Stakeholders in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appeared to have foreclosed any thought of Plan B, in the build-up to the 2019 elections.
Investigations by Sunday Tribune indicated at the weekend that stakeholders in the party are stuck with only the option of fielding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
It was gathered that while some leaders of the party were initially thinking Buhari would not want to run for a second term and that the calculation would favour any of the younger members, the reality on ground currently indicates that the party can not do without the choice of Buhari in 2019.
Stakeholders, who spoke to Sunday Tribune, confirmed that only Buhari could keep the party together beyond 2019.
“Notwithstanding the widespread call on Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019, the reality in the APC is to the contrary. We have seen that the unity of the party cannot be guaranteed without Buhari. The interests are just too diverse,” the source said.
Another source stated that without Buhari, the struggle for the control of the party and its apparatuses would become overwhelming and thus threaten the possibility of anyone using the structure as an election vehicle.
For instance, a source said that a huge battle that would overtake the APC in the absence of a Buhari candidacy would pitch the party’s national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, against the like of Governors Nasir El-Rufai, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Kaduna and Sokoto states, as well as Senate President Bukola Saraki against one another.
A source said that no party would survive a battle in which such stakeholders knock heads.
It was also gathered that Tinubu was already considering backing Buhari in 2019 to ensure that power would rotate to the South-West in 2019.
The former Lagos State governor is said to be rethinking opposition to Buhari with the plan that he or Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo could seek election as president in 2023.
Again, it was learnt that the APC folks had seen that Buhari’s support base could not easily be inherited by any of the perceived successors, a situation that makes 2019 crucially available for Buhari.