From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director General Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, has thrown his weight behind the proposal from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to settle for a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
Chatting with reporters after the Sallah holiday in Abuja on Thursday, Okechukwu, commended the leadership of the ruling party for proposing the presentation of a consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential poll.
He also insisted that President Buhari, to the best of his knowledge, has no succession agreement with the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ahead of the 2023 presidential poll.
According to him, ‘one slept well last night after reading the profound statement from the social media credited to D1istinguished Senator John Akpanudedehe, our National Secretary that at the appropriate time APC will come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate that will fly its flag in 2023.
‘I hail the consensus proposal for it is a deft move which will perish the phobia of the implosion of our great party as touted by some naysayers,’ Okechukwu said.
The National Secretary, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), had stated that the adoption of a consensus is one that is bound to upset permutations by some pundits who are hoping that with 22 governors, majority parliamentarians at national and state levels and uncountable presidential hopefuls that the APC will definitely implode.
He said that, unlike the opposition PDP, the APC was a disciplined party, noting that the former was just been haunted by its past.
Okechukwu also reacted to whether the adoption of consensus is bound to be a double-edged sword for notable aspirants such as the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom Senator Rufai Hanga noted there was an agreement with President Buhari to succeed him.
‘First, it is refreshing that President Buhari is not for 3rd term agenda. Secondly, in my slightest imagination, one doesn’t think any committee handling such a delicate matter will miss out on our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the matrix. Methinks, he will be among the top aspirants to be considered, given his immense contribution to the success of our great party in 2015,’ Okechukwu noted.
Prodded further to confirm whether there was an agreement between Mr President and Tinubu for succession as Senator Hanga alleged, the VON DG quipped: ‘As I said when asked last week, as a member of the defunct CPC, I never heard of such an agreement and most importantly Mr President is not, won’t to or better put rarely enter into any formal or informal agreement with anybody. But he appreciates good deeds.
‘All I know was that Asiwaju automatically could have been the Vice President if not for what lawyers will call force majeure. For our leadership warned against Muslim/Muslim tickets.
‘Our leadership then argued that the Abiola/Kingibe Muslim/Muslim ticket which worked in 1993 may not work in 2015 if Buhari/Tinubu both Muslims were to run as the scenario differs. That was how Asiwaju nominated Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as a replacement,’ he argued.
Asked whether Asiwaju will still be the consensus candidate, Okechukwu argued that he is just an ordinary member of the APC and cannot by any stretch of imagination decide for the over 40 million members of the APC.
‘Who am I, an ordinary member to decide for the over 40 million membership of the APC. As a political scientist, all I fear is Governor Bala Mohemmed PDP Committee’s report which recommended open contest, rather than rotation. It is a big albatross to the rotation of the president to the south.
‘Albeit the PDP by throwing it open, is covertly plotting to harvest Buhari’s 12 million Vote-Bank. Indeed, a lot of people take it that PDP is tacitly waiting in the wings for APC to go south and they go north to quickly harvest the Buhari’s Vote-Bank, domiciled mostly in the north,’ he noted.