The National Chairman of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has said that the party would take a decision on zoning after screening its 2023 presidential aspirants.
The APC National Chairman made this known in an interview with selected Hausa service media organisations late on Wednesday.
Adamu added that the presidential aspirants would be scrutinised in accordance with the party’s guidelines for the 2023 general elections.
The party’s electoral guidelines provide three methods of choosing its candidates for an election, which include: direct, indirect, and consensus.
Speaking on the party’s zoning arrangement, Adamu said no decision would be taken until it’s aspirants were all screened.
He said: “We have not produced our candidate for the presidency yet.
“We have to screen the aspirants to know the way forward.
“We have aspirants from across the country in the presidential race.
“We will take the decision when we get there.”
On the number of the presidential aspirants, Adamu said members of the party could not be denied the right to contest for the presidency.
He said: “You can’t stop our party stalwarts from contesting elections or aspiring for the presidency.
“It is their right and we are happy for them.
“There is nothing wrong for anybody aspiring for the exalted seat of the president.
“It is God that decides who gets what.
“We have 28 aspirants for the presidential ticket, and everybody knows that all of them cannot get the ticket.
“If it’s God’s wish, they all can even be president of the country one after the other.
“Our goal is to ensure justice in the choice of who emerges as the candidate of the party.
“That does not mean we are perfect, but we pray we do the right thing.”
On the possibility of the party adopting the type of consensus arrangement that produced him as its national chairman, Adamu said the chairmanship position was not the same as that of the president.
He stressed that there was no comparison between the two positions.
He added: “However, the party has laid down its rules and regulations for the aspirants.
“We would scrutinise all of them based on our guidelines to be sure we pick the right candidate for the party.”
He debunked insinuations that a large number of the party’s presidential aspirants was a subtle ploy to extend the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari in office.
He said: “I can only say that God will deal with those behind such insinuations.
“President Buhari had since 2019 declared that he would not seek a tenure extension.
“He told everybody and swore with the Qur’an that he would not breach constitutional provision on his two terms tenure.
“The issue does not even arise.
“The president, while performing the Lesser Hajj, reiterated this position.
“If there is truth in such talks, none of the aspirants would have procured the party’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms.”
Speaking on the allegations that the party’s aspirants were sharing money with delegates, Adamu said he had no evidence to that effect.
He said for now, there was, however, no law against aspirants taking their campaign to the delegates.
He said: “I don’t have evidence that aspirants are sharing money with delegates.
“For me, it’s the delegates that are selling their conscience, which is not proper.
“Our delegates should know that anybody sharing money with them can’t be the right candidate for the party.
“He doesn’t mean well for the country.
“I don’t have a solution for the problem.”
With 145 governorship aspirants and 28 presidential aspirants, Adamu explained that politicians were rushing to the APC because it is the government in power with everyone that matters in the country as its member.
He said: “It is because that is where those that matter in the country are.
“It didn’t start today; we are the government in power.
“Today, in spite of all the insults, the APC has an advantage far ahead of other political parties.
“Today, the APC is the biggest party in Nigeria.
“It’s natural that it will attract more Nigerians than any other party.
“This is where it is happening.
“Any right-thinking politician would naturally gravitate towards the APC.
“Of course, we have our problems, but today we are the cynosure of all Nigerians.
“And I am hopeful, God willing, we will retain power in the general election.”