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.
Daily Trust Saturday had on May 17 reported that the promoters of Lawan’s candidature had reached out to Buhari’s nephew, Malam Mamman Daura and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe.
Daura, in July 2020, while featuring in a BBC Hausa Service interview, said there was no need for zoning the presidential ticket to any part of the country. His statement generated heated debate in the polity, with many construing it to be the position of the president, a claim that was punctured by the presidency.
After two postponements, the ruling party had fixed its presidential primary for June 6, 7 and 8.
Twenty-three aspirants were screened by the party’s screening committee headed by a former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
The pendulum has been swinging towards the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.