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APC yet to zone presidential ticket – Adamu

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…APC’ll win Ekiti governorship poll, he boasts

…Assures of free, fair primaries

The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has said the governing party was yet to zone its presidential ticket for the 2023 elections.

Senator Adamu stated this Friday in Abuja while speaking to State House Correspondents after presenting the party’s candidate for the Ekiti state governorship election, Biodun Oyebanji, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Blueprint reports that Senator Adamu was accompanied to the Presidential Villa by the Ekiti state governor and chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Kebbi state governor and chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Atiku Bagudu, and the national secretary of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

When asked where the governing would be zoning its presidential ticket to, Adamu said taking such a decision would be the job of the entire party which, according to him, is bigger than himself as chairman.

“I am today privileged to be the chairman of the party. The party is greater than me. The party has not made a decision and I cannot preempt what the party decision will be,” he said.

The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) had, on Thursday, asked major political parties to throw the contest for their presidential tickets open to all regions, asserting that the zoning system is no longer desirable.

The ruling party had swapped its national offices between North and South, leading to the emergence of Adamu from the North Central as the national chairman.

Resignation of appointees

On the intense issue of when political appointees who intend to run for elective offices were expected to resign their current appointments, considering the party’s recently issued guidelines for those in that category, the party’s national chair merely noted that the matter was already in court.

“Thank you very much for your question. Our luck on this end is that I happen to be a lawyer and the issue you are raising is in court right now. So, it will be subjudice for me to discuss it at all,” he said.

Nomination, EoI forms

When asked about the high cost of the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms, he said the party had no regrets setting the prices at the current rate.

He cited the need to protect the party from non-serious aspirants and moles as well as the need to generate money to run the election processes.

“Yeah, I’ve been listening, with rapt attention, to the hues and cries from our lovers and from our adversaries. We have no regrets whatsoever. We did some homework, we know what it takes to go through primaries, go through presidential campaign, and go through election for the President. We know what it takes.

“We also do know that there are citizens who are qualified to contest, but who are not serious contenders, who will just want to take anything cheap by the roadside, and assert what they call their rights and create problems for our party.

“We’re also aware that some parties that have no chance whatsoever to win presidential election in Nigeria; they will sponsor people into parties that have prospects for winning the election, to create problems for us, to divert our attention, whichever party is involved in that.

“Over and above that, yes, we are the ruling party. Yes, we need to set examples in what we do, but I ask you, I don’t know which part of the country you come from, If God forbid, your traditional ruler dies today, contestants to that office will go for more than N100 million; it’s no news.

“When I contested for the Senate, all I paid was just a token; N5 million, N10 million, including the expression. When my colleague wanted to be chairman of the party, in the days of Adams Oshimhole, it took him N500, 000. Today, for me, just as an example, to contest the national chairman of our party, I had to pay N20 million to contest.

“Alright, and even the enormity of work that has to be done, and this work will be done with money. We don’t want to continue going a begging.

“So, I want to say that we’re able to mobilise sufficient funds to support our efforts to win election. Some protests may be well founded, I have no quarrel with that, but the propensity of this, that people just assume ‘it’s the ruling party,’ is a quick… in our democracy.

“I will not quarrel with that; everyone of us has the right to express himself, and I’m in full support of these obligations, but we wear the shoes for our party and we know where they pinch us the most one.”

Possible fracas

Allaying the fears that the process of settling for a presidential candidate could tear the party apart, if not carefully handled, Adamu said: “God will not allow that to happen to us. We will come out by the grace of God. At the appropriate time, the candidate at the convention for our great party will choose.

“I do not want to speculate, but my duty as chairman is to listen to party men, party leaders, stakeholders, to see what is going to be best when the time comes and I’ve always found it easier and more noble to get a bridge before I jump to cross it. We are not yet there,” he said.

Optimism on Ekiti gov’ship poll

 Meanwhile, Senator Adamu has expressed optimism that the party would win the forthcoming Ekiti state gubernatorial election scheduled to take place in June this year.

Adamu said this Friday in Abuja when he formally presented the APC candidate for the election to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We came to present Mr Abiodun Abayomi Oyebanji, who is the gubernatorial candidate of our great party the APC in the forthcoming election of 18th June, 2022. He emerged successful after a very thorough and transparent primary election.

“We came to present him for the President’s blessings and for the President; the father and leader of our party to formally present the flag of our great party the APC to him and that has just been done. The President was so happy in receiving the candidate and by the grace of God the Governor to be for Ekiti,” he said.

Presidential primary

Asked to comment on how the APC hopes to hold rancour free presidential primary election, the APC chairman said the process would be free and fair, culminating with the emergence of an acceptable candidate.

“We will come out by the grace of God and at the appropriate time with a candidate that the convention of our great party will choose.  I do not want to speculate but my duty as a party Chairman s to listen to our party men and leaders and stakeholders to see what is going to be best when the time comes,” he said.