The national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has thrown more light on the decision to jettison his earlier plan to push for the fielding of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, as consensus candidate of the party in the 2023 presidential election.
PlatinumPost reports that former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, emerged victorious in the party’s primary following resistance to the planned consensus arrangement by some APC bigwigs.
But speaking in an interview with Daily Trust, Adamu said he had to make U-turn on the consensus plan, following new political permutations as a result of the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He said : “It is true that (I suggested Lawan as consensus candidate) after consultations at the appropriate and different levels of the party, we had reasons to believe that he was the best at the time. And that was motivated partially by the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to field former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. And they have been upbeat that the position of the president must go to the South. We also know, as a matter of fact, that the PDP is predominantly entrenched in the South East, and to some extent, South South.
“When they (PDP) had their convention, to everybody’s surprise, they chose to have a northerner and that person is Atiku Abubakar. That sent some shock waves. These guys that had been upbeat with the issue of having the president go to the South did a different thing, so what do we tell our voters?
“We had to have a rethink immediately and after due consultations. We thought that was the best way to go. And it is the place of the party, not any other person. So, it was for me to make that public and I did.
“I didn’t talk to the National Assembly; I talked to members of my National Working Committee. They are my first list. I consulted with them, and the same day, I consulted some governors, who said they wanted it to go to the South. I knew that if everyone of us wanted to stand on his or her ground we would have catastrophe and cataclysm within the party and that could end up plunging us into crisis and I didn’t want that to happen. So we went straight through the convention. They wanted me to withdraw my statement but I said no.
“When the president said that whoever wanted to contest should do so, and that he did not have anybody, we went into the convention; and it is now history. Our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu won in a clean primary election. Immediately he became successful, I and the president handed him over the flag of the party as our candidate. The following morning, I went to his house with all the members of my committee to pledge our support and assured him that the party had spoken. That has been our position since then. And we will continue to do that until the election. By the grace of God we will win.”
Asked if his initial position on the primary affected his relationship with Tinubu, the former Nasarawa governor said that was not the case.
” Not at all; I can speak only for myself. I led the delegation with all the members of the National Working Committee to his residence here in Abuja and we pledged our support absolutely. It is our party and it is our desire to win; and we cannot win with a divided house.
“This is the highest level – the hierarchy of the party – so we have to bring a level of maturity we have for providing leadership. And if it meant swallowing my words, there is nothing wrong with it. But I know it wasn’t my personal decision. We did it after due consultations. But the position of the governors probably came and affected the position I had been involved in, but that is part of history.
“I was brought up to bury the hatchet as much as I can. I don’t like opening old wounds. Whoever did whatever within his conscience knows what he has done. I have done my best as the chairman of the party, but at the end, the party decided. I pledge my support and allegiance. Whoever did whatever is history, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to go beating about the bush on the issue. Bola Tinubu is our presidential candidate and he has named his running mate. We are all supporting what he has done.”