The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (North-West), Mallam Salihu Lukman, on Tuesday, said some forces outside the APC made attempts to use former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Godwin Emefiele, to prevent Bola Tinubu from being chosen as the APC presidential candidate.
According to Lukman, it took the combined efforts of President,
Muhammadu Buhari the National Working Committee and the resilience of the APC governors to abort the move.
Lukman, who is a member of the APC National Working Committee, made the claim in a statement titled, “Electoral contests and public expectations: Matching hopes with realities.”
Tinubu polled 1,271 votes to defeat former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and 12 others to win the APC presidential primary last year June.
According to Lukman, when it became obvious that the kites of Jonathan and Emefiele would not fly, the masterminds of the plot, who were not card-carrying members of the APC, positioned the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, for Buhari to anoint as the party’s consensus candidate.
He said, “It may also be important to note that the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as APC presidential candidate was the product of strong internal contest. There may be temptation to narrow the contest to the dynamics around the question of whether there will be an anointed aspirant who would have been crowned as the consensus candidate, which wouldn’t have been Asiwaju Tinubu.
“Many had their preferred candidates for the position of national chairman. Some of the presidential aspirants were able to expand their lobbies to some of the influential people around the President and perhaps succeeded to convince President Buhari to nominate Senator Abdullahi Adamu for the position. And shortly after the election of Adamu as the National Chairman of the APC, negotiation for the emergence of a so-called consensus presidential candidate was activated.
“It may also be important to remind Nigerians that the scheming around 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, some sophisticated mobilisation 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 the APC. By May 2023, 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 Jonathan and Emefiele as possible contenders to emerge as consensus presidential candidates for the APC, the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan was recruited and promoted. It is on record that Adamu, on the eve of the convention that birthed Asiwaju Tinubu as the presidential flag bearer, announced to NWC members that Lawan was their consensus candidate of the party.”
Continuing, the Kaduna-based politician explained that aggrieved members of the NWC along with some progressive governors rose against the move.
Lukman disclosed that part of the plan promoted within the APC to attempt to popularise the choice of Lawan, as a consensus candidate, became the focal point after the opposition Peoples Democratic Party elected Atiku Abubakar, a fellow northerner as presidential candidate.
“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.
“Combinations of all of these in so many ways contributed towards tilting support of many APC leaders towards Asiwaju Tinubu. Certainly, Asiwaju Tinubu’s personal quality, given his track records both as a businessman, politician, and elected Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 were also there. He has over the years proven himself as a fighter for democracy. This is one characteristic that has defined him and perhaps strengthened him to survive many personal attacks on his person and his integrity. The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo investigated him on many of the issues that are being used to smear his name such drugs. Renown radical lawyer and human rights activists, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, challenged his academic credentials unsuccessfully in courts. Many journalists and activists questioned his integrity but were not able to establish any proof.
“Again, thanks to President Buhari, the contest for the presidential candidate of APC was thrown open and Asiwaju won with a wide merging,” he stated.
When asked to react to the revelation, the Publicity Director of the APC, Bala Ibrahim, told our correspondent that the party had moved on and wouldn’t like to delve into an issue that could reopen old wounds.
“Whatever happened before the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the candidate of the APC is something that should left in book of history. Now, he is the candidate of the party and it is the collective will of the same party. Everybody is putting his hands in the deck to see to it that Tinubu is successful,” he said.