By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Four of the five declared presidential aspirants of All Progressives Congress, APC, have rejected claims of a right of first refusal for President Muhammadu Buhari in the contest for the presidential ticket of the party.
The four, Mr. Adamu Garba II, Chief Executive Officer of IPI Solutions, one of the country’s leading software solution providers; Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, Chairman of Texas Energy Corporation; Chief Udo Udeogaranya, a seasoned politician, and Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, a Second Republic lawmaker, made the assertions in separate declarations to Vanguard.
The fifth person among the declared aspirants is President Buhari, who made his intention known for a second term on April 9 to a meeting of party leaders at the national secretariat.
APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had on Monday, declared that President Buhari, as the incumbent, had a right of first refusal of the party’s presidential ticket.
His claim was, however, pooh-poohed by the four rivals who declared the assertion as undemocratic and incongruous to presidential style democratic culture.
Dr. Ogbonnia told Vanguard: “Comrade Oshiomhole is not speaking for the party but for himself. The APC leader, Bola Tinubu, made it clear that the presidential ticket of the party was open. Buhari, too, was quoted severally to support the rule of law and internal party democracy within APC.”
Mr. Adamu Garba II, said: “APC is purely a democratic party and will do nothing anti-democratic in its operations. We have started a process to formally go to his office and declare our interest in the office of the President. That I believe will remove the conditionality of the first right of refusal since it is evident that it is not only the President that is interested in the office of the President under the party.”
Delta State-born politician, Alhaji Unagha, in his response, described the claim by Oshiomhole as unconstitutional.