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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

AsiwajuTinubu lobbies for @Buhari2015

*APC presidential hopeful shifts declaration to Oct 15
*Saraki to head campaign organisation
As the battle for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gathers momentum, former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, has intensified lobby for the emergence of former Head of State, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, as the party’s candidate.
Sources told New Telegraph that Tinubu had stepped up efforts in recent days to ensure that Buhari would get the APC ticket at the December 2 national convention of the party.
He is said to be mobilising the party structures and providing the initial funding in the pursuit of Buhari’s aspiration. In return, it was learnt that Buhari had agreed that should he win, Tinubu would pick his running mate for him.
In preparations for his possible emergence as the party’s candidate, Buhari, it was also learnt, had begun putting together his campaign organisation, which will be headed by former Kwara State Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, now a senator. Buhari has also shifted the formal declaration of his presidential ambition from today until October 15.
According to the sources, Tinubu, an influential leader of the APC, had on several occasions, met with Buhari in Lagos and Abuja to fine-tune the arrangements while associates of the APC presidential aspirant had held strategic meetings with Tinubu in Lagos and London on the Buhari presidential project.
It was learnt that the former governor is providing logistics and rallying the party structures behind the former military ruler who has contested the presidential elections three times – 2003, 2007 and 2011– based on the belief that he is the best candidate for the party to defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its adopted candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was learnt that though the Tinubu’s camp was not discountenancing the candidacy of Buhari’s major challenger and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, it was uncomfortable with Atiku emerging the standard bearer of the APC for the February14, 2015 presidential election.
“We have the right to support our choice of the presidential candidate. We are working towards the emergence of Buhari as the APC candidate. We are not considering Atiku at all. He has the money, but we have the party structures.
What Buhari lacks in finance, we will provide for his campaign. “Don’t forget that we provided Atiku with the platform in 2007, but shortly after the election, he jumped ship and moved to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
When he had issues with President Olusegun Obasanjo, we provided six Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to defend him. But what did we get in return? Nothing. So, we can’t take the gamble on Atiku again.
We have pitched our tent with Buhari and we will ensure that he wins the election,” an associate of Tinubu, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC told New Telegraph.
As part of the plan, the Buhari/Tinubu camp is assembling a team that will reach out to delegates to the national convention. “We have the structures. We will move round the states to ensure that the delegates do our bidding.
In the end, Buhari will emerge as the candidate,” another source said. An aide of Tinubu confirmed to New Telegraph that the former governor has been engaging APC governors and other stakeholders on the need to have Buhari on the ballot rather than Atiku. In the permutations of Tinubu, Buhari is the only person that can confront Jonathan in the 2015 elec-tion.
This is hinged on his electoral strength as demonstrated in the 2011 presidential election. In the 2011 election, Jonathan won in seven states, comprising Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Adamawa, out of the 19 states in the north.
Buhari, as the presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) one of the legacy parties of APC, defeated the president in the 12 northern states of Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Borno, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. Jonathan, as an incumbent, polled 22, 350, 242 votes to defeat Buhari, who got 11, 914,953 votes. Most of Jonathan’s votes came from the South.
“We are not ruling out other APC presidential aspirants, but we have cast our lot with Buhari. We consider Buhari above others as an asset to the APC in its quest for the presidency,” the source said.
Earlier before New Telegraph learnt of the position of the Tinubu camp, APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had said the party would provide a level playing ground for all the aspirants. However, it was learnt that Tinubu had not been able to get the full commitment of all the party’s governors in the South-West to the Buhari presidential project.
It was gathered that while Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) are rooting for Buhari, their counterparts in Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, were undecided between Buhari and Atiku. There is also a report of a division in the Tinubu’s camp as to who should emerge the running mate.
Some of the former governor’s associates are backing Fayemi while Tinubu is considering former Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, for the position. Osibajo, a professor of Law and a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), is being considered to balance the religious equation.
Tinubu who had been widely rumoured to be nursing a presidential ambition, had to back off following growing resent-ment in the party against a Muslim-Muslim ticket of Buhari and Tinubu. It was also learnt that Buhari has concluded arrangements to appoint Saraki as the Director General of his campaign organisation.
At present, a former PDP National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, is holding forth as the campaign coordinator. A source told New Telegraph that Buhari had met with Saraki in Abuja in the past few days and the duo agreed to work together.
“At the meeting, Buhari told Saraki about his intention to run for the presidency. The former governor also informed the presidential aspirant about his intention to run for the same office, but later agreed to support Buhari,” the source said.
A former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, may also hold a sensitive position in the Buhari’s campaign organisation. “We are sure of winning the APC presidential ticket. So, we are working ahead. Saraki is on board.
Sylva will either head the Logistics or Finance Committee of the campaign,” an aide of the former head of state told New Telegraph. It was further learnt that Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, is to provide the director of media for the campaign organisation.
“He is looking towards picking a senior editorial staff of The Nation newspaper to fill the position,” the source added. Meanwhile, Buhari has shifted his formal declaration earlier scheduled for today until October 15.
A statement yesterday by Ogbeh, said: “The formal declaration ceremony by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) of his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been postponed by one week.
“The declaration earlier scheduled for Wednesday, October 8, will now hold on Wednesday, October 15, at Eagle Square, Abuja. All earlier arrangements remain the same.” New Telegraph learnt that the long Sallah holiday informed the shift as necessary logistics could not be provided for the declaration.
It was further learnt that pressure is being mounted on Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, to step down for Buhari. Kwankwaso has indicated interest in the APC presidential ticket.
SOURCE: newtelegraphonline

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