By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Though the All Progressives Congress, APC, has dismissed insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari may withdraw from the 2019 presidential election, party insiders have confided in The Source that there are indeed a concerted efforts to put in place a plan B in the event that the president eventually yields to pressure to back out of the race on age and health grounds.
There are indications that prominent political leaders and Emirs in the North are pilling pressure on Buhari to withdraw from the race, not only on age and health grounds, but also to salvage what remains of his integrity. They argue that the President’s hitherto rock-solid goodwill and integrity have virtually vanished beyond recall hence the need for him to quit next year rather than attract more odium and opprobrium to the region for another four years.
Since the APC will eventually replace him with a Northern candidate and with the opposition Peoples democratic party, PDP also fielding a Northern presidential candidate who most likely will rule for eight years, if elected the North, they say, has nothing to lose but more to gain if Buhari withdraws from the presidential race.
So, in other not to be caught napping, APC is reportedly secretly searching for a stand by presidential candidate, who must not be above 60 as Buhari’s replacement. The magazine learnt that if Buhari decides not to run, the party will opt for a younger candidate to match the PDP’s. The opposition party, sources claim, have ruled out candidates who are above 60 as its standard flag bearer for next year’s presidential election.
Apart from Buhari, there are other APC presidential aspirants who have vowed to snatch the party’s presidential ticket from the incumbent. One of them, Charles Udeogaranya insists he is better qualified and prepared than Buhari to lead Nigeria. According to him, if given the APC presidential ticket and eventually wins the 2019 presidential election, he will perform better than the president. Udeogaranya who is the former Lagos state Chairman of the African Renaissance Party, ARP, therefore, want Buhari to withdraw from the presidential race and back him instead.