Ahead of the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) scheduled for May 29, political associates of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and frontline presidential aspirant has vowed that he will not step down for any aspirant.
They said with the efforts Tinubu has put into the race so far, the only way he can accept any consensus arrangement is if he was chosen as the sole candidate.
The APC at its national convention in March produced the new national leadership of the party through the consensus arrangement after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the governors and other stakeholders that it is the best way to avoid rancour at the convention.
Following the successful outcome of the convention, some stakeholders in the party, loyal to President Buhari, popularly referred to as ‘the cabals’ are already pushing for the same consensus method to be adopted during the presidential primary.
Daily Independent also gathered on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari, who publicly admitted that he has a preferred aspirant, has scheduled meetings with APC governors, National Assembly caucus and the presidential aspirants towards arriving at a consensus presidential candidate for the party.
However, speaking with Daily Independent, Otunba Bosun Oladele, National Secretary of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA ’23), said many members of the APC believe that any consensus arrangement without Tinubu as candidate will not unify the party.
While also calling for a level playing field for all the presidential aspirants, he said nobody can persuade Tinubu to step down based on the efforts he has expended in the project so far.
“The best way to go about the presidential contest among the aspirants is to allow a level playing ground.
That is the only thing that will ensure that whoever is winning is winning fairly and whoever loses, did so fairly.
Once there is fairness and equity, nobody will begrudge the eventual winner and feel cheated, rather they will join hands with him to secure victory for the party.
“If we are talking about consensus, the opinion out there is that any consensus arrangement that is not about Asiwaju BolaTinubu being the candidate will not unify the party.
That is the opinion out there in the APC and I sincerely believe that too. “I am not Asiwaju’s spokesman but I have campaigned for him and my group, SWAGA’23, has been in the forefront of the call for him to contest.
We are glad he has yielded to the call. We have also done a lot of consultation and networking for him.
“You all can see the energy the man brought into the game, the way he has moved round the country day and night, covering two to three states in a day. With what he has done so far, I believe Asiwaju will not be persuaded to step down for anybody”.
When asked if the APC national leader has a Plan B if the primary doesn’t go his way, Oladele said, “Asiwaju has not briefed me to talk about that and I’ve not had the opportunity of sitting down with him to get his opinion on whether there is a Plan B.
“But in my opinion, the Plan A, which he has based on his declaration is to contest the presidential primary under APC. His Plan B which I believe he has is to also contest the main presidential election in February 2023 under APC”.