Some aspirants for the chairmanship of All Progressives Congress (APC), including ex-Governor Tanko Al-Makura, have rejected the party’s plan to zone national offices and pick officers through consensus.
The aspirants, who described the adoption of zoning and consensus as a plot to exclude them from the contest, said they will resist it.
According to sources, the contenders were miffed by the widely reported story of President Muhammadu Buhari’s purported endorsement of Senator Abdullahi Ahmed, former governor of Nasarawa State, Northcentral.
Although an official zoning arrangement is yet to be released by the party, the remark by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai that the governors, after their Monday meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari agreed to zone and swap positions between the South and North has generated controversy.
An aspirant from the Northwest said he would challenge any attempt by the party to foist zoning on the platform.
A source close to him said a team of lawyers have been contacted to challenge the move to exempt him out.
He said: “My principal has since yesterday engaged the services of some legal experts to challenge any zoning arrangement that will shut us out of the March 26 national convention.
“This is a race that has been on for over a year, only for some party officials and governors to now want to impose zoning on us. We shall resist it and we shall challenge it whenever the party releases an official position.”
Another aspirant from the Northeast said he will not dismantle his campaign structure, despite zoning.
A member of his campaign organisation, who confided in our correspondent in Abuja, said the aspirant will not honour any zoning arrangement.
He said: “We are set for the convention. We are not going to collapse our structure. This is democracy. Our principal is ready to submit himself to the delegates at the convention.”
The Al-Makura Campaign Organisation (ACO) denounced the purported endorsement of any aspirant, insisting that Al-Makura will contest.
A statement by the Director of New Media of ACO, Segun Tomori, in Abuja said: “The attention of the Al-Makura Campaign Organisation (ACO) has been drawn to wide speculations and propaganda making the rounds in some news outlets that President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the candidacy of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu as the next chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We have been inundated with calls and apprehension by Sen. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura’s teeming supporters across the country. Therefore, we decided to respond, and set the records straight.”
What transpired at the meeting of the governors with the President was the ratification of the new convention date and agreement on the zoning formula. On the issue of who becomes chairman, the President asked that consultations continue to produce a credible and widely acceptable choice as a consensus candidate.”
Tomori added: “Al-Makura fits the bill. Across the length and breadth of the country, Al-Makura is seen as a bridge-builder, a leader imbued with a calm temperament, renowned with impeccable mobilisation skills and political sagacity that ensured he defeated the then entrenched Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State.
“It is no wonder that the “who is who” in Nasarawa political echelon have since thrown their weight behind him and being the political son of the President as the only Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) governor that aided the consummation of the merger, we can almost deduce where the pendulum of presidential backing will swing.”
Urging supporters to remain focused and steadfast, he said the former governor will continue his consultations and mobilisation.
Another aspirant, Mohammed Saidu Etsu, said in a statement that the purported endorsement was unacceptable, insisting that nothing can stop him from contesting.
Etsu said he was not consulted over any endorsement.
“Politics is about people, whether directly or indirectly, nominations and consensus should be a game of numbers. We have over 41 million registered APC members across the country, with a number of them being involved in the internal party decision-making process. most of which, I know that are not aware of this claim.”
Etsu said he was set to purchase the nomination form for the convention as soon as the party was ready to start sales of forms.