There will be a change of governorship baton in Ekiti State on 18 June when the electorate will troop out to vote for a man of their choice. It was in preparation for this that, on 30 April, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, presented the party’s candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
That day, Adamu was accompanied by Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi who will declare his presidential ambition in Abuja today; Kebbi State Governor and Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Atiku Bagudu; and the National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Trust journalists! They accosted Adamu and asked him a question on the zoning of Presidential candidacy to the South. If they expected a straight answer, they made a mistake. Adamu started on a circumlocution note, saying no decision yet had been taken on the matter and such would be the job of the entire party, which he said was bigger than himself as Chairman. “I am today privileged to be the Chairman of the party. The party is greater than me. The party has not made a decision and I cannot preempt what the party’s decision will be.” Simply put, it is not certain yet if, as analysts now put it, power must shift south. This has generated negative optics for Adamu and the party he heads.
Since the matter concerns the South, the Chairman of the regions’s governor’s forum, Rotimi Akeredolu issued a warning that if the party should abandon the agreement, it would be like putting landmines on the part of peaceful 2023 elections. He said he opposes the plans of the party to produce a presidential candidate outside the south.
“It is the turn of the Southern region to produce the next President,” Akeredolu said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The party leadership should have no difficulty in making a pronouncement on this very important issue, just as it has fixed various fees for the purchase of forms.
“This must be done without delay. The principle of Federal Character is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It will be disingenuous for anyone to argue against rotation at this period.”
“We must not keep our party men and women guessing on the position of the leadership of the party. This is the time to weigh in and take control of the process,” Akeredolu said.
“No statement must suggest, even remotely, that the party harbours certain sentiments which may predispose it to consider throwing the contest open. This is certainly not the time for equivocation. Equity dictates that we take a stand.”
“The current political dispensation is anchored by the unwritten convention driven by a principle of equity,” Akeredolu said.
“Political expediency dictates, more appealingly, that while adhering to the spirit and letters of the law guiding the conduct of elections and succession to political offices, we must do nothing capable of tilting the delicate balance against the established arrangement which guarantees peace and promotes trust.”