- Intensifies Consultations with the Presidency, Northern Elders, Retired Generals, Traditional Rulers, Others
- APC moves to Extend Sale of forms till next Week
By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
AHEAD of the 2023 Presidential election, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan has shifted his pick of the Expression of interest and Nomination forms on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest for the Presidency till next week.
Sources told Vanguard that Lawan who had earlier slated yesterday( Wednesday) for the official storming of the APC National Secretariat for the purchase of forms and subsequent declaration had to shift it to next week following his continued consultations with the Presidency, Northern and Southern leaders, Traditional rulers, retired Generals, Clergymen, the organised business sector, the Ulamas, Politicians, among others.
According to a source, the President of the Senate who has bowed to pressure from Senators, the North East geo-political zone in particular and other parts of the north to vie for the Presidency, has reached out to major Stakeholders on his aspiration.
The President of the Senate had earlier slated last week Tuesday for the collection of the forms and declaration but shifted it from the earlier date to this week because of the public holiday that was declared by the Federal Government.
Vanguard also gathered that the ruling APC has concluded moves to extend the date for the sale of Expression of Interest and Nomination forms till next in order to allow for aspirants to purchase the forms.
Recall that the party had fixed N30m as the fee for the expression of interest and N70m for the nomination forms and based on the party’s timetable, the sale of the forms would be closed on Friday, May 6, this year.
The latest permutation for Lawan to emerge as the APC candidate and to ensure that the North wins 2023 to occupy the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari whose second term will lapse on May 29, next year is that if the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP gives its presidential ticket to either former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from Adamawa State, North-East geo-political zone or Mohammed Hayatu- Deen from Borno State also in the North East, then Lawan from Yobe State also from the North East if given the APC ticket will give the PDP a big fight in the North.
Vanguard also gathered that with pressure on the Presidency with regard to Lawan’s project, the President is said to be working towards that position by identifying with the President of the Senate.
A Senator from the North and a strong ally of Lawan said, ” you will see the calibre of people from every part of the country that will pick the forms for Lawan, he is going to be the next President of the country that will do well for the country.”
When asked about his take on his position by former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume’s position that it will be unfair, injustice, a betrayal of trust and a gentleman man agreement if the APC Zones the Presidency to the North, the Senator who took a swipe at Ndume’s stance said, ” Nigeria needs a President for Nigeria and Nigerians and not the issue of a Hausa President, Nigeria needs a Progressive President like Lawan. Let the Electorate decide who to vote for.”
So far, the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; and Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio have picked the party forms after paying N100m each.
There is a female aspirant, Uju Kennedy who has also picked her forms after paying the sum of N30m as directed by the party.
Other aspirants who have declared interest to contest for the most exalted position in the country are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; a former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole; a former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and former National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who declared yesterday.
Also in the race are the Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar who declared yesterday; Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Ihechukwu Dallas Chima, Usman Iwu, Ben Ayade, Rotimi Amaechi, Mr Tein Jack-Rich and Adamu Garba, among others.