The Bola Tinubu Campaign Organisation on Tuesday rejected the consensus arrangement being suggested by the All Progressives Congress, describing it as undemocratic.
The organisation was reacting to the claims by the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has endorsed the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as the consensus candidate of the party in the 2023 election.
The members of the BTCO told Journalists in Abuja that a free and fair presidential primary remained the best option and not consensus.
Members of the organisation include the Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga; Babatunde Ogala (SAN) and Kehinde Bamigbetan, said that the imposition of any aspirant was not in the interest of the APC.
According to them, the chances of the frontline aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the primary scheduled for the Eagle Centre in the Federal Capital Territory remained bright.
Ogala said, “We are here to say that the concept of consensus is clearly stated in Section 84 of the Electoral Act which requires all aspirants to give their written consent. And in these circumstances, if that has not been done, then, there cannot be said to be a consensus.
“They should follow the full dictates of the law and let us through a democratic process as enshrined in the Electoral Act.
“Adamu said that the President has endorsed Ahmad Lawan as a consensus candidate. I’m not in a position to deny that. But I’m also aware that the Northern Governors just met with the President and they came out of that meeting to say they are still standing on the Southern presidential candidate.
“I can’t say what his agenda is, but what it portends is that he, as a singular person, is against the concept of power shift, contrary to the resolution of APC leaders in the North.
“The President is not anointing anyone. Babachir Ali, Darazo Yay, who are insiders in the President’s cabinet, have said so, that we should go to the Eagle Square. Kano State had enough banners celebrating Asiwaju. We are not bothered by the fake projection by other aspirants.
“What happened at the NWC meeting was that Adamu announced consensus. The NWC say no. The governors said no, and that their position on zoning remains.”
Ogala explained that consensus cannot be imposed, stressing that all aspirants must agree by putting it in writing in accordance with the Electoral Act.
He recalled that Buhari had highlighted the qualities of the APC candidate, including acceptability, ability to win and deep knowledge of the party.
“Based on the criteria, Asiwaju is the strongest. He had said that if there must be a consensus, he is the best, and if you cannot consider him, ‘let’s go into a contest and I will accept the position of party delegates’; let’s follow the Electoral Act. Consensus is not about the majority. It must be unanimous.”
Ogala, however, conceded to the President the right to have a preferred candidate.
He recalled that a former governor of Ogun State once supported a candidate, who lost the election in 2019.
According to him, the many obstacles were being thrown up by detractors because “Tinubu is the candidate to beat.”
“What Adamu has said is to say I am against the South. Northern governors are saying that power should shift to the South. It’s not a northern agenda to zone to the North”, he said.
Onanuga said that although the contest was not do-or-die, it was in the interest of APC to organise a free and fair presidential convention.
Bamigbetan, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said Tinubu has an edge over other aspirants because of his formidable structure and vast support base.
He said, “From our own projection in states where the party is in control, Tinubu will carry the day. He will do well in Kano, Borno, Niger, Kaduna, Kwara, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, Borno, Katsina, Edo, Delta, Lagos, Oyo, Gombe, and others.
“As we speak today, over 30 states are with us. The delegates system allows us to go into alliance with various states. We know that we have 30 states, including big states of Kano, Borno, Lagos and Osun.”