APC picks presidential candidate today

Buhari, Atiku, Kwankwaso,
Okorocha, Nda-Isaiah slug it
out All eyes are fixated on the main opposition party, the All
Progressives Congress, APC, as it
holds its national convention
between today and tomorrow in
Lagos to elect its presidential
candidate for the February 14,
2015 election.

image


Five political juggernauts are
jostling to pick the opposition
party’s presidential ticket.
They are: former Head of State,
Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari;
former Vice President Atiku
Abubakar; Kano and Imo states
governors, Rabiu Musa
Kwankwaso and Owelle Rochas
Okorocha respectively and a
newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-
Isaiah.

Political analysts were not ready
yesterday to predict who wins but
one of the northern candidates –
Buhari, Atiku and Kwankwaso – is
expected to emerge.

Buhari has aspired for the office
thrice in 2003, 2007 and 2011 on
the platform of the defunct All
Nigeria peoples Party, ANPP, and
Congress for Progressive Change,
CPC, which are part of the legacy
parties that became APC.

In all three previous attempts, he
had emerged first runner up to
former President Olusegun
Obasanjo, late President Umaru
Musa Yar’Adua and incumbent
President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former Vice President Abubakar is
also not new to the race as he
contested for the presidency in
2007 under the platform of then
Action Congress, AC. He also
contested for the PDP ticket with
Jonathan, in 2011.

Also, Okorocha has been in the
race for the Presidency, traversing
different political parties including
PDP, the defunct All Peoples
Party, APP, Action Alliance, AA,
APGA and now APC.
Winner of the APC primaries is
expected to slug it out with
incumbent President Jonathan,
who is the sole presidential
candidate of the ruling PDP in the
February 14, 2015 presidential
election.

Abubakar, speaking through the
director-general of his campaign
organisation, Prof Babalola
Borisade, expressed optimism that
he will emerge the preferred
choice of the delegates, pledging
that he will however remain in the
party to support the eventual
winner if he fails to pick the
ticket.

About 8,000 delegates will vote,
consisting of all members of its
Board of Trustees, BoT; all
members of the National
executive Committee, NEC; service
and past presidents and vice
presidents, who are party
members; serving and past
governors and deputy governors
who are party members; serving
and past members of the National
Assembly who are party members
make up the delegates, in line
with provisions of Article 12 (1) of
the party’s constitution
Others are serving and past
Speakers, deputy speakers and
other principal officers of state
Houses of Assemblies who are
party members, members of the
party’s states working
committees, SWCs, including the
Federal Capital Territory, FCT, of
the party; all chairmen and
secretaries of the party at the
local government council and
local development council areas,
LCDAs, in the country; all elected
chairmen of local government
areas and LCDAs in the country
who are members of the party
and three elected delegates, at
least of which one must be a
woman, from each local
government areas and LCDAs in
the country.

APC National Publicity Secretary,
Lai Mohammed, said that
delegates were expected to start
arriving Lagos yesterday, while
accreditation is to commence
today.
He said that “delegates from the
six geo-political zones are to
report for accreditation at the
designated centres from 7 am
today, before moving to the venue
of the convention at Teslim
Balogun Stadium.”

The epoch-making event will
signal whether the opposition
party is actually ready to do
battle with the PDP, for the
nation’s Presidency come 2015,
as it is the first time the
opposition party will put to test
its internal democracy
mechanism.

Explaining the choice of Lagos as
host, APC National Convention
Committee Chairman and former
Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode
Fayemi, said this was due to the
fact that a proposed date for an
Abuja event clashed with the
PDP’s convention date.

According to him, “We originally
wanted to hold our national
convention in Abuja because
naturally Abuja is the place to
hold an event of this nature.
“However, we had identified a
date to hold the party convention
in Abuja and due to some
exigencies we had to change that
date. It so happened that the new
date we choose now coincides
with the date the PDP also
choose for its national convention.
“Understandably, the Eagles
Square that we wanted to book
had been booked for the day. But
it was not just because of that
day but because of the nature of
this event.

As you know, anywhere our President is going to appear, upwards of three to four days before then, given the
security situation, the venue is
taken over by the security
agencies. We then looked at other
options.”

Fayemi added that “only Lagos
successfully met all the factors
that are considered to be critical
to the success” of APC’s
convention.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police
Command said yesterday that it
had deployed enough policemen
to provide adequate security
during the convention.
The Nigeria Security and Civil
Defence Corps, NSCDC, also said
it that had deployed its officers to
assist in providing security during
the event.

The state Police Public Relations
Officer, PPRO, said: “We have
enough men on ground who are
adequately kitted for the
primaries.
“We know the responsibility for
the process to be credible is
rested on us and we are aware of
it.

“We are willing, as usual, to
discharge that responsibility to
the best of our ability just like we
have been doing in all other
elections.

“We know tomorrow’s election
will be a bigger one and we
expect more people to come into
the state.”
He added that a number of police
personnel had been deployed for
the exercise.

“The Commissioner of Police, Mr
Kayode Aderanti, was around
yesterday to see things for himself
and he will be moving around
today to monitor the situation
again.

“Arrangements have been put in
place like traffic control, security,
surveillance, sniffer dogs and
every other thing needed to
ensure a hitch-free convention.
“We are deploying our full arsenal
to make sure that the election is
credible,” he said.
Also, Mr. Chibuzo Mefor, Public
Relations Officer, Lagos State
Command of NSCDC, said the
corps had deployed 500 officers
to collaborate with the police to
provide security.

He said the officers were already
on ground from Tuesday and
would keep vigil at the venue
ahead of the convention.
In the same vein, the Federal
Road Safety Corps, FRSC, said it
would deploy over 100 officers
and 15 patrol vehicles for the
convention.

The Lagos Sector Commander of
the corps, Mr. Hyginus Omeje,
said that arrangement had been
put in place to ensure free-flow of
vehicular movement in the state.
“Regarding the convention that is
coming tomorrow (today), we
have noted the venue where the
convention is going to take place.
“We have identified the critical
traffic bottlenecks, especially the
junctions that link those areas.
Ours is to ensure free-flow of
traffic within those axes.
“But we will not allow Lagosians
to be trapped in traffic because of
any convention.

“For the locations we have
mapped out, we will deploy more
than 100 officers to them.
“And we are going to deploy
nothing less than 15 vehicles,
including our tow trucks,” he said.
The FRSC boss said that the
command would, however, not
move close to the venue for fear
of being labelled partisan.

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