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14 Apr 2018

2019: APC Bigwigs Lobby CNM, SDP, LP, Accord For Presidential Tickets

Following the recent declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election in the 2019 elections, some bigwigs in the ruling All Progressives Congress, whose presidential ambitions have been threatened by the President’s move, have been talking to other parties to get their presidential tickets, Saturday PUNCH findings have shown.
The Social Democratic Party, the Labour Party, the Accord Party and the Coalition for Nigeria Movement confirmed on Friday that they had been receiving overtures from APC governors, senators and other chieftains of the party interested in contesting in the presidential election.

Although the CNM is not a political party, it is a growing political platform established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which could have influence on future elections.

However, none of the parties and the CNM was willing to give out the names of the APC chieftains and members of the other parties that had approached them for presidential tickets.

President Buhari had on Monday officially announced his intention to seek re-election in 2019 at the APC National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja.

Though the APC had said that Buhari wouldn’t be the party’s sole aspirant, it is believed in many quarters that he would eventually secure the party’s presidential ticket.

APC govs, senators reaching out to us –SDP, LP, AP

The SDP told Saturday PUNCH that several governors and senators in the APC had approached the party, seeking to become its presidential aspirant since the President’s declaration appeared to have shut them out of the race.

The SDP’s Spokesperson, Alfa Mohammed, who confirmed this in an interview, however, said he could not disclose names yet, as events were still unfolding.

Mohammed said, “Prominent and progressive-minded APC members are discussing with us. They include serving senators and governors.

“But, we will not give automatic tickets to any of them. It is the will of the national delegates at our convention that will prevail.

Similarly, the National Chairman, Labour Party, Dr. Mike Omotosho, said many political bigwigs from the ruling party had been making overtures to get the party’s presidential ticket. He, however, declined to mention their names.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Friday, he added that some Nigerians in the Diaspora had also been making moves for the party’s presidential slot.

He said, “We have more than five political bigwigs from the APC talking to us about their interests. We will present a presidential candidate; it is not about their interest but the ideology they are bringing in. Their ideology must tally with providing equal opportunities and social justice. If their manifestoes are not about the masses, there is no way we can work with such a candidate.

“We have not taken any decision yet because there is strong internal democracy in our party. We have to take the decision at the special convention where the presidential candidate of the party will be chosen. We are currently having our bridal dance.”

Efforts by Saturday PUNCH to speak with the National Secretary of the Accord Party, Adebukola  Ajaja, were not successful as she was said to be meeting with some politicians in Abuja.

But one of the party’s chieftains in Oyo State, Sheu Odedele, said the party had been receiving overtures from some chieftains of the APC and other parties interested in contesting in the presidential election, saying that three of them were being considered for the party’s presidential ticket.

He said, “The Accord Party is the party for Nigerians. We have been approached by notable politicians, including members of the ruling party. It is too early to give their names because we are still considering their profiles.

“The three candidates are from the North. Each of them is serious about being the presidential candidate of our party. The National Secretary, Ajaja, has been meeting the three candidates in Abuja for the past few days. One of them will be the presidential candidate of our party in the next election.

“Several APC members, who are now aggrieved, are also joining our party. In Oyo State, a number of them have declared their interest in being the party’s governorship candidate.”

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