- Tinubu Projected To Win As Frontline Aspirants Step Down For Him
- Osinbajo, Bakare, Amaechi, Onu Talk Tough
The ongoing presidential primary of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) at the Eagles Square, Abuja is throwing up surprises, drama and intriguing moments.
A national leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged as the leading candidate and is tipped to win the primary.
The exercise which began with 22 candidates has been narrowed down to 14 as many frontline aspirants stepped down for the former Lagos State governor.
Those, who stepped down for Tinubu were former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole; Senator Ajayi Boroffice and the only female aspirant, Uju Ohanenye.
Fayemi, who stepped down for Tinubu said: “Our brothers from the Northern Governors Forum of the APC have led by example by proposing to party members that the next candidate of our party and by God’s grace the next president of our country must come from the Southern part of this country and I have come to a difficult but necessary decision and that decision is that we must look for the most appropriate person at this time to do the job.
“I am prepared to sacrifice my ambition to be president of Nigeria. I am a young man and I still have a lot of time ahead of me and one person I have worked with in the trenches of democratic struggles and in the cause of governing Nigeria side by side, shoulder to shoulder, my mentor, my leader and supporter of mine and a great fighter for the unity of Nigeria that I will recommend to all my supporters and my delegates starting with the 48 delegates from Ekiti state alone and others from across the country is that you please accord me the respect to offer the support you are giving me to my elder brother, Asiwaju Tinubu.
“I am not doing him a favour but doing a duty of care for Nigeria.”
The development drew rapturous applause from delegates at the convention ground and has strengthened the chances of Tinubu to pick the ticket.
According to exit polls, Tinubu is likely to win most North-west, most South-west, some North-central and doing well in other places.
Meanwhile, aspirants engaged in last-minute campaigns as they asked delegates to vote for them.
Speaking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo advised delegates not to vote for someone they do not like.
Osinbajo, who was the last to address the delegates, had a hectic time trying to calm his supporters who sang praises of him.
For over five minutes, the crowd of enthusiastic supporters of the vice president disallowed him from speaking as they cheered him to high heavens.
Addressing the delegates, he said: “I am a Nigerian. I was born here. My parents were born here. I went to school here. I have worked here all my life.
“You cannot wish this country well and vote for somebody you don’t believe in. So, our dear delegates, when you vote tonight, be sure and know that your vote carried the answer to the prayers you have prayed for the future of our country – our children.
“Over the past several weeks, I have gone the length and breadth of this country. I have engaged with you deeply and we have had wide-ranging consultations. We have reasoned together about the future of our country and by the grace of God, I have served for the past seven years as Vice President. I have seen firsthand the nuances and complexities of the challenges that confront us as a nation.
“One thing is certain – our circumstances will not afford the next leader of our country any time to learn on the job. In discharging my duties as Vice President for the past seven years, I have been prepared in the most profound ways for the task that lies ahead and I will be ready from Day One.”
On his part, former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who refused to step down, urged delegates to hire him for the job but should also not hesitate to fire him should he fail to fulfil his electioneering pledges.
Addressing the delegates, Amaechi said: “Dear delegates, assess us by our contributions. Do not assess us by how much are we are here because if you assess us by how much we bring here, ask all of us what is our source of revenue? How did we get all these funds?
“The problem of the Nigerian state is all of us. Nigerian politicians will come and talk to you, bring out money and we accept them. Four years after, they will come back and still make the same promises. Do not vote for me if I lie to you. Do not vote for me if I have not performed but I have performed.
“There is a need to move forward, to ask Nigerians to hire me and fire me if I fail. If you vote for me, the first thing is that we must develop our economy, bringing it back to industrialization and production. We will rebuild our universities to be places of learning. There will be a rule of law. People will be punished for their crimes.”
Toeing the line of Osinbajo and Amaechi who refused to step down, fiery Pastor Tunde Bakare of The Citadel Global Community Church claimed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will come after some of the aspirants that contested in the APC presidential primary.
The fiery cleric made these remarks at the party’s special convention on Tuesday night.
“Many of these contestants, time will tell. The EFCC will soon be after them,” Bakare said.
Bakare also accused some of the contestants of “bringing delegates with delegates”.
He bragged that all he did was campaign via bulk SMS and expressed his confidence he will emerge as the 16th president of Nigeria.
“I respect every aspirant here, including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“But I am not stepping down for anyone.
“I am here by the grace of God to step up and contest to become the 16th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the cleric said.
Meanwhile, former Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has said there is no justice in having the APC fail to zone the 2023 presidency to the South East.
He expressed his pain while pitching his agenda to party delegates just before the commencement of voting at the presidential primary.
“What is very very important, exceptionally important, is that we must ensure that justice is upheld,” he said in his address.
“Naturally, it should be somebody from the South East that will replace (Buhari), and that will give the opposite South versus North and Christian versus Muslim a balance, and it will bring stability to the nation; it will strengthen Nigeria.
“The South West had eight years as president, eight years as vice president; the South-South had eight years as president and vice president; where is the justice? Where is the justice?” Dr Onu asked in anguish.
He recollected how 23 years ago, he sacrificed his presidential ambition just so that two candidates from the South West could run.
The nation waits with bated breath for the outcome of the party’s election which is still ongoing up till the time of filing this report.