General Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in next year’s presidential election will likely emerge on Monday or Tuesday, it was gathered yesterday.
General Buhari was picked to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s national convention in Lagos on Thursday following which leaders launched into strategic meetings to decide on his running mate.
The meetings continued last night.
There are indications that the party may concede the VP slot to the South-West, contrary to speculations that South-East or South-South would clinch it.
Shedding light on why the South-West may be favoured for the slot, a reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Hopefully, Buhari’s running mate will emerge on Monday or Tuesday. We will make our position known by then.
“We are building consensus on the South-West as the zone to produce the vice-presidential candidate.
“You may be hearing of some names being dropped, we have not finalised discussion on who should be chosen. Our leaders are weighing the options on who to pick and they are extremely careful.”
Responding to a question, the highly-placed source added: “The slot is for the South-West, based on strategic political calculations.
“And if you look at the power sharing ratio in the country today, the South-West is short-changed. Even the Senate presidency zoned to the South-West was denied it at the last minute in June 2011.”
Another source in the camp of Buhari, said: “I think by all implications, the mate of the presidential candidate may be from the South-West.
“We have left the South-West chapter of the party to decide on who the cap fits.”
Meanwhile, a jittery Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency have been forced by the emergence of Buhari as the APC presidential flag bearer to return to the drawing board with a view to reviewing their strategy on how to stop the APC.
It was gathered that the fears over Buhari border on likely block votes for him from the North, especially North-West and North-East.
The ruling party was also disturbed that it might lose some states in North-Central including Kwara, Benue, and Niger.
It was learnt that the party might initiate reconciliatory moves in some states in the North where primaries have created division.
A source said: “The PDP was working on the permutations that ex-VP Atiku Abubakar would emerge as APC candidate because of his war-chest. The party had also envisaged that Atiku’s choice might create an implosion in APC with PDP as the utmost beneficiary.
“The election of Buhari as APC presidential candidate has forced the Presidency and the PDP to return to the drawing board on how to win all the zones in the North.
“Buhari has really unsettled everyone in spite of all moves by the party to underrate his emergence as APC candidate. The PDP has realised that the scenario is different from that of 2011.
“Our leaders have been meeting on how to checkmate Buhari. Apart from issuing a statement that Buhari has not offered anything new in his acceptance speech, the PDP might engage in some propaganda as soon as APC choice of running mate is announced.”
Already the South-East APC has asked the Igbo to join the Buhari bandwagon instead of putting all their faith in the PDP.
The South-East APC made the plea in a statement through its spokesman, Mr. Osita Okechukwu.
He said the result of “the free, fair and transparent APC’s presidential primary, clearly reflects a nationwide broad based acceptance of GMB. The result has shown that GMB is a man of the people.”
He also described “the celestial bond between him and the Nigerian masses and the middle class, in particular. Hence the vintage Buhari-Bandwagon for salvation.
“We join GMB in declaring Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah as co-winners of the presidential primary for their robust campaign, understanding and sportsmanship displayed.
“ In fact their candour and solidarity with the winner is uncommon and highly commendable.
“We salute Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led national executive committee and Dr. John Kayode Fayemi led national convention committee for conducting a free, fair and transparent presidential primary.
“It is historic and most likely will remain a benchmark of measuring future presidential primaries for a long time to come.
“South-East APC makes bold to state that the success of the presidential primary has demonstrated that APC chances of wining the 2015 general election is very high.
“It is a prelude to regime change which Nigerians earnestly yearn for and a measure of internal democracy in action.