APC Works Towards Buhari-Tinubu Presidential Ticket

As the All Progressives Congress (APC) prepares for its ward, state and national congresses, it has emerged that the leadership of the party may have quietly decided to settle for a Major-General Muhammadu Buhari-Senator Bola
Tinubu presidential ticket to contest the 2015 presidential election.

Reliable party sources said that the decision to field Buhari and Tinubu as
APC’s presidential and vice-presidential
candidates respectively, was informed by the massive votes, which the pairing of both men could garner for the party during the election.

By the party’s calculations, Buhari, who remains very popular at the grassroots level in most parts of the North-west and North-East,alongside Tinubu, who is from the South-west,will be banking on an estimated 44,848,911 registered voters who accounted for 61 per cent of total registered voters of 73,528,040, in the 2011 election.

This is in contrast to the 27,735,678 registered voters in the North-central, South-south and the South-east zone combined, who accounted for 39 per cent of total registered voters in the
2011 election.

APC’s strategists are also confident that with Tinubu as Buhari’s running mate, the pair will be able to secure the bulk of the 2,941,214 votes cast for Jonathan in the South-west and Edo State in 2011.

According to an APC source, “With Buhari and Tinubu as presidential and vice-presidential candidates respectively, our goal is to secure the core north and South-west, which are the most populous sections of the country and can guarantee us at least 50 per cent of the total votes in the country during the presidential election.”

On the impact of the Muslim-Muslim ticket on the electorate, especially with the insurgency in the North-east which has resulted in the deaths of so many Christians, he said the party had decided to forge ahead with the ticket because it is certain that it has a winning formula.

“Initially, Buhari’s handlers and Tinubu’s men were hesitant due to the Muslim-Muslim pairing. But they have decided that it should not be an issue,

irrespective of the accusations by the
ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that APC is a Muslim party.

“Lest you forget, Tinubu is an extremely liberal Muslim and is married to a Christian, and has been known to attend church services during weddings, funerals and other special occasions.

“Like most South-westerners, he is quite liberal and we hope this would persuade Christian voters that they have nothing to fear. So Buhari and Tinubu have reached a quiet agreement to contest on a joint platform, with the latter already setting up structures nationwide,” he said.

He further explained that by fielding Buhari and Tinubu for the 2015 presidential election,former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who joined APC recently, has effectively been left
out in the cold.

“We know that if there is a free and fair
presidential primary, there is a major likelihood that Atiku has the resources to muster a victory.

“However, Buhari, who initially had concerns about the merger between the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has grown more confident
in the alliance.

“Besides, he and Tinubu worked too hard to ensure the merger took place, so it would be foolhardy for someone to come in from outside after APC has been formed to think he can get the presidential ticket of the party just because he has deep pockets,” the APC source said.

When asked how party stalwarts such as the River State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, who has been against a Muslim-Muslim ticket, would react to the pairing of Buhari and Tinubu, another party source who was familiar with
developments, acknowledged that the issue had been tabled and the party had evolved a strategy that will handover the party leadership to Amaechi and the PDP group by making Sam Jaja the party chairman.

He said: “We know Amaechi and other former PDP governors who joined the party may prove to be difficult. So our plan is to ensure he secures the senatorial ticket on our platform and wins the election to go to the Senate.

“But before this happens, we shall immediately make Sam Jaja, who is his kinsman, the chairman of APC. Then when Amaechi becomes a senator, our goal is to see him emerge as the
senate president, following which Jaja will be asked to step down as the party’s chairman to ensure ethnic balancing.”

It is not clear how Atiku and other past PDP members who defected to APC would react,however, Buhari and the Tinubu group are. determined to midwife the party they created through the merger of ACN, CPC and ANPP.

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