Ekiti fallout: New thinking on APC presidential ticket
The outcome of the Ekiti Gubernatorial election was a shocker to many in the All Progressives Congress, APC. However, only few could have predicted how that election result was going to affect the party’s thinking on its presidential platform
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
NEW permutations for the 2015 presidential ticket of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC have emerged following the defeat of the party in the Ekiti gubernatorial election last month. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the outgoing governor of the state who was defeated in that election, had according to party insiders, been in pole position to be projected as the party’s vice-presidential running mate in the 2015 election.
Fayemi was expected by many to run as the APC presidential running mate as the sitting governor of Ekiti State next year. Fayemi’s prospects had brightened following serious objections to party leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu taking that slot on account of religious balancing. Tinubu is a Muslim and suggestions of him pairing with any of the leading Muslim aspirants in the North, especially Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, had been a major issue of contention.
Major issue of contention Though there were insinuations that Tinubu did not mind, many party enthusiasts bothered by inscriptions of the party as an Islamic party fought against such a pair of Buhari and Tinubu as formidable as it looked. With religion putting Tinbubu aside, Fayemi before the election became one of those non-Muslims that had been factored as possible running mate to any of the leading presidential aspirants in the party.
The Ekiti governor, according to sources, had been especially touted to run with Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso of Kano State. The increasingly powerful lobby of APC governors where Fayemi is believed to have a strong sway, and which was instrumental to many recent decisions of the party, Vanguard learnt, would have been used by the governors to project the Kwankwanso-Fayemi ticket.
Besides Fayemi, another prospective running mate had been Otunba Niyi Adebayo, former governor of Ekiti State. However, the defeat of Fayemi, Vanguard learnt, has led to a diminution of either options in a presidential ticket throwing up fresh permutations that have led to the emergence of new options. One of the increasingly toasted options is Senator Olurunimbe Mamora, former minority leader of the Senate.
Other permutations said to be especially favoured in the calculation of the Tinubu camp are Yemi Cardoso, a former commissioner for economic planning in Lagos, Prof. Yemi Osibajo also a former commissioner for justice in Lagos State and Senator Ajayi Borofice, presently representing Ondo State in the Senate.
Mamora’s emergence follows the illegibility of Governor Babatunde Fashola, also on religious consideration. The popular Lagos State governor is a Muslim. Mamora, it was learnt, is especially being linked to the APC’s leading presidential aspirant Buhari by some party stakeholders who are drumming such a ticket as a win-win ticket. The former senator is being projected for his loyalty, integrity and popularity as factors that would sell the ticket in the Southwest and the rest of the country.
“He’s a Christian, popular and acceptable to Christian and Muslim communities,” a source canvassing the ticket revealed at the weekend. Continuing, the source said of Mamora, “He is a highly respected liberal democrat and a professional; former Lagos Speaker, two-term Senator and well loved across party and religious lines. He can easily reach out to the National Assembly for President Buhari. “
Noting similarities between Mamora and Buhari, the source said: “He’s highly principled and also has disdain for corruption like Buhari and he will be acceptable to the Afenifere/Oodua Groups which will enable Buhari win not less than 80% of Yoruba votes.”
But a source close to Tinubu played down the Mamora option saying that Mamora was dropped from going back to the Senate in 2011 on account of his perceived disloyalty to Tinubu in the internal conflict between the Tinubu and Fashola camps ahead of that year’s gubernatorial election.
Mamora was said to have sided with Fashola and thereby incurred the wrath of Tinubu leading to his being replaced with Senator Gbenga Ashafa in the 2011 election. Cardoso who served in the Tinubu cabinet it was learnt, is also being seriously canvassed on the basis of his economic expertise and projected as one who could help a possible President Buhari to manage the economic affairs of the country.
The projection of Senator Borofice it was gathered is aimed at cutting from the votes of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Ondo State. The idea behind Borofice is that he could draw out votes for APC being that he is from Ondo State, a state that is now under the control of Labour Party and which had in the past thrown support for President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The calculation behind Borofice is that he is from a state that is not within the control of the APC, so by projecting him as a vice-president, he could draw votes that would ordinarily have been mobilised by the governor for the PDP,” a source privy to the permutations told Vanguard. Such projections, however, are out of joint with other available factors in the contest.
Emergence of Sam Nda-Isaiah The emergence of Sam Nda-Isaiah as one of the aspirants has also opened possibilities of a Muslim from any of the Southwest States emerging as a running mate. However, given the present lukewarm attitude of many party stakeholders in the region to the prospects of the newspaper columnist and publisher, not much thought has been made of the personalities that could fit the mould for a running mate for a Northern Christian presidential candidate.
Another permutation that some believe could electrify the party is the presentation of Adams Oshiomhole as a running mate or possibly a presidential candidate. Oshiomhole who has acquitted himself fairly in Edo State and won commendations for his infrastructural developments is considered as a possible weapon of mass destruction if put on the presidential ticket and could especially impede the PDP in its South-South base.
In the past, a matchup between Oshiomhole and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal had been projected as a serious challenge that for the PDP. However, given the relative independent mindedness of the Edo governor, not many in the APC hierarchy seem to be giving much consideration to lifting him up.