Buhari has endorsed Adams Oshiomhole for the position of APC chairman. These are the reasons why he did so.
The president is often the leader of his party in Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
The APC will hold its national convention on Saturday, June 23, 2018; with 42 positions up for grabs in the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
20 party members in the last NWC will return to the new executive, unopposed.
Party insiders tell Pulse that Buhari is going for Oshiomhole because of his “wealth of experience”.
Oshiomhole and Buhari have maintained a close friendship that dates back a few years.
Oshiomhole has also been a vocal supporter of the president’s programmes and policies since the APC sacked the PDP from the center in 2015.
“President Buhari urged members of the party to support the candidacy of the former Edo state governor owing to his wealth of knowledge and political experience, especially in the APC as one of its founding members who contributed selflessly to the merger process”, a statement sent to Pulse by an APC insider, read.
Buhari also sees in Oshiomhole a hard-nosed, pragmatic, hands-on campaigner who talks a good game and who can rally support for an incumbent who will need all the support he can get ahead of a major election season.
President Buhari has also endorsed the candidacy of Mai Mala Buni as the Chairman and National Secretary of the APC.
Pulse was told by a party chieftain that “the president commended the dedication of the party’s scribe Mai Mala Buni and urged members to allow for continuity by ensuring his return as the National Secretary of the party at the convention”.
State governors have also thrown their collective weight behind Oshiomhole.
Governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, said: “Adams Oshiomhole has been experienced in various aspects of national life”.
Bagudu touted Oshiomhole’s “collective experience in the recent past as governor of Edo State, one of the most successful leaders of trade union, and a democratic activist all his life", as reasons for his suitability for the job.
“These qualities will be brought to bear in achieving the ideals of the APC. So, we believe he will be a leader, he will be the embodiment of the spirit of the party and the experience will help him to make the party grow.”
Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, described Oshiomhole as "one of us" and assured the former labour leader of the support of his State.
Among the party chieftains and governors who have endorsed Oshiomhole's candidacy are Gov. Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, Gov. Kashim Shettima, Gov. Ibrahim Geidam, Gov. Umar Jibrilla Bindow, Alhaji Suleiman Hassan, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, and Sen. Danjuma Goje.
Others are Gov. Nasir Ahmad ElRufai, Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Gov. Badaru Abubakar, Gov. Aminu Bello Masari, Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Gov. Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.
APC governors from the North-Central States like Gov. Yahaya Bello, Gov. Umar Tanko AlMakura, Gov. Samuel Ortom, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed, Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello and Gov. Simon Lalong have also endorsed Oshiomhole and Buni.
In the South, Oshiomhole can count on the support of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun, Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Chief Timipre Sylva, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Usani Uguru Usani.
Among the APC chieftains throwing their weight behind Oshiomhole in the South are Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Sen. Ken Nnamani, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Sen. Ben Uwajumogu, Ex-Gov Sullivan Chime, Chief Martins Elechi, Dr. Chris Ngige, Hon. Agunwa Anaekwe and Chief Jim Nwobodo, among others.
The APC source who spoke to Pulse said “this widespread support across the six regions of the country has marked Adams Oshiomhole and Mai Mala Buni out as favourites for the position of Chairman and National Secretary respectively, and has created a situation which the Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje, described as “numerically winning the election before the election”.
There have also been reports of a rancour within the APC ahead of the convention, with some party faithful kicking against a so called Unity List.
The ‘Unity List’ allegedly contains the names of handpicked winners of the election even before the first ballot is cast in anger.
The Punch writes that some other contestants whose names aren’t on the ‘Unity List’ are “panicking ahead of Saturday’s convention”.
Rumours of a ‘Unity List’ have intensified amid allegations that the governing party isn’t willing to shed a reputation that borders on imposing candidates on the rest of the voting delegates.
However, Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told journalists that there is no ‘Unity List’ anywhere, ahead of the convention.
“There’s no Unity List, there’s room for affirmation, consensus. What you can say is that there’s an APC list. Anywhere you see something called a Unity List, it is fake. There are 20 unopposed positions and 42 to be contested. That’s about the summary”, Dabiri-Erewa said.
The APC has had its fair share of internal crises since 2015. Legislators are bickering with State governors in a couple of States and a godfather of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu delighted in scribbling angry public letters to departing party Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun.