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WHO WILL WIN APC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES? : BUHARI OR ATIKU

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BUHARI WILL WIN THIS ONE

The political movie of Nigeria gets enthralling as new political twists emerge with shocking surprises; the completion of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial and National Assembly primaries. True loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan; former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku failed to win the gubernatorial primary elections in Nasarrawa State as Musiliu Obanikoro lost PDP gubernatorial ticket to Jimi Agbaje in Lagos State. The much anticipated day beckons as APC Presidential primaries hold on December 10, 2014 in Lagos State.

Five aspirants have shown genuine interest in APC Presidential ticket; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, General Muhammadu Buhari, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sam Nda-Isaiah, Owelle Rochas Okorocha. There is no gainsaying that the two clear favorites are: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who hails from Adamawa State and General Muhammadu Buhari who hails from Katsina State. I belong to the school of thought which opines that General Muhammadu Buhari is the man to beat.

Political CV

Having a critical look at the political credentials of Buhari, he fits snugly into that political maestro who will be able to give Jonathan a run for his money and threaten his second term ambition in the Aso Rock.
During the military juntas, he had his own fair share of governance while serving the nation as a young vibrant military Major-General from Dec. 1983 to August 1985 as the seventh Head of State of Nigeria. Ever since 2003, he has been overwhelmed with an incurable desire to be Nigeria’s President. He contested the Presidential election twice under the aegis of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2003 and 2007. In March 2010, he founded the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and contested the Presidential elections in 2011 coming second to the eventual winner, Goodluck Jonathan. It is highly imperative to state that this is the first time Buhari will engage in a primary election in a bid to be the Presidential flag bearer of any party. He has always been a consensus candidate. Maybe that was why a group (Buhari Support Group) was formed soliciting for financial support.

APC Founding member

Buhari stands a greater chance of carting home the ticket because of his roles in the foundation stone laying ceremony of All Progressives Congress; the struggle for a new opposition party and sacrificing his own party CPC in the coalition with ACN, ANPP and a faction of APGA. A struggle which started on February 6, 2013 and was consummated by the official approval of APC as a political party by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on July 31, 2013. 71-year old, Buhari is a faithful loyalist of the Progressives and the party should feel more comfortable with him holding the ticket than 68-year-old Atiku who has been cross carpeting; from PDP to ACN, from ACN to PDP and then to APC. The Progressives are not quick to forget the defection tendencies of Atiku Abubakar who just joined APC on February 2, 2014. Atiku looks like an opportunist who came around after the meal was done and yet could not hide his greed for the delicious soup.

Atiku’s past

In the last general elections held in 2011, Atiku could not defeat Good luck Jonathan in the primaries of the PDP as he polled 805 votes compared to Jonathan’s 2736 votes. This is just a litmus test from the past to show that Atiku cannot stand the political dominance of Jonathan. The results of the 2011 Presidential election speaks for itself; Jonathan of PDP (22,495,187 votes) had 58.89% of the votes, Buhari of CPC (12,214,853 votes) had 31.98% of the votes, Ribadu of ACN (2,079,151 votes) had 5.41% of the votes, Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP (917,012 votes) had 2.40% and APGA did not field any aspirant. This is the main reason why the Progressives have given all the aspirants a level field of play exuding transparency because it is obvious to the blind that Buhari owns this ticket. It only sounds logical for Buhari to earn the ticket at this moment when CPC, ANPP, ACN and a faction of APGA are now together as APC.

The Lagos Venue

The choice of Lagos State as the venue by the Chairman, All Progressives Congress Convention, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was highly unprecedented as the anticipated venue was Abuja. This venue should favour Buhari as majority of his social media supporters and followers reside in Lagos. Atiku has littered the social media with his 94-pages Policy document titled Building a Nigeria for all. He has travelled to almost all the 36 states of the Federation in the past one month, all what he is asking for are the votes of the people not their money. Buhari asks for both money and the votes of the people. He will win the hearts of men through this and hence get the ticket as he enters the boxing ring in a face-off with the power of incumbency.

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ATIKU WILL WIN THIS ONE

Abubakar Atiku, the 11th vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, would be going head to head with four other candidates for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday in Lagos. The flight however has long been predicted as a two-eagle flight between Atiku and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari.

Amidst the two however, Buhari is seen as the preferred candidate, and going by the body language of the top guns in the APC, Buhari is favoured. Declarations! At the declarations of the two men, party leaders were obviously absent at Atiku’s declaration as against Buhari’s where all the big boys were in attendance. This and many other issues are up against Atiku, but I think Atiku can win the party’s primaries. Here’s why:

War Chest

A good number of primaries conducted in the APC and PDP has proven beyond reasonable doubt that elections are a function of money. According to Atiku, in an interview with TheCable, he has been a multi-millionaire in dollars as early as 1993.

“Long before politics, I was a successful businessman. I first declared my assets in 1993, I was a multimillionaire in dollars.
“My company, NICOTES was already the top oil services company in Nigeria far back as then. I was not a poor person…In 1998, I helped register the PDP, I spent over N500m getting the party sorted out.”

This tells us, he has enough to go round as delegates vote tomorrow. Buhari on the other hand took a bank loan to purchase the party’s form, there won’t be enough to go round.

The Integrity Burden

Buhari may not have money, but he has staunch supporters who would do anything within and perhaps outside the law to see him clinch the ticket. Such loyalist must have offered the 71-year-old N27.5m to purchase the form, but in order not to lease integrity, he chose the loan street. The same would likely happen at the primaries. Loyalist would offer to feed money-loving delegates to vote Buhari, but the saintly aspirants would turn down the offer preferring the votes going to his opponent than “selling his conscience”.

Asides that, it’s no news that there are litany of Nigerian politicians, within and outside the APC, who would do anything to ensure GMB, as he is fondly called doesn’t make it to presidency, so he doesn’t “remember their past sins”.

Buhari may be a “saint”, but sadly, the system is not. For him, integrity becomes a vice rather than a virtue. Have I said Atiku is a sinner? By no means!

Political Party Experience

Party experience is needful, ask Olasupo Shasore, who filled the pages of newspapers with campaign adverts, made posters and banner all over Lagos, got Babatunde Fashola’s support, and many other intellectual campaign strategy, only to amount to 121 votes.

Buhari has never participated in any primary election, for him he has always been “the chosen one”, even in his military days. He doesn’t have the lobbying acumen and knows little about the intrigues that come with elections.
Atiku on the other hand has a PhD in this matter. He was a founding and funding member of the PDP and ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria). He understands how Nigerian political parties work, he knows how primaries are run, he’d beat Buhari to it.

The Vice Presidential magic wand

Almost all political minds can take a guess on who becomes Buhari’s Vice President. Did someone say Rotimi Amaechi? That’s an option, Rochas Okorocha, who is also in the race for the Presidential ticket is also an option. Babatunde Fashola has also been fingered, though he has been considered a “no” due to his religion.

Atiku Abubakar doesn’t have that list, the only person who usually pops up as his likely VP is Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state. This is however not confirmed, everyone is running after GMB to get VP slot, but Atiku is at liberty to make a political deal with anyone strong enough to garner votes.

The hardworking disadvantaged

Buhari is regarded as favourite, Atiku is not. What this does is to make the likely loser to work harder to ensure he overcomes his odds. Atiku has been using all platforms possible to push his plans and agenda into the mind of every Nigeria.

Though we are not too close to the era when social media would determine outcomes of electoral exercise, but if social media would count, it would count for Atiku. He has been excessively active on social media winning more fans by the day.

He has been appealing to Osun state delegates on the platform of his wife, Titi, who is an indigene of the state, and if there’s anything 2011 elections taught us, it is that Osun state can deliver. 

Many more reasons exist, but based on these, Atiku should win the APC presidential ticket.

CONCLUSION: This column is about you, it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgement. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the judge in this courtroom.
WHO WILL WIN APC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES? : BUHARI OR ATIKU.

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