Buhari’s CPC Block insists on picking Tinubu’s running mate

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Efforts by the ruling All Progres­sives Congress (APC) to name a vice presidential candidate, who will run with the party’s presi­dential flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is currently meeting re­sistance by some members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who are insisting that it is their right to do so.

Already, the Independent Na­tional Electoral Commission (INEC) has given a deadline of June 17 to presidential candidates to name their running mates.

Daily Independent gathered from reliable sources that the APC will announce its vice pres­idential candidate tomorrow.

In 2013, four political parties, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the Action Con­gress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a faction of the All Progres­sives Grand Alliance (APGA) merged to form the APC on whose  platform Buhari contested and finally won 2015 the presidential election.

The CPC founded by President Muhammadu Buhari and the ACN led by Tinubu were the two domi­nant political parties in the merger. The party was later joined by some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who labeled themselves as New PDP (nPDP).

When Buhari was elect­ed as the APC’s presiden­tial candidate in December 2014 following the primary held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, the vice presidential slot was ceded to Tinubu’s ACN.

Although Tinubu was interested in becoming the running mate, some stake­holders in the party who were opposed to a Mus­lim-Muslim ticket reject­ed him and he was given the privilege to nominate a Christian candidate he desired.

The former Lagos State governor then nominated Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), the current vice president who contested against him in last week’s presidential primary of the APC but came third behind Tinubu and former Rivers State governor and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

Speaking with Daily Independent on Monday, a former senator from the CPC camp said they have already notified President Buhari and Tinubu that their group should pro­duce the vice presidential candidate.

He added that even though Tinubu has emerged as the party’s presidential candidate, the decision to pick the running mate is not his alone to make but that of the entire stakeholders in the party.

“On the issue of running mate to Asiwaju, there are two main issues involved. First is the issue of religion where a lot of people have been talking about whether a Muslim-Muslim ticket is acceptable or not.

“That to us is not a prob­lem. It has happened in this country before and it can still happen if we truly love ourselves and we are con­cerned about the unity and progress of Nigeria.

“Some people are saying because MKO Abiola did it in 1993 and won doesn’t mean it can happen now be­cause it is almost 30 years ago. My question is, what has really changed between 1993 and now? Those who ignored religious senti­ments and voted then for a Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian tick­et, are they not reasonable people?

“For us, the second is­sue which is most import­ant is that the APC must honour the unwritten agreement we had and al­low the CPC camp to pro­duce the vice presidential candidate to Asiwaju. We don’t care whether the person is a Muslim or Christian.

“We have written to President Buhari and our presidential candidate, Asi­waju, that the pact must be honoured. When Buhari became candidate then, we all agreed that the ACN must produce the running mate and it was so. Now, it is our turn to name the run­ning mate and we have also forwarded some names for consideration.

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“Few days ago, Asiwaju said it is my turn to become APC presidential candidate and Northern governors rallied behind him and he emerged. We too are now saying it is our turn to produce the vice presiden­tial candidate and we want relevant stakeholders in the party to accede to our request”.

When contacted, a mem­ber of the National Work­ing Committee (NWC) of the APC asked our corre­spondent to ignore the ag­itators as there is nothing like CPC or ACN members again following the merger.

“There is nothing like CPC, ACN or ANPP again. What happened in 2014 was that the party conceded the VP position to Tinubu and he nominated Osinbajo. The position was not given to ACN caucus.

“If today, the party de­cides to give President Bu­hari the privilege of choos­ing the vice presidential candidate, that is under­standable but not saying it must go to CPC or ACN or ANPP. We don’t have such groups again.”

Also speaking with Dai­ly Independent, Otunba Bosun Oladele, a former member of the House of Representatives, who is the National Secretary of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA ’23), said what should be of paramount importance to all APC members is how the party can retain power after the 2023 presidential election.

He said, “Just like every member of an association will have a right in laying claim to whatever position is available in the associa­tion, if the CPC faction is saying they have the right to produce the vice presi­dential candidate, I want to concede to them that they have the right just like ev­ery other legacy groups that formed the APC.

“Definitely, the leader­ship of the APC will take these and many more things into consideration in deciding who gets what just like it has always done in the past.

“But I want to categori­cally state that the essence of APC continuing in leading this country is to ensure that the paradigm shift that has been initiat­ed, the programmes and the renewal activities in terms of infrastructures and developments are well sustained.

“You cannot ensure sus­tenance from outside. You have to be the main player and driver of sustainabili­ty. That is why it is sacro­sanct that APC remain in power. The most import­ant concern of every APC member is how can we win election? It is only when we win that we can continue with our developmental programmes for the coun­try”.

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