2023: Disquiet in APC over consensus option

Controversy is raging within the All Progressives Congress, (APC), party over which zone would produce the presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 polls.

This is especially as the party is yet to resolve issues of zoning and how candidates would be fielded across the board.

According to feelers, the party is still navigating the country’s political murky waters, characterised by crises and conflicts of interest, anxiety and uncertainty, among others.

This is considering that it is yet to redefine itself by organising a national convention where a new crop of National Working Committee (NWC) members that would lead the party to the much-touted 2023 poll would emerge.

Recall that the Secretary of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, in an issued statement on Wednesday, in Abuja, noted that at the appropriate time, the APC would pick a consensus presidential candidate for 2023.

The statement was in reaction to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) recent allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari had a self-succession plan.

However, it was gathered from multiple sources within the party that the statement had caused stir and apprehension among stalwarts, as some felt it was calculating how to scheme some aspirants from other blocs out of the race and “plant” a preferred candidate.

The statement, observers argued, was too early, considering that the aspirants were yet to start obtaining their expression of interest and nomination forms and yet to meet with the party’s top echelon over a consensus agreement. This is despite internal wrangling in some State chapters of the party and among various blocks.

Following the furore that greeted the statement, Senator Akpanudoedehe on Thursday issued another statement, saying the party would not impose any candidate.

The party’s national convention, which should have addressed the issue, is now postponed indefinitely without following due process and the party’s constitution.

However, agitations are coming from both the northern and southern political gladiators for different reasons. It was gathered that scheming and machinations by various blocs to produce the presidential candidate and national chairman of the party have begun.

There are three main blocs in the party, but there exist smaller caucuses – the bloc of the presidency, national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camp and that of the governors, who are members of the party.

Party members are, however, thrown into the dark considering that President Buhari had extended the timeline for the Governor Buni-led caretaker committee, which was supposed to organise a national convention before the expiration of its second term timeline in June, 2021, failed to do so as President Buhari extended its timeline indefinitely, after they had already served for one year, with the approval of the NEC, which is the second-highest decision-making organ of the party, after the convention.

With the processes leading to the conduct of the party’s congresses put in place, its national leadership has asked contestants and stakeholders at various levels to uphold consensus arrangements rather than primary polls.

According to impeccable sources yesterday, if the issue of the presidential ticket is not meticulously handled, the party would be entangled in another intense crisis that would consume it in 2023.

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