It is no longer news that a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after a stiff contest with Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, ex-Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi among others.
The presidential primaries of the ruling party which took place between June 7 and 8 at the Eagle Square in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) gave the adhoc delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the inalienable rights to take part in the process in electing a standard-bearer for the party in the 2023 presidential election.
WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that a total of 2,229 delegates selected across the entire country of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) participated in the primaries but 93 delegates from Akwa Ibom did not participate in the primaries as a result of a court order.
Following the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) after the primaries, he will face the likes of Atiku Abubakar, candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Peter Obi, candidate of Labour Party (LP); Omoyele Sowore, candidate of African Action Congress (AAC); Adewole Adebayo, candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) among others.
However, the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the APC presidential primaries did not come cheaply. It was a victory shaped by notable events. These events happened barely five days to the APC presidential primaries.
STRONG POLITICAL NETWORK
Bola Ahmed Tinubu fully began his journey into national politics in 2007 when Atiku Abubakar contested for president under the platform of Action Congress. The presidential election which was a stiff contest primarily between late Umaru Musa Yaradua, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party; Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Action Congress (AC).
His patronage in 2007 presidential election which made him relate to progressive politicians of the Northern extraction and huge contributions to the formation of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 gave him a leap ahead of other presidential aspirants. Inarguably, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a stronger political network than other presidential aspirants.
INSISTENCE OF APC GOVERNORS
Barely three days to the presidential primaries of the ruling party, governors elected under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) insisted that the presidential ticket of the party must be zoned to the south. This was firstly contested against by some northern governors but it was later agreed upon by all except Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello who is also a presidential aspirant.
The quick move of the APC governors when the national chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu reportedly announced to other executives that he met with President Muhammadu Buhari and they both agreed that Senate President, Ahmed Lawan is the consensus candidate of the ruling party. 14 out of 19 governors in the north who are of the APC extraction met with President Muhammadu Buhari and resolved that the presidential ticket must be zoned to the south and only Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello was against the decision.
PRESIDENT BUHARI’S PERCEIVED NEUTRALITY
Eventhough President Muhammadu Buhari claimed to have an ‘anointed successor’ in one of his interviews but his actions towards the party primaries proved otherwise.
President Buhari in several meetings declared that the ruling party should produce a consensus candidate but did not disclose his preferred aspirant.
Buhari made no move to achieve its intention until the national party chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu claimed that he met with President Buhari and both agreed on Senator Ahmed Lawan as the party’s consensus candidate barely 48 hours after Atiku Abubakar emerged as presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This generated a lot of controversy and nearly divided the ruling party owing to reactions from APC governors, party chieftains and presidential aspirants especially from the south. The resolution of 13 Northern APC governors except Yahaya Bello and the denial of the presidency via a press statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari calmed the situation.
It was a shocking and unexpected moment for many political analysts when Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, a former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and other four presidential aspirants stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It is widely believed that these presidential aspirants especially the ones from the South West extraction stepped down for Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a result of several meetings, appeals and possible negotiations led by former governors Olusegun Osoba, Bisi Akande and other party leaders in the South West to produce a consensus candidate.
The decisions of Governor Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun to step down for Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the support he received from some APC governors like Kano Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu among others truly shaped his walk into victory.