Ahead of Monday’s presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a clique around President Muhammadu Buhari has succeeded in selling the candidature of Senate President Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan to the president, Daily Trust Saturday has reliably gathered.
Barring any last-minute change, the president, who returned to the country on Friday from Madrid, Spain, where he attended the Nigerian-Spanish Business Forum, will present Lawan to the critical stakeholders of the party as his preferred candidate for the plum job.
Buhari had on Tuesday told governors who are members of the APC to support his candidate. He, however, did not mention who the person is. The president’s statement has raised dust in the ruling party.
Multiple sources told this paper that the clique, popularly known as the Villa Cabal, has secured the buy-in of the president for Lawan.
One of the sources, a former governor, said Lawan was being forced on the president by the cabal.
“Buhari’s nephew, Malam Mamman Daura, a former director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, and the national chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, have succeeded in ramming Lawan down the throat of the president,” he said.
He, however, said if the Senate president was forced on the party, it would be a recipe for disaster and implosion.
“Atiku Abubakar will be declared the president-elect by noon on the election day,” he said.
Recall that Atiku had last Saturday emerged as the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general elections.
Corroborating the former governor’s claims, an ally of the president expressed shock over the development, saying it would polarise the country.
“I just discussed the issue with one of the president’s aides. We should not allow this to happen. It is not good that after eight years, the president will be bringing another northerner as his successor. This is not good for us and the country.
“In 2007, Obasanjo brought a northerner when he was leaving because of the power-sharing formula between North and South. Anyone that is supporting the North to retain power beyond 2023 is an enemy of the country,” he said.