There seems to be anxiety in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to governors and other Stakeholders to support him in his determination to appoint his successor.
For Buhari, who claimed, during interview with Channels Television to have had his candidate in mind, but would not review the identity for fear of attacking the person, to come soliciting for cooperation for the same person, leaves much to be desired of the government that would want to return to power based on its achievements.
Besides the mixed reactions to what the president and the party regard as achievements in the last seven years, political watchers and even some party members say the best approach to be adopted is for Buhari to distance himself from the process.
While some members are still swallowing the bitter pills of the ‘consensus’ arrangement for the emergence of its chairman, the party would need to convince the electorate how the ‘achievements’ have impacted positively on the country and its citizens, they further argue.
Specifically, Buhari had justified the victory of his party in “2015 through a cohesive machinery, notwithstanding its status as the opposition party. Similarly, in 2019, it was returned to power under my leadership, because of the dividends of democracy delivered to Nigerians irrespective of their political leanings.“
Speaking further to the governors, he said, “In keeping with the established internal policies of the Party and as we approach the Convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.
“I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention. This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger.
But the National Vice Chairman, North West, Dr. Salihu Lukman has warned that the decision of President Buhari to choose his successor would potentially mobilise Nigerians against the party and rubbish him.
According to DAILY POST Lukman, in a statement issued Wednesday titled, “Succession and 2023 APC Presidential Candidate: Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari” warned that the decision of the president might damage his reputation.
He warned that anything short of giving all the presidential aspirants a level playing field at the June 6 convention of the party would be inimical to the electoral fortune of the party.
The party chieftain said APC must be able to demonstrate much more sensitivity to the challenges of national unity by ensuring that the eventual standard-bearer of the party for the 2023 Presidential election embodies a commitment to equity and justice as the underlying principles sustaining the corporate existence of Nigeria as a united country.
Lukman emphasised that the temptation for leaders to choose their successors was democratically risky and very costly.
Lukman said: “Ordinarily, this should not be a problem. Both party members and leaders will always trust Your Excellency’s judgment. However, the big worry is whether loyal party leaders and members should just reduce themselves to being ordinary observers when very sensitive issues with very high potential to diminish and damage Your Excellency’s revered status in the country is being considered.
“Noting that the current phenomena of poor relations between predecessors and successor governors are largely a product of poorly instituted political succession arrangement in the country, which is impulsive and imposing, it will be highly risky to adopt the same succession framework as it can erode all your lifelong achievements as someone who contributes a lot to strengthen Nigerian democracy.. “
Another party chieftain, who pleaded anonymity was of the opinion that the ‘toga or reference of Buhari alone’ during campaign is enough to make the party lose the election in some parts of the country.
Speaking further, he said, “some party members are in self delusion when they pretend that all is well. The reality is that many Nigerians are angry with Buhari and for the same man coming to tell Nigerians that he wants to single handedly pick his successor to continue or build on his achievements will spell disaster and misfortunes for the party. “