APC’s Many Presidential ‘Candidates’
The All Progressives Congress (APC), which became a full pledged political party on Wednesday, can boast of several former presidential candidates and aspirants. What remains to be seen is how the presidential ticket of the party will be decided come 2015. Weekly Trust reports:
All Progressives Congress (APC) has indeed weathered enough storms to get the nod of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to officially emerge as a mega opposition party last Wednesday.
APC, a by-product of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has 11 state governors, 134 House of Representatives members, 32 Senators and about seven former presidential candidates and aspirants in its kitty.
Having surmounted the registration politicking, the new party would soon face a tricky business of electing its leadership at the national, state and local levels as well as managing the voracious appetite of the former presidential candidates and aspirants who are now its frontline chieftains.
For now, some of the APC’s have-been presidential candidates and aspirants include retired General Muhammadu Buhari, former EFCC boss Malam Nuhu Ribadu, former Governors Ibrahim Shekarau and Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, Senators Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Ahmed Sani Yariman Bakura as well as Governor Rochas Okorocha.
There is the likelihood of the emergence of would-be presidential aspirants now in the new party which include former FCT Minister Malam Nasiru el-Rufa’i, former Governors Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Ali Modu Sheriff, among others.
Former Head of State and leader of the defunct CPC, Buhari had consecutively contested presidential elections in 2003 and 2007 under the defunct ANPP and in 2011 under CPC; but all lost to the Peoples Democratic Party’s Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan respectively.
The General, despite his age, seems not to be tired. He recently said in an interview with Daily Trust that he is ready for the fourth time, to test his popularity by joining the presidential bout again in 2015 if the party gives him the ticket.
Apart from his mass grass roots cut-like political appeal in northern part of the country, Buhari seems also to have “learned enough political maneuvering” from his over 10 years experience in presidential contests.
His principal partners in the new platform, notably the ACN elements, analysts say, may be comfortable with Buhari’s candidature in 2015, purposely to utilize his bourgeoning grass root support base to energize the party as it embarks on its turbulent voyage towards 2015.
Pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and presidential candidate of the defunct ACN in 2011 elections, Ribadu first came into the limelight when he served as a member of the Failed Banks Tribunal set up by late Head of State Sani Abacha and subsequently appeared as police counsel at the famous Oputa Panel set up by Obasanjo administration to investigate rights abuses and violations in the country.
A decorated anti-corruption chief, Ribadu was appointed United Nations Senior Monitor in Afghanistan after 2011 and lately headed the Special Task Force on the Recovery of Petroleum Revenue by President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Though Ribadu is a new entrant into the political terrain, he currently enjoys a support base among dozens of foreign countries, international organizations and civil society organizations in the country.
Though his anti-graft war modus operandi was questioned by some highly placed politicians, his aggressive endeavour in tackling corruption as EFCC czar has endeared him to many Nigerians across board. Many still think that the country needs someone with his zeal and aggression to save the country from the mortal grip of corruption.
Former Kano State governor and presidential candidate of ANPP in 2011 elections, Shekarau came into the limelight when he defeated Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in 2003.
Though a civil servant, his Islamic activism credentials have endeared him to many people in the state and the country at large, particularly among the Sharia-proponents.
His breakaway from Buhari (hitherto his political benefactor) when he was seeking a second term in 2007 and his subsequent contest against him during the 2011 presidential elections remain his greatest odd especially in the north, which is his primary sphere of influence.
Though Shekarau’s presidential ambition seems to be alive, his eventful lost of his state in 2011 to his mortal political foe, Kwankwaso has affected his political empire. Analysts say that APC has provided him the needed opportunity to re-launch himself into political limelight.
Governor of Imo State, Rochas was a presidential aspirant under ANPP in 2003 but lost to Buhari as he earlier lost the Imo state PDP governorship primaries to Achike Udenwa in 1999. After the 2003 elections, he returned to the PDP where he was appointed as presidential adviser on inter-party affairs by Obasanjo.
Poised to actualize his presidential ambition, Rochas formed the Action Alliance (AA) party in 2005, planning to become its presidential candidate in the 2007 elections. In September 2007, he again returned to the PDP and indicated interest in becoming its national chairman.
After Governor Ikedi Ohakim had defected from the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) to the PDP in July 2009, supremacy battle ensued between Rochas and Ohakim over the soul of the party in Imo state.
Again, Rochas decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to run as its governorship candidate in Imo state for the April 2011 elections. Despite suspension in 2010 among other squabbles in APGA, he finally won the elections and became the state governor.
Despite his numerous cross-carpeting from one party to another in the last 14 years, Rochas has cultivated a strong fellowship across the country, particularly in the north courtesy his philanthropic activities.
Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa
Two terms governor of Sokoto State and presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in 2007 elections, Bafarawa started his political career as a local government councilor.
After he unsuccessfully ran for election to the House of Representatives on the platform of the defunct Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) in 1979; he attended the National Constitutional Conference in 1994-1995.
Bafarawa was a founding member of the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) in 1997 and All People’s Party (later ANPP) in 1998.
With various projects that modernized the Seat of the Caliphate to his credit, Bafarawa abandoned the ANPP and founded DPP and became its presidential candidate in 2007 elections.
He again abandoned the DPP he founded and returned to the ANPP after the 2011 general elections. An experienced politician, Bafarawa still commands respect among the political class in the north.
Bukar Abba Ibrahim
Three terms governor of Yobe State and presidential aspirant under the ANPP in 2007 elections, Bukar has been at the Senate since 2007 and has been a dominant figure in Yobe politics since its creation 22 years ago.
Bukar was elected governor of Yobe in December 1991 under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). He held that position until the Chief Ernest Shonekan-led interim government was toppled by the military in November 1993.
Again, Bukar was elected as Yobe state governor in January 1999 under the ANPP (earlier APP) and reelected again in 2003 under the same political platform.
In 2007, he was among the many aspirants that contested the ANPP presidential primaries before they withdrew for Buhari. He was subsequently elected into the Senate to represent Yobe East and reelected again in 2011.
Ahmed Sani Yarima
Two terms governor of Zamfara state and presidential aspirant under the ANPP in 2007, Yarima came into political limelight after his introduction of Sharia legal system in the state in January 2000.
Ever since, the Zamfara prince has meandered from one controversy to the other. He was elected governor in 1999 and 2003. Apart from carving a niche for himself through the Sharia introduction, Yarima was the only governor to be succeeded by his deputy Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi in 2007 though they parted ways less than a year after the election.
Like Bukar, he contested 2007 presidential primaries but withdrew for Buhari and subsequently elected into the Senate to represent Zamfara West and reelected again in 2011 under the same party.
His firm grip on Zamfara politics enabled him to replace Shinkafi who defected to PDP with Abdulaziz Yari in 2011. Yarima who is currently embroiled in a child-marriage bill controversy, which is an off-shoot of his marriage to a 13-year-old Egyptian bride four years ago, is also making his supporters uncomfortable with his alleged romance with the ruling party PDP.
Culled from Weekly Trust