The delay by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, in naming his running mate in the February 14, 2015 presidential election has been attributed to the former Head of State’s “characteristic inability” to take authority and his decision to concede the responsibility to former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Sources within the APC said that concerns began to mount last Thursday when Buhari failed to announce his running mate in his acceptance speech at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, venue of the presidential primaries of the party.
Many of the party leaders are now said to be worried that Buhari has surrendered his authority to take decision on the matter to the leader of APC in the South, Tinubu.
One of the sources said “unfortunately, the acceptance speech came and went without a mention of anyone to the dissatisfaction of many.
“I can confirm to you now, just as events of the last two days have shown, that the failure to make an announcement on the vice-presidential candidate was due to the deadlock within the APC over the choice.”
There were credible feelers yesterday that the APC is at the moment struggling with different options, one of which is the Muslim/Muslim ticket, which idea was broached sometime this year.
Watchers of political developments in the parties had believed that the kite was then being flown to test the waters and possibly promote a Buhari-Tinubu presidential ticket. Opposition to the proposition was stringent.
It will be recalled that former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, who contested and came third in the primaries, had said in a recent interview that the National Working Committee of the APC had passed a resolution against it.
General Buhari, in the same interview series, had refused to give a categorical answer to the question for fear of antagonizing his benefactor, Tinubu, who was then believed to have interest in the position and who exercises great control on the APC structure in the Southwest.
According to the source, “Buhari knew from the outset that he would require the support of Tinubu to succeed in his presidential project and, having witnessed how Tinubu delivered the Southwest zone bulk votes to him at the primaries, he now seems to be overwhelmed by the fear of Tinubu and has failed to take any decisive action on the issue of a running mate.
“Despite his known preference for one of those struggling for the position, Buhari has ceded the power to select a running mate to Tinubu. There is the belief in some camps within the party that this is one of the several deals that Buhari made to secure Tinubu’s backing for the ticket.”
Another source in the APC, who expressed worries over the development, said “Many ardent supporters of Buhari have often cited amongst his key weaknesses, the characteristic inability to retain authority. Buhari is known to constantly cede his authority to those around him and remain a figure head.
“As military Head of State, it is well known that Major-General Buhari ceded much of his authority to his second in command (a fellow Muslim and an officer junior to him) Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon. Idiagbon it was who came to own and personify much of what the regime stood for until they were thrown out of power.
“Similarly, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, Buhari was in the dark about much of the operations of the organisation; he ceded his powers to the consultants he appointed (Afri-Projects, a firm owned by his relative). They proceeded to award billions of Naira worth of projects overwhelmingly in the North to the exclusion, and anger of much of Southern Nigeria.
“Once again, Buhari is showing that he is weak and beholden to Bola Tinubu who moved the APC national convention away from the nation’s capital, to his home base in Lagos. If there was any reason at all to move the party’s convention from the nation’s capital, why not move it to any of the states controlled by the APC in the South-East, North-East or South-South? This would have had the advantage of broadening the appeal of the party and addressing the charge that it is simply a South-West / North-West party.”
“When all is said and done, it appears certain, despite denials, that the choice of General Buhari’s vice-presidential candidate is not Buhari’s to make but will be the choice of Bola Tinubu; and all of us are now waiting on Tinubu to name his (Buhari’s) running mate.” The Guardian