On a day, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, showed his anger by been conveniently absent, a political coup of sorts failed woefully at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Tuesday in Abuja.
Atiku wants to be President in 2019, but the door of opportunity appears shut against him, and he is believed to be weighing other options, including taking over the machinery of another credible party, since he has sworn not to return to the PDP.
But the coup plot by APC Governors may play out soon, it was gathered from political analysts, who disclose that the naysayers to the plot will either by swept into line or there will be an implosion in the multi-faceted marriage of convenience in the party.
The plot by a section of the powerful Progressives Governors Forum to pull the rug off the feet of other contenders for the country’s number one seat by endorsing President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the APC for the 2019 election, was put back in the cooler for a better day, according to a knowledgeable source, because of the centrifugal forces at play within the embattled party.
“Some are asking for the heads of the party officials while seeking assurances for their enthronement in other high offices,” one source said.
But the President got a meaningful take-away. He was rewarded with a vote of confidence from NEC for his good works, just as it was done for his predecessors before him in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
An inkling of the coup came from Governors who spoke the at the APC National Secretariat, before the Tuesday’s NEC meeting.
Said Simon Lalong of Plateau State: “Concerning the issue of sole ticket for Mr. President, I want to say that if Mr. President is performing, well respected and carrying everybody along, all of us have resolved that we will work for him.”
“Do we have any other person that will challenge the President again? Whatever you call it, as far as we are concerned, we have one President and that is the ticket we will fly.I want to assure you that you won’t see a wrangling party after the meeting. From now onwards, it will be focused governance from Mr. President and all the governors from the states. We have all resolved to support Mr. President.”
Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi said that the performance of Buhari was enough for him to throw his weight behind him. “I will certainly support him and l know that our party members feel the same about him,” he added.
Nassarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, appeared unrelated by the move, while Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State was neither nor there, promising to trade off his own presidential ambition if Buhari showed an interest for 2019.
Said al Makura: “For anybody to preempt the consensus opinion of the people is to say the least not fair to the vision of our party.
“I can tell you if there is anything that is clandestine the President will not honour it. So, let’s wait and see as we embark on these meetings.
“I believe the consensus and the preponderance of opinion of all party members will be what is good for this country, and we have already known the will of this country, the future of this country as we are now as a country is associated with one person, who is impeccable, who has the greatest amount of integrity that you can find in any human being around, so your guess is as good as mine.”
Rochas said, “If Mr.President wants to run for election, he will follow all the processes and if he is the person, we will all support him. In APC, there is no imposition of candidate
“If Buhari is running, I will allow that man to continue but if he is not running; I won’t sacrifice my Presidential ambition. Mr. President is showing the right leadership and taking the very right steps and there is reconciliation going on even with nobody talking about it. There is the spirit of reconciliation and people understand their role.
“Our role is to make this party great and we are all trying to do that input own form but importantly the governor have remained the pivot upon which this wheels of change has rotated so far, we have kept this party working and after this meeting our congresses and convention will commence in the early part of next year and all party organs will be strengthened. We are in good mood and high spiri
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, was to let slip how the Buharists in NEC failed in their plotconfirmed this while speaking to newsmen after the NEC meeting.
Today’s meeting was not about 2019 elections. When we talk about 2019 in the context of the agenda you saw, we are talking about membership registrations, the drive for membership and others. We are not talking about elections.
“Even though there was a motion in the floor that called for a vote of confidence on the President, some of us felt it was not necessary because there is nowhere that his confidence is shaking.
“But the motion was taken and passed. But there was a second leg to that motion which calls for the adoption of the candidature of the President, but it was differed for now and no decision was taken because that is not the major reason why we are here,” Dogara revealed.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, gave further details: “One of the NEC members said we should move a motion passing a vote of confidence on Mr. President. There was no formal motion moved on the issue of second term for Mr. President.
“Somebody in the crowd shouted that we should move a motion and we don’t even know that member. But the motion that was formally moved was that NEC should pass a vote of confidence on Mr. President and that was after the brief given by the Minister of Agriculture, especially when he said that by 2018, Nigeria will have no need to import a single grain of rice. That is the context and I need you to understand that very well.”
“The only discussion or conversation on 2019 was the activity of the party in 2018, especially the issue of convention. It was agreed that since we have all these activities lined up, including the mini convention, congresses and elective convention, a small team be set up to put dates to these party activities up to 2018.
“There was no discussion about election of 2019 or who will be the party flag bearer. The committee will decide when all these activities will take place.”
To assuage aggrieved members who have been grumbling for months over the lack of return on their political investment in 2015,
President Buhari announced at the meeting, “I am keenly aware that our supporters are very eager for these appointments to be announced. By the Grace of God, these appointments will be announced soon. Especially now that the economy is improving, we will have the resources to cater for the appointees.
“By the same token the compressed Federal Executive Council will be expanded to bring in more supporters at Federal Level, with fresh ideas to be injected into the government.”
“Some of us in this meeting may know I had given instructions since October 2015 for this exercise to start. But there have been inordinate delays through several Committees in an attempt to get the balance right and to make sure all parts of the country are equitably represented.”
He also applauded his administration for its achievements?
“We can be proud of our achievements in the last two years, Boko Haram, Niger Delta, Regular Fuel, Improved Power, TSA, Agriculture and Fertilizer, above all, the knowledge that corruption will not be tolerated in this Government. We all know there is change.”
“In my remarks to the Caucus meeting yesterday, I enumerated the progress that our government has made in the implementation of the programs of government and the Party Manifesto.
“We can be proud of our achievements in the last two years, Boko Haram, Niger Delta, Regular Fuel, Improved Power, TSA, Agriculture and Fertilizer, above all, the knowledge that corruption will not be tolerated in this Government. We all know there is change.
“Nigeria’s prestige has gone up, Nigeria is now credit –worthy, a clear testimony of which was the over-subscription of the Euro-Bond by 4 times. Nevertheless, we are not resting on our achievements. I am quite aware of the challenges before us.
Although almost all notable party leaders attended the event,
But analysts fear that what befell former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan is about to repeat itself.
“It was when they showed interest in the next term they began to derail. For political expediency, Buhari wants to swell his lean, fit government with hungry desperadoes. That is the Genesis of Revelation: the start of the end for him as we presently know him. I just hope he is ready for more Babachirgate and Mainagate scandals,” one analyst said Tuesday night.