The All Progressives Congress has said that its presidential candidates will emerge through transparent primaries.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said the party would neither give preference to any zone nor fix positions for candidates from any part of the country for the 2015 general elections.
Mohammed was reacting to a report that the APC had zoned the presidency to the North and the vice-presidency to the South-East. The report had said that the party zoned the vice-presidency to the South-East to break the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party in the area.
But the APC spokesman said, “There is no zoning in our constitution. Our presidential candidate will emerge through a transparent process. Nigerians are interested in how our presidential candidate will emerge. We won’t disappoint them.”
He also explained that in choosing its presidential candidate, the party would abide by Nigeria’s constitution.
According to him, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria spells out what a presidential candidate must possess.
He said the constitutional requirements were superior to any other requirement of the law, adding “We also have in our own constitution, which is very akin to what the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says as to who can be a President.
“The thing is that you cannot raise the bar. For instance, if the constitution of Nigeria says to be a President, all you need is first degree, you cannot say because it is APC, you must have a Master’s degree. Our own constitution is very much like the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Mohammed also explained that all incumbent governors and other aspirants of the party would go through primaries.
The APC spokesman was asked if the incumbent governors of the party would be given automatic tickets in 2015. He said, “I am not aware of that. Like I keep telling you folks, you can’t circumvent the constitution of the party. Look at even Anambra, there will be primaries. The constitution is very clear, there will be primaries.”
The incumbent APC governors, who are entitled to second term include Tanko Almakura (Nasarawa); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kashim Shettima (Borno).
Governorship aspirants that will slug it out with the incumbents have been emerging in some of the states.
In Ogun State, the posters of a banker and a former vice-presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Fola Adeola, were in strategic parts of the state capital, Abeokuta, a few weeks ago.
In Ekiti State, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, has indicated interest in the state governorship seat.
In Oyo State, Senator Femi Lanlehin may contest the party governorship ticket with the incumbent governor.
Meanwhile, the PDP and the APC have again engaged each other in a war of words over the manifesto of the opposition party.
The interim national publicity secretary of the APC, in an interview with one of our correspondents, faulted the claim of the PDP that the opposition party copied its manifesto.
Mohammed described the claim by the PDP that the APC manifesto lacked originality as an “indefensible lie.”
He wondered why the manifesto, which the PDP claimed the APC copied, had not been made public since the commencement of democratic rule in 1999.
The APC spokesman wondered why the PDP had not implemented the manifesto 14 years after it was produced.
He said that it would be dangerous for anybody to copy the PDP manifesto because such a manifesto emanated from those that did not mean well for the country.
According to Mohammed, while the APC has made its manifesto public,that of the PDP is not known to Nigerians.
He said, “Is that (the issue of manifesto ) what Nigerians want to hear now? If the APC copied the manifesto of the PDP, how come that the PDP has been unable to implement that copied manifesto?
“You see, a lie is difficult to defend. Let’s assume that that is what the APC did, which is not true anyway, was it the entire manifesto that was copied? How come that the PDP has been unable to implement it in 14 years?
“Nigerians are not interested in these theatrics. They are interested in the reasons why their purported manifesto has not been implemented. Why have they not implemented it? Why have they not done it in 14 years?
“We did not copy it. It will be dangerous for anybody to copy the PDP manifesto. It is a manifesto of no-do-gooders. We made our manifesto public, when last did they make their manifesto public? We made our manifesto public.”
Attempts to get the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Communications, Dr. Doyin Okupe, to comment further on the issue did not yield any result as he did not answer repeated calls made to his mobile telephone line on Thursday. Also, Okupe did not respond to a text message sent to him on the issue.
But the presidential aide had drawn the ire of the APC when he described the party as lacking in originality. He said the opposition copied the manifesto of the PDP.
Okupe, who spoke while fielding questions from journalists at the Benue State capital, Makurdi, on Sunday, said that the APC’s place was still the opposition in 2015.
He said that the APC manifesto was nothing different from that of the PDP, stressing that the new party had nothing to offer the country.
He said, “The manifesto of APC is almost like an internet download and there is nothing that reflects change in it.