APC stakeholders, PANDEF slam Buhari on 'successor' charge – Guardian Nigeria

Buhari
• Tinubu supporters, Lukman, others reject plot for consensus
• Tinubu joining SDP mere speculation, says Oni
• It’s absurd there is no citizens’ participation in selection process — PANDEF
• Melaye: It’s abominable for Buhari to pick his ‘successor’ in a democracy
• Ndume: Buhari in order, should be interested in who succeeds him

More flaks trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s notice to All Progressives Congress (APC) governors of his decision to ‘anoint’ a successor ahead of the party’s National Convention on Monday.
While the APC governors to whom the instruction was handed down are yet to arrive at their choice of a consensus candidate, high-ranking members of the party and senior citizens have berated the President for his comments, which they said could derail the transition process ahead of 2023 general elections.
Speaking yesterday, the National Vice Chairman, Northwest of APC, Dr Salihu Lukman, admonished President Buhari not to fall into the temptation of imposing the presidential candidate of the party.
Lukman in an open letter said it behooves party stakeholders to take a cue from the December 10, 2014 APC National Convention, where aspirants jostling for the exalted seat of the presidency were guaranteed level playing field.
Lukman, who is opposed to the leadership style of the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, remarked that any recommendation to the contrary would be inimical and injurious to the electoral fortunes of the party.
The Kaduna-born politician urged President Buhari to take the right decisions that would broaden the democratic scope in APC, and continue to endear the party to Nigerians ahead of the 2023 poll.
Recalling the alleged third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which impacted negativity on his image, he warned President Buhari against any transition initiative that risked being unpopular with the electorate.
He noted: “Any initiative that potentially takes away the rights of party members to elect candidates would potentially mobilise Nigerians against the party and rubbish Mr. President. This was the case in 2007, which eventually pushed the PDP into whole-scale rigging such that election results were announced even before counting processes were concluded.
“It was so bad that even late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was the main beneficiary had to acknowledge that it was a bad case.
“Notwithstanding, however, there is the overriding requirement to appeal to you to kindly resist the temptation. I would have wished we have enough time for open debate within our party. Unfortunately, as things are, we have less than one week to settle this matter.”
In similar vein, APC stakeholders have called on the leadership of the party to allow a level-playing field for all aspirants.
Speaking under the aegis of APC Rebirth Group, the stakeholders said President Buhari’s desire to reciprocate gestures must not compromise the party’s internal democratic processes.
At a media parley in Abuja, convener of the group, Engr. Aliyu Audu, conceded that the stakeholders recognise the inalienable right of the President to be interested in whoever succeeds him and the natural desire to reciprocate the gesture of support he received in his 2014 bid to be the party’s flag bearer for the 2015 presidential election.
They, however, said that “the choice of the President should not amount to an imposition or foreclose the chances of a free and fair contest where the candidate who reflects all the values and virtues of the party and has the potential to defeat the candidates of other political parties will be democratically elected.”
They also painfully recalled how the current National Chairman of the party was imposed on stakeholders at the March 26 national convention.
The group wondered why President Buhari, who emerged flag bearer of the party through a free, fair and credibly contested democratic process in 2015 and also won re-election through the same process in 2019, is being tempted to breach the tenets of democracy.
“It is imperative to remind the President that he is supposed to be the moral compass for us as members of the party and Nigerians as a whole. As the president and leader of the party, it is a moral responsibility that he set examples for the governors and future elected leaders to emulate and not the other way round.”
ALSO, supporters of APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, under the aegis of Northern Young Professionals for Tinubu (NYPT) and Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO), have kicked against consensus for the nomination of the party’s candidate.
The groups said Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, has great vision for Nigeria and should be compensated for the role he played for the emergence of President Buhari in 2015.
Reading a text of the press conference signed by the National Coordinators of the NYPT and TSO, Abdullahi Tanko Yakasai and Aminu Suleiman, Yakasai asked the Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC) to provide a level-playing field for all the presidential aspirants to slug it out.
Yakasai said for the party to retain power in 2023 and deliver dividend of democracy to the people, it must conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent presidential primary and pick the right candidate.
Meanwhile, a former governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, has described as ‘mere speculations’ rumours making the rounds that Tinubu would join the Social Democratic Party (SDP) if he fails to get the presidential ticket of the APC. He also clarified that there was no faction in SDP, adding that the party is not in crisis.
Oni, who is the SDP governorship standard bearer in the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election, stated this, yesterday, in Abuja after inaugurating the party’s sub convention committee.
He, however, noted that SDP remains open to people who share its vision and mission, and people who are ready to deepen democracy and good governance. He assured aspirants and observers that the convention would be transparent, devoid of vote buying, delegates inducement and rancour.
“Too much speculations. Let me say that we are SDP. As far as we are concerned, our doors are open to everybody. We are not locking opportunities here. We will wait. Every process will be taken seriously and without any preference. So, do not speculate too far.” 
THE Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by the South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has described as absurd situations where citizens of the country do not determine the flag bearers of their parties ahead of general elections as it called for an immediate review of the entire leadership selection process to involve the participation of citizens, especially members of the political parties.
Reacting to President Buhari’s request that governors and APC stakeholders allow him pick his successor, PANDEF condemned in very strong terms situations where the people are not carried along in the process of coming up with candidates, except that the governors and few individuals conclude on who should govern the people.
President Buhari had on Tuesday asked the APC governors to allow him choose his successor, just as they were given a free hand to pick theirs, and those due for second term in office got the go-ahead.
PANDEF in a statement made available to newsmen by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson, said: “President Buhari, for some strange reasons, was aristocratic and played the “good boy”, in appealing to his APC governors to allow him to pick the party’s presidential candidate, ‘his successor’ in his own words.
“The reflection is that if governors, the “demi-gods” and their associates can impose their preferred persons in the states, why won’t the President who could be characterised as the ‘god’ of Nigeria, not do likewise?
“They are all, simply, leveraging the overwhelming powers vested in the executive arm of government by the military imposed 1999 Constitution.
“It’s unfortunate that the vast majority of citizens, and even members of political parties, do not participate in processes that produce those who would go on to contest elections and eventually become our president, governors and lawmakers. We now have situations where less than 800 persons choose a major party’s presidential candidate, in a country of over 200 million people.
“It is absurd! And when you talk, they will readily assert that it is a party affair. This has to stop. There must be an urgent review of the entire leadership’ selection process to involve greater participation of citizens, particularly membership of the political parties.”
Meanwhile, the former Senate Minority leader and the Director-General of Rotimi Amaechi Presidential Campaign Organisation, Senator Ali Ndume, has thrown his weight behind President Buhari’s comment, saying it is democratic.
Ndume, who noted that there was nothing wrong in Buhari wanting to pick his successor, said there is no president that will not name his successor or be interested on who succeeds him.
Ndume, who said that former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, picked interest in his Vice President, Joe Biden, to succeed him and he worked very hard to support his emergence, said there was nothing wrong with the position of President Buhari asking that he should be allowed to pick who comes after his administration.
“I would have been disappointed if the President had left the issue open without being interested in who should succeed him. As he said, the governors were allowed to name their successors, the President should be allowed to do same. There is nothing out of place for the President to do that.”
BUT Dino Melaye, a former senator and member of the National Assembly, has slammed President Buhari for asking APC governors to assist him to pick a successor.
Faulting President Buhari’s statement, Melaye said the President intentionally used the word ‘successor’, instead of ‘flag bearer’ or ‘candidate’ for the APC.
The ex-Senator via his Twitter handle stated that ‘the President made a statement that is sacrilegious, unconstitutional, dictatorial, which has some very inhumane tendencies.’
He further said it is sacrilegious, abominable, and undemocratic for a president to talk about a successor in an election that has not been conducted. That statement has some negative import and the negative effect is that the president wants to impose a president on Nigerians.
“We are in a democracy and we will not allow imposition, we will not allow the President to handle this country as if we are in a monarchical or hereditary system of government. It is sacrilegious, abominable, and undemocratic for a president to talk about a successor in an election that has not been conducted. If he says they should support him to get a flag bearer it is a different matter.
“So, I am calling the attention of Nigerians to be on the alert because this is a battle to salvage this country from these economic cankerworm and financial scavengers. This is a battle of no retreat, no surrender. We will not allow imposition, we will not allow rigging and we will not allow any tendency that is anti-democratic,” Melaye said.
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