Further Division And More Permutation In APC Over Buhari’s Candidacy Ahead Of 2019

President Mohammadu Buhari
Party divided over Buhari’s candidacy
President’s declaration will end governance – Sen Sani
The recent outburst from the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, has triggered more permutations as politicians are now realigning for the 2019 presidential election.
This is even as some All Progressives Congress (APC) faithful have called for her immediate resignation from the cabinet or risk outright removal.
Alhassan had in a video which went viral on Wednesday, declared her support for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar if he emerges a presidential candidate for the 2019 general election, even if President Muhammadu Buhari is contesting.
She was quoted as saying that, “I will support Atiku for the 2019 election even if Baba is contesting. Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics, and again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.”
Sources close to the Presidency also revealed that despite Buhari’s good intentions, it is unfortunate that his cabinet members have different agenda towards 2019 except the Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, who is not a politician and who has remained loyal and committed.
In some Northern states including the Federal Capital Territory, Buhari’s second tenure posters are pasted but his body language has not made the terrain clearer.
But Atiku’s intention for the presidency is growing as the days go by just as his reservation and criticism for the ruling APC in which he is a chieftain is mind bugling.
In an interview aired Wednesday morning programme of the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA), Atiku said he had been sidelined despite the fact that he used his contacts and resources to defeat the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. This shot came the same day Alhassan pledged her complete loyalty to him.
Atiku reportedly said: “Honestly speaking, I am still a member of the APC; I was part of all the processes, including campaigns until success was achieved, but sadly, soon after the formation of the government, I was sidelined.
I have no relationship with the government, I have not been contacted even once to comment on anything and in turn, I maintained my distance. They used our money and influence to get to where they are, but three years down the lane, this is where we are”.
But reacting to Alhassan’s utterances, a chieftain of the ruling APC and the party’s 2015 Senatorial candidate in Bayelsa State, Hon. Preye Aganaba, said the party has no choice for now than to represent Buhari to Nigerians for the 2019 general election.
Commenting on Alhassan’s loyalty to Atiku, Aganaba said: “She has a right to her choice but I think she is not been fair. If she wants to make such public statement as a serving Minister, she should resign her appointment first.
“I don’t think for now that the APC has any other choice than to represent Buhari, though people are free to contest, nobody is stopping them, this is APC where we usually have free and fair primaries. At the last
Presidential primaries in Lagos, President Buhari won more than half of the votes.
“During the last APC presidential primaries, the campaign slogan for Buhari was ’12 million assured votes’ and I don’t think one single vote has left that 12 million assured votes. In fact, more has even been added”.
Meanwhile, Alhassan on Thursday in Abuja, said that she does not think Buhari is a naïve person.
Speaking with State House correspondents after her visit to Aso Rock with the hope to meet with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, Alhassan said she had not seen the president since she made the famous comment.
She said, “I have not seen the president but I don’t think he is a naive person”.
When asked about her sudden withdrawal of support for Buhari, she said: “I have said all in BBC Hausa, get someone who speaks Hausa very well to translate it for you; let the will of God be done”.
But Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna), said no one can say whether Buhari is going to contest or not, saying that “President Buhari has not said anything and I believe if Buhari declares his intention for 2019, that is the end of governance in Nigeria”.
Sani added that many individuals are aggrieved and if the party leadership does not step in on time to address some of these challenges, it could be a serious challenge.
Sani, who spoke during an interview monitored from Channels Television programme of Politics Today on Thursday, however, said that the party has a chance on winning the 2019 election if the grievances are addressed now.
A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, who also spoke during the programme, said anyone whose allegiance is not to the president has no business being in the cabinet, saying that the options open to such an individual is either to resign or be sacked.
He said people are only thinking about their political ambitions and how to get power rather than serving the people, noting that most of the cabinet members have allegiance to their sponsors and not Buhari.
But the APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, has said that the race for 2019 is a decision that only Buhari could make, saying that, “The president is focused on building the country and restoring its lost glory”.
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