Exclusive: APC may drop zoning, set to vie candidate from the North
Inspite of odds, APC stands better chance of winning 2023 Presidential election
IROHINOODUA NEWS ANALYSIS
The All Progressives Congress, (APC) is set to drop zoning of the post of the President in the party’s forthcoming primaries, Irohinoodua has been reliably informed.
A top member of the party who chose anonymity said the party is ‘unlikely to adopt zoning in the coming primary, the party official said in an interview in Abuja. He said the thinking of influential figures and caucuses in the party is to throw the contest for the President open to all parties including people form the core North and the middle belt. While this looks good and democratic in principle, it remains the best strategy for the emergence of another Northern Presidential candidate. As at now, not picking a candidate from the North appears not in the picture except some fresh variables emerge like a popular agitation from the South or sudden change in the destiny of key actors in the Presidency.
‘I can assure you that APC will not adopt zoning. The Presidential race will be thrown open to everyone. The person with the highest number of votes at the primary will emerge as the winner of the election’ he said.
Caucuses within the APC: How strong?
The APC currently has three major caucuses: The Presidency; the Tinubu group and the Congress for Progressives Change, (CPC) caucus. The Presidency caucus is made up of various interest groups across the country who aligned with the position of President Mohammadu Buhari’s policy direction of the APC, these groups include a faction of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC) and certain fringe elements opposed to godfathers in their states or geo-political zones seeking refuge in the Presidency. The second group is the Asiwaju Tinubu group, based in Lagos. They are largely former members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) and some state governors in the North and Southern part of the country. At present, the Presidency and the CPC caucus are similar but not the same. While the Presidency caucus is dominated by the CPC, forming its nucleus, the CPC caucus is a puritan cell made up of only members of Presidency Buhari’s original political party formed long before he forged alliance with the ACN which transformed into the current APC. The thinking in the CPC caucus is that producing another President from the North is the surest way to consolidate the drastic alteration of Nigeria’s political and economic history under the President Buhari regime. Far reaching decisions have been taken by the regime, like RUGA, skewed appointments, the Petroleum Industry Bill, the opening up of the Maghreb region to Nigeria and the control of strategic portfolios which the CPC thinks can only be sustained through a conscious surrogate.
The CPC caucus is thus the main faction in the currently veiled leadership tussle in the APC and by far the caucus that stands on the position of strength to determine who emerges the next Presidential candidate of the APC. At the apex of the CPC caucus are the President, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Mallami; the Minister of Digital Communication, Issa Pantami, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El Rufai, Alhaji Mamman Duara and the former Social Democratic Party, (SDP) Vice Presidential candidate, the Chief of Staff to the President, Gambari Alhaji Babangana Gingibe among many others. This group controls the Presidency with the support of certain satellite political interests outside the CPC caucus. The CPC and the Presidency have conveniently taken over the structure of the party at least at the national level. The Chairman of the APC National Committee, Yobe State Governor, Mai Malla Buni is also part of the caucus and are currently in full control of the APC structures. The current APC Executive, under the armpit of the CPC caucus holds the ace. The caucus is also responsible for the massive drive in recruitment which has seen the APC bringing into the fold at least three serving state governors of Ebonyi, (Dave Umahi) Cross Rivers (Prof Ben Ayade) and lately, Zamfara (Bello Matawalle). Delegates from these states will follow the decisions of the CPC caucus. With the new entries, APC now controls 21 states out of the 36 states putting the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) at the greatest disadvantage far more that the party had ever since its inception. The other advantage they think, is that PDP is likely to pick its Presidential candidate from the North, a chance the APC is not ready to throw away. Yet, picking Vice Presidential candidate from the South is destined to throw the region, whose political actors are less famous for principle, into the desperate scramble for personal carrots with less consideration for the people.
Can the APC win the Next Presidential Election?
The prospect of APC, inspite of all its shortcomings, wining the next Presidential election is stronger than ever before for four reasons: The party controls more states and no one is in doubt about the power of state governors in giving direction to the electoral race; the APC is far richer than any of its contenders; thirdly, the opposition PDP is weak, disorganised and lack any inspiring ideology to carve itself out as the party with alternative renaissance programme for the Nigerian people. Apart from the PDP, the APC though faces serious opposition from the masses but only as individuals, not as an organised front making it easy for the ruling party to demolish. There are pockets of new efforts but largely inexperienced, poorly coordinated and lacking the sleepless commitment and resources, and devoid of strategy for national mobilisation along popular programmes.
Fourthly, the next election will see dwindling participation of many Nigerians who have lost hope in the electoral process leaving the field for only party members driven by office privileges rather than the interest of the people. While this is not good for democracy, it is good for the less patriotic political parties. These four factors combined, will ensure the victory of the APC in a country where democracy is no longer about the people but largely about a few people controlling the institutions of governance for the sake of personal wealth and power. However, there are the consequences of unseen and natural factors.
The future of the APC depends of President Buhari, the main actor on the stage. If he leaves the party, which is not likely, the spectators will quit the stadium, leaving the party in disarray. Can there be a new national realignment to challenge the APC? This is a possibility but very remote: The main actors will first of all prove their hands are clean and can escape the dragnets of anti-corruption claws, this is very unlikely. Even if a realignment occurs, they still need to contend with the stupendous wealth and resources of a state now in the hands of very intelligent political actors who nevertheless are naive and destructive not only of the people’s future but also short-sighted about the prospect of sustaining the threatened advantage of a ruling class guided by greed and avarice that today faces arms uprising across the country, yet have failed to show wisdom in taming the loose tigers ravaging the country.