The APC won't hand Buhari an automatic 2019 ticket and that's a good thing.
After a meeting of Southwest leaders of the APC in Ibadan on October 12, former acting chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, told journalists that the APC presidential ticket for 2019 is there to be contested for.
“President Buhari has not told us that he will seek re-election. Anybody in our party is free to become the President of Nigeria. If anyone indicates interest and is ready to subject himself to the process through which a candidate is elected, and he is lucky to have the ticket, then, we will have no other thing to do than to present him as our candidate,” Akande said.
Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, who is chairman of the Northwest zone of the APC, also spoke in a similar vein recently.
“2017 that we are in now, there is no vacancy. There could be vacancy any moment, any time either in 2019, 2020”, Abdulkadir said.
“In 2019 the vacancy that exists is that whether you like Buhari or not, whether he wants to run or not, there will be a contest.
“What I mean is that the APC as a party is not a draconian party. We will allow the due process to take its course in terms of whoever wants to contest for the presidency.
“I am not a soothsayer, but I know that the rules and laws of the APC is that every member would be given a chance.
“If you want to run for the presidency, you are welcome. When you say there is a vacancy it means there is nobody there”.
These are good soundbites and welcome developments.
It may just be that the APC doesn’t mean what it’s saying, but it’s still a good thing that it’s being said anyway.
From what we’ve gathered from the grapevine thus far, Buhari will seek re-election. However, the APC shouldn’t make him feel that the 2019 presidential ticket is his for the taking. He’s got to slug it out with other interested persons and he's got to earn every vote by marshaling out a well thought out blueprint like every other contestant. And that’s only fair.
The APC’s position stands in some contrast to the PDP’s just before the 2015 elections; when Goodluck Jonathan was handed the re-election ticket on a platter with all other aspirants firmly shut out and reminded that there was no vacancy at the villa.
Consensus and handpicked candidacy is something our political parties should strive to eschew from their DNA. Internal democracy should be encouraged and lauded across board.
If Buhari wants the APC presidential ticket, he’s got to work for it like everyone else. I think that’s what the APC hierarchy has been trying to convey.
And that’s a good thing.