Ahead of the 2023 general elections, some governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are plotting to cede the presidential ticket of the party to the North, Daily Independent has gathered.
This was revealed to Daily Independent by one among the governors within the party who is from the Southern a part of the country at the weekend.
When asked if the presidential ambition of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was a joke, the governor – who asked to not be named – said he believed his counterpart in Kogi was serious as there had been a clamor by a number of his colleagues within the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) that the North retains the presidency after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
While saying the APC governors who wanted the party to zone the ticket to the North was within the majority, he, however, said the opposite governors from the South were watching the event and would make their stance known at the acceptable time.
When pressed further on why the governors wanted the North to retain the ticket, he said there have been strong indications that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would pick its presidential ticket from the Northern a part of the country which the APC governors “felt the necessity to match the power facility”.
He said: “Honestly, I don’t know his (Bello) mind, but from what I even have seen, I feel he’s serious about running for the presidency and he features a right to try to do so. albeit the APC zones the ticket to the South, that won’t stop him from exercising his right if he feels he has what it takes to swing the delegates’ votes to his side.
“But what I do know is that a number of them are canvassing that the North should still produce the candidate. that’s absurd to a number of us supported the very fact that President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, are going to be completing eight years in 2023. However, they argue that with feelers that the PDP may zone its ticket to the North, it’ll be wise for the APC to try to do likewise so that they will match the facility for power, or divide the votes within the region.
“Another argument they canvassed was that if the PDP presents a Northern presidential candidate and therefore the APC fields a Northerner, there’s a probability that the Northern electorate would queue behind their own.”
Corroborating the governor’s claim, another chieftain of the party from the South West said the visual communication of the president and a few key APC leaders showed that the Southern a part of the country may lose call at the presidential race.
On what would be the fate of the South East and South West, he said there have been feelers that the South East could also be considered for the vice-presidency slot while the southwest may get the Senate Presidency slot.
“I believe what the governor said. There are plans to scheme out the South West and people folks who are here are watching the developments with keen interest.
“There are some things sinister about the continued membership registration process and I’m glad a number of our leaders here have expressed their reservations,” he said.
Also speaking on the difficulty, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, a former governor of Edo State and an APC chieftain, said he would be surprised if the ticket was zoned to the North given the very fact that the foundation documents of the party recognized rotation of the presidency between North and South.
“Yes, I will be able to be surprised if the ticket is zoned to the North. this is often because of the inspiration documents of APC and therefore the understanding by its leadership at its formation recognized rotation of the presidency between the North and the South, among other matters.
“I expect that this may be respected. However, should there be compelling reasons for the party to make a decision otherwise for overriding national interest or cogent reasons, the party is at liberty to review its position,” he said.
It would be recalled that there are divergent views over the zoning of the presidential ticket within the APC.
Last year, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had urged the party to respect its zoning formula in picking its presidential candidate for the 2023 elections. He had described the choice on the core of the agreement reached by APC founding fathers before the 2015 elections.
Fashola, who was Lagos State governor when the APC was founded and was a critical stakeholder at the time, said: “The truth is that what makes an agreement spectacular is that the honor during which it’s made, not whether it’s written.
“If it had been written, there would be no lawsuits of breach of contract because it’s a document that’s written and signed that goes to court. The private agreement you create together with your brother and sister shouldn’t be breached. It must be honoured.”