APC has yet to zone presidential ticket, Senator Abdullahi Adamu

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APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) said it had yet to zone its presidential ticket for the 2023 election.

National Chairman of the ruling party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed this while speaking to State House Correspondents after presenting the party’s candidate for the Ekiti governorship election, Biodun Oyebanji, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adamu was accompanied to the Presidential Villa by the Ekiti Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Kebbi Governor and Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) Atiku Bagudu and National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) on Thursday asked political parties to throw the contest for their presidential tickets open to all, asserting the zoning system was no longer desirable.

The ruling party swapped its national offices between North and South, leading to the emergence of Adamu from the North Central as the national chairman.

Kaduna Governor Nasir el-Rufai just before the party’s National Convention, said even though the APC had not decided on zoning the presidential ticket, the swapping of national offices was an indication of where its presidential candidate would come from.

However, when asked where the ruling party would zone its presidential ticket to, Adamu said taking such decision would be the job of the entire party, which he said was bigger than him 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,” he said.

Responding to raging issue of when political appointees who intended to contest in the elections were expected to resign their current appointments, especially in the light of the party’s recently issued guidelines for those in the category, Adamu declined comment, pointing out that the matter was in court.

“Thank you very much for your question. Our luck on this end is that I happen to be a lawyer and the issue you are raising is in court right now. So, it will be subjudice for me to discuss it at all,” he said.

Responding to the cost of the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms considered rather high by many, Adamu said the party had no regrets setting the prices at the current rate.

He cited the need to protect the party from non-serious aspirants and moles as well as the need to generate money to run the election processes.

“Yeah, I’ve been listening, with rapt attention, to the hues and cries from our lovers and from our adversaries. We have no regrets whatsoever. We did some homework; we know what it takes to go through primaries, go through presidential campaign, go through election for the President. We know what it takes.

“We also do know that there are citizens who are qualified to contest, but who are not serious contenders, who will just want to take anything cheap by the roadside, and assert what they call their rights and create problems for our party.

“We’re also aware that some parties that have no chance whatsoever to win presidential election in Nigeria, they will sponsor people into parties that have prospects for winning the election, to create problems for us, to divert our attention, whichever party is involved in that.

“Over and above that, yes, we are the ruling party. Yes, we need to set examples in what we do, but I ask you, I don’t know which part of the country you come from, If God forbid, your traditional ruler dies today, contestants to that office will go for more than N100 million, it’s no news.

“When I contested for the Senate, all I paid was just a token; N5 million, N10 million, including the expression. When my colleague wanted to be chairman of the party, in the days of Adams Oshimhole, it took him N500,000. Today, for me, just as an example, to contest the national chairman of our party, I had to pay N20 million to contest.

“Alright, and even the enormity of work that has to be done, and this work will be done with money. We don’t want to continue going a begging.

“So, I want to say that we’re able to mobilize sufficient funds to support our efforts to win election. Some protests may be well founded, I have no quarrel with that, but the propensity of this, that people just assume ‘it’s the ruling party’, is a quick… in our democracy.

“I will not quarrel with that, everyone of us has the right to express himself, and I’m in full support of these obligations, but we wear the shoes for our party and we know where it pinches us the most one”, he explained.

On fears that the process of settling for a presidential candidate could tear the party apart, if not carefully handled, he said: “God will not allow that to happen to us. We will come out, by the grace of God, at the appropriate time, the candidate at the convention for our great party will choose.

“I do not want to speculate, but my duty as chairman is to listen to party men, party leaders, stakeholders, to see what is going to be best when the time comes and I’ve always found it easier and more noble to get a bridge before I jump to cross it. We are not yet there.”

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