Presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), among them Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo; the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, amongst others, are to battle for 7,800 delegates to grab the party’s ticket for the 2023 general elections.
According to a document obtained from the party leaders, a total of 7,800 delegates are going to participate in the selection of the presidential candidate of the ruling party.
Aside from the trio, five other aspirants; Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, business tycoon, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, a former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, amongst others, have indicated an interest in the race.
The Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, is set to declare after the Ramadan fast, as he has begun consultation ahead of his declaration. Also, a former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, is said to be planning to declare for the race.
The party had reportedly fixed May 30-31 for the conduct of its presidential primary election, where one of the aspirants would be elected to fly its flag for the 2023 presidential election.
Article 20 of the APC Constitution (as amended) this year, provided for the selection of candidates through consensus, direct or indirect primaries.
The composition of the delegates, according to a document, includes the National Chairman, one member of NEC from each State, serving and past presidents and vice presidents, serving and past governors and deputy serving and past lawmakers (federal and States), past Speakers, and deputies; principal officers of the State Houses of Assembly and past members of the National Working Committee, (NWC).
Others are members of the State Working Committee, (SWC) – each State has 17; LGA chairmen and secretaries; three national delegates from each of the 774 local government areas and elected chairmen.
An analysis of the list of the expected delegates showed that the North-West geo-political zone, regarded as the votes bank of the APC, topped the chart with 1, 924. Six out of the seven States in the zone are being governed by the APC, with Sokoto being the lone PDP State in the zone.
Coming second is the South-West geo-political zone, where Tinubu, Osinbajo, Fayemi and Amosun hail from. The zone has 1,568 delegates. Oyo is the lone PDP State in the region.
The North-Central came third, with 1,278, while the North-East came fourth, with 1, 212 delegates.
With 927 delegates, the South-South, where Amaechi hails from, came fifth. Five of the six States in the oil-rich zone are of the PDP.
The geo-political zone with the least delegates is the South-East, with 838 delegates. Of the five states in the zone, APC and PDP have two states each while All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has one, Anambra State.
Recall that the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, had recently said the party would pick either of the three options; direct, indirect and consensus to conduct its primaries.
While the position of some of the APC governors with respect to the presidential aspirants is clear, findings revealed that most of the contenders are pushing hard through other channels to get the buy-in of the delegates and other stakeholders.
Party sources told newsmen that a draft timetable designed by the NWC for the primaries would be debated and approved at the NEC meeting.
It was further gathered that the mode to be adopted for the party’s primaries would also be discussed and adopted.