A report by Sunday Punch indicates that the presidential aspirants in the All Progressives Congress (APC), except a former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are open to the idea of the candidate of the party emerging through consensus.
Telescope.ng gathered that the consensus method would entail the President Muhammadu Buhari anointing one of the aspirants, while the others simply step down for him as was done during the March 26 national convention of the APC, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman.
It was gathered that all the governors on the platform of the ruling party had also adopted the method at the state level.
However, based on the Electoral Act, any aspirant who agrees to step down must do so in writing. Anything short of this will make the consensus option impossible.
According to the report, in a bid to force the consensus method, the APC had introduced a controversial section in its forms for aspirants to sign that they would step down. However, it was learnt that this was rejected by the aspirants.
Some major aspirants have begun reaching out to the less popular ones with a view to making them to step down with promises that money used in purchasing forms will be refunded or promises of they will be given juicy appointments.
The newspaper also noted that the president would this week meet with the aspirants with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.
An APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous said: “The president will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping. The president has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge.”
Buhari’s special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, had said last week that the president indeed had a preferred candidate.
He stated: “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.
“That shows you that the president himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate, but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”