The All Progressives Congress (APC) has opted for primaries to decide who emerges its presidential candidate in the 2015 poll.
This followed the inability of party leaders to persuade one of the presidential aspirants, Atiku Abubakar, to step down for Muhammadu Buhari under a consensus arrangement.
According to sources, Buhari was the preferred candidate of the APC governors and some national leaders.
Party leaders met behind closed doors on Monday night to ensure the emergence of a presidential candidate in a rancour-free process but ran into a brick wall.
According to sources, the need to have a consensus candidate so that, among other things, the party would have more time for campaign, gave rise to the meeting.
It was learnt that beside Atiku, all the other presidential aspirants, including House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, accepted to step down for Buhari.
Atiku has been reported to have said that it was already too late for the party to adopt a consensus candidate.
He stated this while speaking to journalists in Bauchi on Sunday.
“It is too late for the party to think of holding a consensus forum for its presidential aspirants but rather, it should conduct a delegate conference where we will fight it out,” he was quoted as saying.
The other aspirants for the position are Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Leadership newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah, and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
It was further gathered that some party leaders feared that Atiku might win at the primaries but would not be able to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14 poll.
The APC is banking on the popularity and cult following of Buhari in the North, and believe he is more likely to do better in the South-West as well.
There are feelers northern elders have promised to back whoever emerges, and it is left to APC leaders to resolve the issue soon.
On their part, the aspirants have agreed to support whoever becomes the party’s candidate in a generally accepted process.
Meanwhile, National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, on Tuesday, admonished the newly constituted Presidential Convention Committee of the party to be just in its actions, saying the conduct of the convention would determine the fate of the party next year.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee, Oyegun noted that the process that would lead to the emergence of the presidential candidate of the party would go a long way in ensuring that the APC realises or jeopardises its desire to replace the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the dominant party in the country.
“Nigerians are holding their breath on behalf of our party, the APC; they are waiting to see how we are going to hold our convention and want to see how democratic the process will be.
“The fact must not be lost on you; the way you handle this assignment will determine if we will win the 2015 presidential election. So, put your collective reputation to stake and give us a good exercise,” Oyegun said.
Chairman of the committee and ?former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, in his response, admitted that the committee’s task was enormous but promised that it would do a good job.
He assured the party’s leaders that the committee would do a good job to separate “a democratic party from the one that coronates.”