by Dare Lawal
It is the discussion that chieftains and supporters of the yet-to-be-certified All Progressives Congress (APC) love to say they are not interested in talking about at the moment. But it’s on their mind for sure.
It’s obvious that the APC is a party with men of high ambitions and the biggest test of their seriousness would be how they manage these ambitions without imploding.
On Wednesday in Minna, two men who have run for the office of president in the past, are chieftains of two of the parties coming together to form the APC coalition, and still have ambitions, Muhammadu Buhari (CPC) and Ibrahim Shekarau (ANPP) were together at the same event and they talked about their presidential hopes.
The event was the maiden edition of the Sam Nda-Isaiah Public Lecture Series which took place at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre. Nda-Isaiah is the publisher of the Leadership Newspapers.
Former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), does not hide his ambitions to rule Nigeria. Gradually he has renounced his earlier decision not to battle for the highest office in the land after his last electoral defeat. On Wednesday, he said that his ambition is not a do or die affair as the party comes first.
Buhari said that if a more formidable and better candidate steps up to the plate in 2015, he was willing to drop his own ambitions.
As a matter of fact, his statement came during a question and answer session with journalists. Would he step down if more candidates emerged on the platform of the APC? asked the journalists.
“Whoever thinks he has got a chance, let him come out because the more we are, the merrier it becomes.
“I will be ready to step down if there is a formidable and better candidate. It is not about me but for the survival of the party. APC is about ensuring internal democracy. Whoever emerges is the person I will support. Yes I will be ready to step down,” said the retired general.
Then there was the former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, who basically reiterated Buhari’s position as though it’s the official line all presidential hopefuls in the opposition have been asked to quote. He also said that if a better and more formidable candidate emerges he would step down.
“It is too early to talk about or to have a presidential candidate. In APC, we will have internal democracy that will guide the party. Let us have the party on the ground first, congresses will be held at various levels that will produce our candidates. At that point, anybody can contest and the party will support the best candidate that emerges.
“We are not talking of just dismantling the PDP; we want change. We are not just talking about change in democracy but change in attitude, change in approach, change in character, change in conducting the business of government. That is why our slogan is ‘change’. We are determined to change Nigeria for the better,” he said.