2023 Presidency: North Queues Behind Lawan, APC Aspirants Make Last-Minute Push For Delegates

Seven days to the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, indications have emerged that the North is strongly queuing behind the aspiration of Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, in the quest to secure the support of the party’s 2,340 ad hoc delegates. The exercise is scheduled for May 29 and 30.

With President Muhammadu Buhari yet to assent to the Electoral Act 2022 Amendment Bill, which seeks to recognize statutory or super delegates, the focus is now on the non-statutory or ad hoc delegates.

Already, delegates in most APC controlled states seem to have taken positions to tag along with their state governors.

Consequently, most of the presidential aspirants are making incursions into non-APC controlled states considered as “open fields”.

Sunday Vanguard takes a look at how some of the aspirants are working to get the support of delegates.

Bola Tinubu:

Regarded as one of the national leaders of the party, Tinubu’s political dexterity is not in doubt.

While his team has expressed readiness for any mode of primary,  the former Lagos State governor is believed to be opposed to consensus.

Tinubu has the support of delegates from Lagos and Osun states. He also has those of Kano and Borno. Some of the governors he has visited have continued to engage in the art of political doublespeak, expressing subtle support for different presidential aspirants.

Ahmad Lawan:

Regarded within party circles as the “northern joker,” the Senate President seems to be making waves among some party stakeholders.

Already, he has the support of majority of members of the National Assembly.

Northern politicians in the APC see him as the only formidable aspirant from the region.

Lawan was allegedly brought up by those who were initially backing the Central Bank Governor CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Yahaya Bello:

The Kogi State governor was unarguably the first entrant into the race. Apart from engaging in early consultations, he got his state House of Assembly led by Matthew Kolawole to also crisscross the country, meeting with their counterparts in most parts of the state.

The governor is effectively in charge of the party structure in his state.

Bello is said to be one of those working on delegates from non-APC controlled states.

Dave Umahi:

Lately, not much has been heard about the Ebonyi State governor. However, he also has the delegates of his state in his kitty.

Emeka Nwajiuba:

The immediate-past Minister of State for Education is from Imo state. Some political tendencies within the ruling party consider him as the “dark horse”. They see him as the President’s possible anointed candidate, having been with him through thick and thin, especially in the days of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change CPC. However, Nwajuiba has not made many moves to secure the support of delegates from many states.

Kayode Fayemi:

Ekiti State governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum NGF has been going around the country, soliciting support.

Apart from his state, Fayemi has been trying to make inroads into some states through a group, The Nigeria Agenda,TNA.

The TNA is said to be a coalition of over 50 Civil Society Organizations CSOs from across the country, whose Convener is a former Commissioner for Information in Adamawa State, Malam Ahmad Sajoh.

Adamawa is a non-APC state and so it is one of the states where Fayemi is said to be working on getting the delegates to his side.

Senator Godswill Akpabio:

The former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs is having a running battle with the National Secretary of the defunct Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, for the control of the party structure in Akwa Ibom state.

Although Akpabio has been visiting some states, he still has a lot to do to get more delegates.

Madam Uju Kennedy:

Philanthropist and businesswoman, Mrs Uju Kennedy, has done so much for humanity but not much is known about her in political circles. She has not made appreciable moves to secure the support of delegates.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo:

The Vice President seems to have the support of his state governor, Dapo Abiodun, but that may not necessarily translate into him having the backing of all delegates from the state. This is owing to the presence of a former governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.

What applies to Osinbajo also applies to Messrs Bankole and Amosun. They will need to do more to secure the buy-in of delegates from other parts of the country

Muhammad Badaru Abubakar:

Governor Abubakar of Jigawa is one of the last entrants into the race. Apart from announcing his aspiration to some party stakeholders in his state as well as receiving a few fellow aspirants, not much is known of his ambition.

Rotimi Amaechi:

Amaechi also controls the party structure in Rivers State. He is seen to have the backing of the state delegates.

The former Transportation Minister has been going around the country, but analysts believe he is more focused on securing the support of delegates from the North and South-West.

Mr Tein Jack-Rich:

Also a fine businessman from Rivers State, Jack-Rich is not well known politically. There are speculations that he is in the race to whittle the support base of Amaechi.

Jack-Rich has not done much to secure the support of party delegates.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu:

The former Minister of Science and Technology also joined the race late. Many have touted him as the president’s preferred candidate. However, he appears laid back as he has not done much to sell his ideas to party members and critical stakeholders.

Others in this category are Senator Robert Ajayi Borroffice, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Pastor Nicholas Felix Nwagbo and Senator Ken Nnamani

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