, a unilateral declaration by the National Chairman of a consensus presidential candidate for the party will violate the law and set the party on a collision course with its Governors who are critical stakeholders in the party.”