Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), holds its national convention Wednesday in Lagos, to elect its presidential candidate for the 14 February, 2015, election.
Five political heavyweights — former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Kano and Imo states governors, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Owelle Rochas Okorocha respectively, and a newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah — will battle it out for the sole presidential ticket.
Buhari had gunned for the nation’s highest office in 2003, 2007 and 2011 on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the two parties which joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to form the APC.
In all three previous attempts, he had emerged first runner up to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Former Vice President Abubakar is also not a rookie to the race as he had contested for the presidency in 2007 under the platform of then Action Congress (AC), a precursor of the ACN. He also contested for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket against Jonathan in 2011.
Okorocha, who won the Imo governorship on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) before defecting to the APC, has been in the race for the Presidency, criss crossing different political parties, including the PDP, the defunct All Peoples Party (APP), the Action Alliance (AA), APGA and now the APC.
The winner of the APC primaries is expected to slug it out with incumbent President Jonathan, who is the sole presidential candidate of the ruling PDP.
Some 8,000 delegates will vote, consisting of all members of its Board of Trustees (BoT); all members of the National executive Committee, serving and past presidents and vice presidents, who are party members; serving and past governors and deputy governors who are party members; serving and past members of the National Assembly who are party members, in line with the provisions of Article 12 (1) of the party’s constitution.
Others are serving and past Speakers, deputy speakers and other principal officers of state Houses of Assemblies who are party members, members of the party’s states working committees, including the Federal Capital Territory of the party; all chairmen and secretaries of the party at the local government council and local development council areas (LCDA) across the country; all elected chairmen of local government areas and LCDAs in the country who are members of the party and three elected delegates, at least of which one must be a woman, from each local government areas and LCDAs in the country.
APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said that delegates were expected to start arriving Lagos Tuesday, while accreditation is to commence Wednesday.
He said that “delegates from the six geo-political zones are to report for accreditation at the designated centres from 7 am Wednesday, before moving to the venue of the convention at Teslim Balogun Stadium.”
Mohammed said all the presidential aspirants had signed an agreement which will see them remain in the party no matter the result of the primaries.