The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend revealed that it would not grant any of its leading presidential aspirants automatic ticket.
ThisDay reports that the disclosure was made on phone by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, who explained that the decision was in reaction to the mounting pressure from certain group within the party.
Muhammed was said to have further revealed that some elements within the party were agitating for concessions that would favour former military Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) as the party’s flag bearer for the 2015 presidential election.
The national publicity secretary, went ahead to categorically state that granting an automatic ticket would never be possible in APC, assuring that there is nothing like automatic ticket for anyone, and insisted that party will do no such thing.
“Most of these people who habour such thoughts do not have access to the party leaders, including Tinubu and Buhari. We intend to showcase our internal democracy. As a matter of fact, we intend to showcase a model of internal democracy for other parties to emulate, “he said.
Muhammed hinted that APC National Working Committee (NWC) meeting is slated for Wednesday, where the leadership is expected to work out the modalities for the party’s primaries ahead the presidential elections.
It was further gathered that although the party has rejected the idea of automatic ticket for any of its candidate, there were speculations that some interest groups in the opposition party are taking advantage of the occurrence to cause controversy since the party is yet to completely overcome the plot to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket as its presidential candidate and running mate.
It was also gathered the decision against the idea of automatic ticket did not go down well with the supporters of leading presidential contenders like former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Kano State Governor Ibrahim Kwankwaso, and Senator Bukola Saraki.
However, a group of loyalists to the former military head of state have reportedly continued mounting pressure on the party leaders to consider granting Buhari concessions and urge others contenders to back down and support him.
Meanwhile, a party chieftain who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that the solicitation for automatic for Buhari was in line with the merger agreement allegedly reached between Bola Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
The source said the agreement was to anoint the party’s standard-bearer without going through an election, which is obviously not going well with Kwankwaso, Saraki and Atiku supporters.
It would be recalled that the All Progressive Congress (APC) was formed in February 2013, through the merger of four Nigeria’s biggest opposition parties comprising the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with the aiming of outing the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) out of power.
The party which is already having internal issues in Lagos, on September 3, 2014 experienced the pulling out of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, as announced by Prince Adesina Olayokun, the state’s APGA chairman.
However, the party had earlier announced that it would start its primary elections in October 2014, to enable them nominate a presidential candidate for the 2015 general election.