2019: We will challenge Buhari’s second term bid!

 
Sun Aug 12th, 2018 - Adamawa
 

• Four APC chiefs take on Oshiomhole over Right of First Refusal for President

Mumakai, •SKC-Ogbonnia, Udo-Udeogaranya and Adamu Garba II

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

It was at a forum to resolve the lingering crisis in Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that its new National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, created another storm. As he inaugurated what was to be a uniform state executive, Oshiomhole intoned that President Muhammadu Buhari would receive the party’s presidential ticket without a challenge.

He intoned that Buhari would be offered the Right of First Refusal to the party’s ticket. The Right of First Refusal Clause, ROFR, is a phrase normally applied in business contracts which restricts a party in a contract from offering opportunity to a third party without first offering the terms proposed to the holder of the ROFR.

It was a strange phenomenon that first came into Nigeria’s political lexicon ahead of the 2015 elections by some chieftains of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. The foolery in that proposal was demonstrated by the initial proposal to print and sell only one form for the presidential ticket. That act of foolery was, however, corrected when the party, eventually, allowed a contest with other presidential aspirants.

The APC, which came on the platform of ‘change’, however, given the instincts of the National Chairman on the issue, seems bent on adopting the Right of First Refusal for the presidential ticket. That is despite the inclination of at least four members of the party who believe that they would do a better job than the incumbent.

The four men responded to the issues raised by Oshiomhole in separate interviews with Sunday Vanguard.

Buhari no longer has what it takes to lead APC and Nigeria – Ogbonnia

Dr SKC Ogbonnia has degrees in engineering and law, two masters’ degrees in sociology, and public administration and a doctorate degree in applied management. He is the Chairman of First Texas Energy Corporation based in Houston, United States (US) and was until few years ago a passionate supporter of the Buhari presidential aspiration. An active member of the Nigerian community in the Diaspora, Ogbonnia is one of those seeking the presidential ticket of the APC ahead of 2019.

He responded to questions on the issues arising from Oshiomhole’s assertions on the Right of First Refusal for the President.

What is your reaction to Chairman Oshiomhole’s claim that Buhari will have the Right of First Refusal to the APC ticket?

Comrade Oshiomhole is not speaking for the party but for himself. The APC leader, Bola Tinubu, made it clear that the presidential ticket of the party was open. Buhari, too, was quoted severally to support rule of law and internal democracy within APC. Therefore, it will be very unfortunate if the party does otherwise. Oshiomhole must come to terms with the fact that I am not the type of candidate they can intimidate anyhow. The masses, particularly the youth, will resist any undemocratic moves to adopt Muhammadu Buhari as a sole candidate of our party.

Is this the practice in presidential democracies?

The practice Chairman Oshiomhole is promoting is alien to credible presidential democracies. In the US, Robert F. Kennedy and others contested against then sitting President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination in 1968 before Johnson, who was then engulfed in the Vietnam crisis, as well as poor health, decided to pull out of the race. Ted Kennedy also ran against President Carter in 1980. Ditto for the Republican Pat Buchanan, who contested the primaries against President George H. W. Bush in 1992. The list goes on. President Muhammadu Buhari has every excuse to emulate President Johnson and pull out of the race before being humiliated at the polls. Or he can consider the Mandela route and retire with dignity.

Have you made your intentions known to the party and, if so, what was the response?

I wrote to the previous leadership but did not get a response. APC cannot stop me from buying the form. I have that fundamental right as entrenched in my party’s Constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I have contributed to the party more than most of these guys who are now grandstanding as party leaders. Where were they in 2015?

So you do not believe that Buhari has done enough to get a second term

Let me say this: The APC government has made good progress in some areas, probably better than the PDP, but President Buhari does not deserve a second term. If the truth is told, Buhari is no longer the same Buhari of 1984. He is weak and has lost control of government, control of Nigeria. Look at the killings. Look at the hopelessness. Look at the divisions within the ruling party….The fact that the legislature (led by no other person than Bukola Saraki) can conveniently impeach Buhari without serious lobby tells you how unpopular our President has become. Buhari no longer has what it takes to command the respect of Nigerians let alone leading us, yet he is continuing to dictate. Put it this way: President Buhari is now a dictator without power.

If you do not win the ticket, will you support Buhari for a second term?

Well, the race has just begun. I think I still have the path to victory, regardless of the careless utterances of the likes of Oshiomhole and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.

Buhari should retire and guide us – Garba

36-year- old former student activist, Adamu Garba II, is the chief executive of IPI Solutions, one of the country’s leading information technology companies with competencies in the deployment of Microsoft Solutions. His company, reckoned by Microsoft as one of the fastest growing partners, is licensed to deploy Microsoft Cloud Solutions in 16 African countries among other competencies.

What is your reaction to Chairman Oshiomhole’s claim that Buhari will have the Right of First Refusal to the APC ticket?

Our Chairman, Oshiomhole, was talking on the premise that no one had yet expressed interest in the office of the President under the APC platform. I had indicated interest on several occasions that I will be aspiring under the APC platform. I even informally informed the Chairman when I visited to congratulate him on the convention ground after his election as the Chairman of our great party. If I may rephrase what the Chairman was implying, I think he means, “Since nobody else has formally expressed interest in the office of the President, they may consider Right of First Refusal for him.” Of course I believe the APC is purely a democratic party and will do nothing anti-democratic in its operations. We have started a process to formally go to his office and declare our interest in the office of the President.

That I believe will remove the conditionality of the Right of first Refusal since it is evident that it is not only the President that is interested in the presidency in the party. We have written the Chairman congratulating him on his new position while also informing him of our intention in the letter. We will soon formally inform him by visiting his office with our team and declaring our intention. I also believe the President himself, being a democrat who believes in the rule of law, will not agree to the Right of First Refusal provided there are other contenders to same office. This is clearly manifested in the 2015 primary election of the APC.

Is this the practice in presidential democracies?

I don’t agree that this reflects internationally acceptable practice of democracy. There has to be a free and fair participation for all members of a democratic party. I am very sure the APC will not wish to do that, provided there are other contenders under its platform; and I am one. So we look forward to free and fair primary election process.

Have you made your intention known to the party?

I did make the pronouncement on several occasions and even informed the Chairman during the convention. We will, however, formally present ourselves to the office of the Chairman at the APC National Secretariat to intimate the party with our intention. We will do so both at my state, Adamawa, and at the National Secretariat of the party.

Do you believe that President Buhari has done enough to get a second term?

I believe the President has done his best. I am sure APC will want to deliver much more which I clearly represent. I believe the President needs to be accorded a well, honourable and happy retirement come 2019. He is one of the leaders in this country with high integrity. We will need him in the future to guide, support, advise and mentor us; he can only do that when he retires from active politics while we take the lead. The statecraft model pursued is clearly not in line with the new supply chain-driven statecraft model. So I am sure he has done his best, but we need much more; that is why we want him to have a well, honourable and happy retirement come 2019.

If you do not win the ticket, will you support Buhari for a second term?

If we have a freely and fairly contested primary election and I lose, I am a party man; I will work for the party and support any candidate of the party from ward to federal offices including the winner of the presidential primary election. I look forward to winning the primary election and emerging as the candidate for the party after the primary election.

Buhari should drop his re-election plan and back me for the APC ticket – Udeogaranya

CHIEF Udo Udeogaranya, a veteran politician who served as Lagos State Chairman of the African Renaissance Party, ARP, is now a chieftain of the APC and aspiring for the presidential ticket of the ruling party. He spoke on his aspiration and issues raised on the offer of Right of First Refusal to the President.

What is your reaction to Chairman Oshiomhole’s claim that Buhari will have the Right of First Refusal to the APC ticket?

Mr. Adams Oshiomhole’s claim that Buhari will have the Right of First Refusal to the APC ticket is a mere expression of his personal opinion, to which he has right to as Mr. Oshiomhole, not as APC Chairman. With that understanding, I would forgive him for just one time and I hope he will not repeat such in future; otherwise, he would be causing my team of supporters a great damage.

Is this the practice in presidential democracies?

If you take a look at the US presidential democracy as a reference point, several US Presidents have been denied their party nominations, namely President Franklin Pierce, President John Tyler, President Millard Fillmore, President Andrew Johnson and President Chester Arthur, all on the grounds that their popularity had faded and other members of the party challenged them in party primaries and defeated them.

From that point of view, you can see that the determining factor to challenging a sitting President in the party nomination is that the President’s popularity has faded and may not be able to win at the general elections, not as a party directive.

Have you made your intention known to the party and, if so, what was the response?

In running for the presidential office, Nigeria is my constituency and my declaration is to all Nigerians and I did that a long time ago. So the next step is for political parties to pick up the nomination forms from INEC as announced and then political parties must call for expression of interest on various elective positions to party members.

Has President Buhari done enough to get a second term and, if you do not win the ticket, will you support Buhari for a second term?

President Buhari has done his best and it is not his fault that things are the way they are. In moving forward, I sincerely think that he should drop his re-election bid and back me to pick the party’s presidential ticket. I have so much respect for him, he is like a father to me and, if he could publicly attest that he wished he were President at a younger age, then why not support a young aspirant like me, who can make Nigeria a better place for all Nigerians? I say all Nigerians because I am a Zikist and I believe in African renaissance. We need to show the world that something good can come out of the ‘dark continent’; and for that to happen, we must defeat hunger, promote productivity for self-reliance, and now is the time. Time has come for the old brigades to retire to the background and offer elderly advice and allow young men with vision and vigour to pilot the affairs of the country.

Buhari should anoint me, I won’t disappoint – Unagha

Delta born Alhaji Mumakai Unagba is a lawyer and was a youth activist in the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, during the Second Republic. Now an aspirant for the presidential ticket of the APC, he spoke on how he would do a better job than the incumbent.

What is your reaction to Chairman Oshiomhole’s declaration that the President will have the Right of First Refusal to the APC ticket?

The statement is very unfortunate and undemocratic. There is nowhere the Right of First Refusal is a requirement for political position. The President, like every other person, is entitled to seek for political position. When Oshiomhole was to contest, there was nothing like Right of First Refusal for Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, his predecessor. So I don’t see the need for it.

The President, like other APC members, has equal right to contest. The statement is just to show respect for Mr. President and it is not constitutional nor is it a party decision. In fact it cannot be enforced by the party.

Is this the practice in presidential democracies?

The Right of First Refusal is not known in presidential democracies. I have been in active politics since the Second Republic and I have never heard the terminology Right of First Refusal. The principle of democracy does not recognise it.

Have you made your intention known to the party and what was the response?

Yes, early this year, I wrote to the party on my intention to contest the highest office in Nigeria. Of course I didn’t expect a response from them. The party acknowledged the receipt of the letter. I have equally formally declared to Nigerians my intention and Nigerians received my declaration as a welcome development.

Do you believe that Buhari has done enough to get a second term?

To me, he has done his best he cannot do more than what he is doing right now. All I am saying is that he should retire to Daura and rest. He should anoint me to succeed him and I promise that I shall not disappoint especially in the area of security and anti-corruption fight. I shall always consult him whenever necessary.

If you do not will the ticket, will you support Buhari for a second term?

Definitely I will work for him or whosoever picks the ticket believing that the party is supreme. I am a loyalist of the APC; therefore I must not defect.

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source: Vanguard