Contrary to expectations that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may zero in on a particular geopolitical zone for its presidential candidate to contest the 2015 general election, the party has actually thrown the race open with a view to fielding the best from any part of the country, THISDAY has learnt.
Irrespective, the North-west and North-east geopolitical zones are already locked in a battle over which of the two zones would clinch the APC presidential ticket.
A reliable party source, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, said the party is not likely to zone the presidential ticket to any part of the country in the light of the challenges that come with limiting the chances of other eminently qualified persons in the race.
“Who do we really have in the North-east that can confront the monster of this election? Well, I can’t tell. But I know it is beyond the platform; the candidate plays a major role.
“I know our former presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, comes from the zone. But as we speak, who is that prominent person that is sellable from that zone as a presidential material? I still can’t seem to place my hand on anyone.
“But that is not ruling out the zone from the contest because there will be a primary and the race will be open to all the zones. We’ve not even considered zoning much less narrowing it down to a particular zone. But I can tell you for certain that there will be a primary and it will be open to all,” the source said.
However, while some people believe that the party’s leadership might be looking the way of the North-west because of the clout that Major-General Muhammadu Buhari is believed to have in that part of the country, there is a growing clamour by APC members from the North-east to clinch the presidential ticket.
Whilst previous efforts by the likes of Mallam Adamu Ciroma and Professor Iya Abubakar at the presidency failed during the Second Republic, some political leaders from the zone are said to have intensified efforts by scheming to use the APC platform to make it to the presidency.
The North-east, which comprises Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa and Taraba States, has never had a president or military head of state, save for the late Sir Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, in the First Republic, who hailed from Bauchi State.
A source privy to the move to position the region for the APC ticket noted that “those who aspired to the presidency from our zone in the past were prevailed upon to drop their ambitions by some respected elders,” adding that the latest move is being spearheaded by some elders from across the North who are of the view that the North-east is being unfairly treated in the scheme of things in the country.
Thus, if successful, he argued that it would be part of the effort to re-integrate the North and mend broken fences created by the feeling of lack of equity among its various peoples.
He said since the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been ruled out in the scheme to actualise the North-east presidential dream, the opposition APC has become the alternative platform.
Apart from Ribadu, who was the defect Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential candidate in the 2011 presidential election, persons like former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, should he defect from PDP to APC, and former Lagos State military governor, Gen. Buba Marwa, are likely to indicate interest in the nation’s top job on the APC platform.