Ahead of its presidential primary, Nigeria’s biggest opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, has said it will field a presidential candidate that will defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 election.
The National Publicity Secretary, APC, Lai Mohammed, who stated this in a telephone interview with our correspondents in Abuja on Friday, said Nigerians could not afford another four years of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He stated that the opposition party would present acceptable candidates for all elective posts, including the President.
Mohammed spoke on the party’s preparations for its primaries.
Political parties are expected to hold their primaries as from October 2, 2014, while campaigns for the positions of the President, the Vice President and membership of the National Assembly are scheduled to begin on November 16, 2014.
November 4 to November 11 is for the collection of forms for all elections by all political parties.
Speaking on the APC’s preparations for the primaries, Mohammed said, “When the time comes, we will make public the date for our primaries, as well as modalities for them. I can assure you that our primaries for all elective offices will be conducted transparently like we have always done.
“I have no doubt in my mind that our party will present acceptable candidates for all elective offices, including that of the President.
“Who eventually emerges as our candidate, will, by the grace of God, defeat this corrupt and incompetent PDP-led administration in a free and fair election.
“You will agree with me that an overwhelming number of Nigerians will not pray for another four years of the present administration.”
When contacted, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Prof. Rufai Alkali, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, described the APC as a party of desperate politicians.
He said the opposition party was trying to divert the attention of the PDP from the Osun State governorship election holding on August 9, 2014.
Alkali said,“As you are aware, the entire PDP machinery came to Osun on Saturday for a grand rally. This is why they are getting more confused and desperate. I advise them to go and face the Osun election. They are desperate. They are trying to divert our attention.
“I want the people of Osun to come out and participate en masse in the election, so that they can remove these desperate politicians.”
Meanwhile, prospective presidential aspirants jostling for the ticket of the APC have intensified consultations towards actualising their dreams.
Subtle moves by those jostling for the party’s presidential ticket have continued with renewed vigour.
It was gathered that the leading contenders for the ticket – former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.); ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; and Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso – have increased the tempo of their consultations with party supporters.
Although Buhari has yet to make public his ambition (if any), his supporters within the party are insisting that it is him or nothing.
It was learnt that Atiku, also a veteran of presidential contests, is also interested in the race for the ticket.
Kwankwaso is one of the five aggrieved governors who defected from the PDP to the APC; he has since made public his desire to vie for the presidency.
The Kano governor is seen as one of those being looked upon by some northern members of the party who are asking for generational change in the party.
On the choice of APC’s presidential candidate, Mohammed said, “At the moment, the party, like I have told you several times before, has not discussed the issue yet.
“We will cross that bridge when we get there. We will not, however, bar anyone from expressing interest or aspiring for the presidential candidacy. The party is not going to stop anyone from expressing their views, especially when it has to do with a legitimate ambition.
“All I can say is that everything will be done in accordance to our laid down rules and regulations; we will have our party primaries to elect candidates for elective offices from the local, states to the national levels.”