Method legal but not ideal, all aspirants should be allowed to contest –Prof Sagay
Indications have emerged to suggest that aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have commenced moves to scuttle the party’s consideration of using consensus to pick its presidential candidate at the party’s convention scheduled to hold next month. Saturday Telegraph gathered from reliable sources within the party that those moving to block the move are already wooing aggrieved members that lost out in the last national convention to come along with them to force the hands of the leadership to throw open the contest for the ticket of the party.
This is coming just as the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti- Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, stated that the move of the ruling APC to adopt the consensus method to pick its presidential candidate is legal but not ideal.
Findings conducted by our correspondent revealed that some elements who feel that the new arrangement that has thrown up the Abdullahi Adamu led national executive committee of the APC will not work in their favour when horse trading and jostling for the sole presidential ticket of the APC hot up, are beginning to mobilise themselves to form a powerful unit with a view to forcing the hands of the leaders of the party to consider another method that will throw the race open to all.
To give vent to their aspiration, many party members supporting this move have begun underground consultations via visitations across the country and “I can tell you that a lot of grounds have been covered by them (the promoters),” a source said. Another highly placed source within the APC who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity stated that: “Many of us are not happy with the outcome of the last convention and we will let the party know in due course. We are already trying to woo other like minds to form a solid block to challenge the decision of some cabals to foist consensus methods on us.”
The source who is a former federal lawmaker rooting for a presidential candidate from the South West added that the critical mass is being built just as efforts are being made to get the ears of leaders of the party especially President Muhammadu Buhari to cause a change in position. When asked if the group is considering dumping the APC for another party should their efforts hit the rocks, the source stated that that option will be the last to be taken, adding, “We remain hopeful that the party will see the need to do what is just to all.”
Saturday Telegraph also gathered that pressure is mounting on the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to dump the APC for another party to realise his presidential am disbition as a result of the thinking that APC will make recourse to consensus method to pick the party’s presidential candidate.
“Our leaders have been under intense pressure to dump the APC for another party because of the way some members of the party have been treating him which is not befitting a major stakeholder who has laboured so hard for the progress of the party. We, his followers, too are also thinking along the same line but our leader is still exploring all the necessary avenues to vent his misgivings before taking a final decision,” the source who is a prominent chieftain of the party in Lagos said.
Commenting on consensus method for picking its candidate, Sagay stated that the move is rooted in law as it is contained in the newly amended Electoral Act that was recently passed by the National Assembly, which had been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. Sagay counseled the ruling party to follow the laid down guidelines as contained in the Electoral Act before arriving at the choice of the APC’s consensus candidate, saying without that the ruling party is at risk of running afoul of the law.
“The law allows for it, so it is legal but if you ask me, it is not ideal. Don’t forget that is one of the three methods provided for in the amended Electoral Act. So to that effect, I repeat, it is legal but to me I believe that the party should open up to allow all those who have signified their intention to contest,” he said. According to him, “For a consensus candidate to emerge, all those contesting against the preferred candidate of the party must expressly show willingness to give up their aspirations. They must do so in writing and must not be coerced into doing so. For me, consensus arrangement shrinks the choice available to delegates who would have been rooting for one candidate or the other.”
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