Adamu Yusuf: Adamawa 2023: APC’s unholy connivance for consensus governorship candidate


 

It is quite interesting that the 11th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC), held in Abuja on Tuesday, had the newly elected National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu warning that internal crisis can affect APC’s fortunes in the 2023 general elections. His statement represents a glaring irony, as many believe that he and members of the current National Working Committee (NWC) emerged through different consensus arrangements that have enveloped the party in a silence of the graveyard.

Probably sensing that the consensus option isn’t popular, the NEC meeting attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, who again warned against imposition of candidates, adopted indirect primary for the election of the party’s presidential candidate. Coming down to my home state of Adamawa, of late, there has been talk of plans to impose a governorship candidate in a flagrant abuse of consensus option as stated in the Electoral Act.

The rumored plan to select former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, as consensus candidate should be dropped immediately. According to Article 20 (iii) of APC’S Constitution, the nomination of a candidate for governor shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level.

It therefore behooves on new leadership of the APC to follow the honorable path by abiding with the constitution of the party rather than reverting to the Electoral Act and selecting an option that isn’t listed in the party’s constitution. As it is, Adamawa APC has 12 well known aspirants; why the desperation of picking one aspirant as candidate who is most likely to be rejected by party faithful, many of whom have pitched their tents with their preferred aspirant?

Yes, my state remains an APC stronghold with majority of political watchers still saying that Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won in 2019 owing to ‘anti-party’ activities by APC foot soldiers, some of whom were angry with the then governor, Sen. Jibrilla Bindow. But foisting an unpopular candidate on members of Adamawa APC with the hope of winning on election day will be counterproductive.

A couple of days back, Bindow declared his intention to run with many averring that he may play the role of spoiler just like it was alleged that Mohammed Halilu Modi, younger brother of the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari did in 2019, should he be sidelined in preference of a consensus candidate. Even with the ex-governor entering the race late, some have ascribed his late entrance to his belief that he should be offered the right of first refusal by the APC.

Looking beyond Bindow and at the wider picture, there are other governorship aspirants whom their sidelining could lead to failure for the APC in 2023, quick to come to mind is the chairman House of Reps Committee on Army, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas. The lawmaker representing Jada/Ganye/MayoBelwa/Toungo Federal Constituency of Adamawa State has toured all the 21 Local Government Areas and is credited for reviving the party when it seemed it had been abandoned by Bindow.

Though Namdas has quietly continued with consultations, influential personalities, women and youth groups within the party are said to be on his side, with talk that it would be unfair to dump the lawmaker for a candidate who hasn’t done anything for the party. Another leading aspirant who some insist like Namdas, should also be allowed to participate in the governorship primary, to win or lose in a transparent contest, is Sen. Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani).

As I mentioned earlier, Adamawa State remains an APC state where the voters are so politically aware, that they can vote different parties for different positions. PDP’s Alhai Atiku Abubakar may be Adamawa’s biggest political figure, nevertheless, voters in his state may likely not vote in a PDP governor even if they vote their son in the presidential ballot.

A good percentage of APC members believe they have the network and structure to win the state back, but they seek a popular and sellable candidate. Suffice to add that this same people will not move an inch for a candidate they didn’t vote for in the primary or supported in the run up to the primary. A number of those who are looking forward to the APC wining the governorship election next year have opined that should a consensus candidate emerge, it must be from a clear agreement among aspirants and not an Abuja-backed imposition.

I am one of those who believe the First Lady Dr. Aisha Buhari should support Adamawa APC to regain power. Nigerian First Ladies supporting worthy causes and wielding power in their home state is not new to our country. As someone who believes my state needs a new governor with better ideas on development and empowerment of the people, especially youths and women, I call on Mrs. Buhari, Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, as well as FCT Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Bello to look back home and support the selection of a sellable governorship candidate for the APC, the party which brought them to limelight.

Adamu Yusuf, a writer and researcher contributed this opinion from Yola, Adamawa State.
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