2015: APC adopts Sanusi as President

THE newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) has finally narrowed down its choice for Presidential candidate in the next General Elections to the outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Competent sources revealed that the choice of Sanusi as a veritable candidate opposed to former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Mallam Nuhu
Ribadu, former Chairman, Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Presidential candidate of the defunct, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was arrived at after several meetings in London and the Unites States (US).

The interactions involved Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and some leaders of the party with Sanusi.
It was at one of the meetings that the party stalwarts decided to drop Buhari as the party's candidate. The General who had vied for the much coveted position on three separate occasions was rested most importantly because of his age and to some extent his religious bigotry. The general feeling is that the north still holds the sway as regard the next occupant of the Abuja Aso Rock seat of power and that should a candidate be adopted, such should be a young person.

The news feeds, a couple of months back, was rife with the apparent desperation on the part of the newly formed APC to zero in on an acceptable candidate in order to have time to prepare for the 2015 General Elections.
The party, it was gathered, was intensifying its search for a viable presidential candidate that will unseat the incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) amid rumours that the major stalwarts of the party Buhari, and Tinubu are at loggerheads over the matter.
Investigation, carried out by National Daily then, revealed that the party chieftains were considering a northerner for the Presidential slot but that they were wavering between the choice of a Muslim or Christian candidate. And that the party may likely pick the presidential running mate from either the South-South or South-east depending on the outcome of the planned national convention of the APC slated for either November or December.
At that time, the party's choice of a presidential candidate was being made difficult by the clamour for the topmost seat by northern Christians. 
Christian President
The northern leaders of the Christian faith had then expressed their preference for the emergence of a presidential candidate from the geopolitical zone who is of their religious belief.
Among those contemplating fielding a northern Christian presidential candidate, are former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and former Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.

It was gathered that the group would prefer a Christian as a presidential candidate as part of the larger agenda of the north to ensure that the presidency returns to the zone in 2015.
As such, they were considering establishing a working relationship with any of the major political parties that will zone its presidential slot to the Middle Belt, which comprises states in the North-central and a part of the North-east.

The north has been agitating for the return of power to the zone on the basis that President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, who took over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, did not complete the constitutionally sanctioned two-term tenure as he died in office midway into his first term in the saddle.
The agitation for power shift is believed to be one of the crucial factors fuelling the crisis in the ruling PDP, especially against the backdrop of the swirling rumours doing the rounds that President Goodluck Jonathan intends to seek a second term in office.
It was gathered that the northern Christian leaders believe that under the circumstances, instead of being the “pawn or kingmakers in the Nigeria's political chessboard”, they should provide the king.

Sources said Gowon, Danjuma and others in the group were contending that with Christians being in the majority in Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Taraba and parts of Niger, Kwara, Adamawa, Kebbi and Nasarawa States, this would be a propitious time for them to make a bid for the presidency based on their population.
It was equally gathered that the Middle Belt states are open to any of the political parties that would offer the presidency to the Middle Belt whose people are predominantly Christians.
A source stated that the leaders are even contemplating influencing the APC in order to satisfy this yearning.
Danjuma is from Taraba State, while Gowon is from Plateau State. The source said this understanding was made possible by the fact that if Jonathan, a minority is voted president, there is nothing to stop a Christian from the Middle Belt becoming president in a democracy.
According to him, already, the PDP is depending on votes from the South-south and the South-east states to make Jonathan realise his second term ambition, while the APC is relying on votes from the South-west and the North-west states for victory for its presidential candidate.

Both dominant political parties also see the Middle Belt as the “swing zone” and when votes from the zone are added to those from their core support zones, it would make the difference between victory and defeat in the 2015 presidential race.
“This strategy is partly based on the opposition of the governors of Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano and Jigawa States to President Jonathan with active support from Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, on one hand, and the active approval of Christian stakeholders, on the other hand.
“With this, the idea of a Christian from the Middle Belt becoming the president would be achieved,” the source said.
Defeating PDP
Trying to work out a possible winning formula, an APC chief disclosed that, “We believe that we should not have any problem in the North-West, North-East, North-Central and the South-East.
“But we need to do more work in the South-East and South-South. From all indications, President Goodluck Jonathan will get the PDPs presidential ticket. He has strong support in the two zones. We, therefore, need to neutralise him there.
“Apart from embarking on aggressive campaigns in the two zones, more positions will be zoned to the areas. The South-East may get the vice-presidential slot, while the post of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation may go to the South-South. The presence of the Edo State Governor, Adam Oshiomhole and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, will also assist us in the zones.”
The APC leader said, “We have learnt from the mistakes of the PDP.  Although there is a gentleman's agreement that the presidency will go to the North, others zones will not be neglected.

Although the APC only controls Zamfara State in the North-West and Borno and Yobe states in the North-East, it is banking on the presence of the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Buhari in the party to sway voters in the two zones. Buhari enjoys tremendous goodwill in the core North.
And since it was widely feared that Buhari's quest for office could polarise the party, the elderly General has come out to say that he would abide by whatever decision the party takes with regard to his suspected presidential bid. “My decision will be tied to the constitution of the APC. If the party chooses me as its candidate, I will contest; if they do not consider me, I will not contest but I will still support the party.
"My decision to run for 2015 will solely be the party's decision,” he said.

The APC is also said to be enjoying the backing of top members of the Northern Elders' Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum, who see it as an alternative platform for the North to actualise its plan to produce the president in 2015.
The party, sources say, is banking on the popularity of the defunct ACN in the South-West to retain the zone while also being optimistic that Goodluck Jonathan administration's alleged marginalisation of the South-West would make it difficult for the ruling party to win the zone.

When asked the plans of the APC for the two zones, the Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said the party would focus on the South-East and the South-South.
“Even before the advent of the APC, at the level of the ACN, we had a strong presence in Edo State, which is in the South-South. The governor is in APC, and we have members of the National Assembly.
Also in Anambra, in the South-East, we have federal legislators. We also have a presence in Imo State. We know that Jonathan got a lot of votes from the South-East and South-South in 2011, but things are changing. We know that we have a lot of work in those two zones and we will not relent.”
Similarly, former National Publicity Secretary of the now defunct CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin stressed that “We are going to work in all geopolitical zones to ensure the complete routing of the PDP. There will be no hiding place for the PDP. It is going to be a mass movement.

“For the South-South, the question is what have the South-South people benefitted from Jonathan's government, except the Ijaw people? But it is not only Ijaw people that are in the South-South. We will reach out to every ethnic group in the South-South and other zones too. We will soon hold our convention and whatever issues are left will be sorted out.”
On his part, the spokesman for erstwhile All Nigerian Peoples Party, Emma Eneukwu, said the APC was certain of getting the South-East.

“Igbo people now know that Jonathan is not working in their interest. So, through Imo State that is already with APC, we will get the South-East. We may consider zoning if it becomes necessary. Now that we have been registered, we are starting massive mobilisation across all zones of the country, South-East and South-South will not be exceptions,” he said.

The PDP is however not taking the APC challenge lightly, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, is of the opinion that the APC is too young to decide the fate of the President if the PDP fielded him for the 2015 presidential election.

He said since the APC had just been registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its leaders must first learn the political ropes before commenting on who should be fielded by the PDP.
He said, “The APC that was just born yesterday should not have the mouth to talk.
“They should mind their own business and face the struggle ahead of them. They should stop focusing on what PDP will do or will not do, that is none of their business.”
The presidential aide said so far, the APC did not have any potential presidential candidate that could give a Jonathan sleepless night if he decided to re-contest in 2015.
Responding, Fashakin said his (Gulak) statement was the “hallmark” of a dying regime.
Let him say whatever he wants.
“The PDP primaries could be manipulated for the President. We have said it that the PDP will be in the opposition as from 2015.”

Presidency on Red Alert
National Daily gathered that the Presidency is already aware of the APC's choice and has being meeting with key party members of the party to fashion a way out of the impending tango.
For instance, while the PDP controls 23 states, the newly registered mega opposition party, APC, controls 11. At the National Assembly, however, if the predictions that some PDP governors might dump the party for the APC are accurate, it might end the dominance of the ruling party.

Already, analysts have predicted that the PDP will lose in Rivers, Niger, Adamawa, Kwara, Jigawa and Kano states, after a keen observation of how governors of these states romance with their counterparts in the APC.

National Daily had reported, early in the year, that the CBN Governor was not ready to vie for a second term in office, despite pressure from certain quarters that he should re-apply for another term of five years which he is entitled to constitutionally amid fears that the reforms he initiated in the country's banking sector may suffer a roll-back should it be the case that his successor is not as strict and decisive as he was, it was gathered that the Kano prince is not all that enthusiastic about resuming for duty as the country's CBN Governor for another five years. 

It would be recalled that the CBN, in June 2009, took a three-pronged approach to assess the financial conditions of the 24 banks, given their precarious and fragile state. One of the approaches was the special audit jointly carried out by the CBN and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
The exercise highlighted inadequacies in capital asset ratios and liquidity ratios as well as weaknesses in corporate governance and risk management issues in nine banks.

Via national news daily
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