All the presidential aspirants in the All Progressives Congress, except a former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are open to the idea of the candidate of the party emerging through consensus, Sunday PUNCH can confirm.
The consensus method will entail the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), anointing one of the aspirants, while the others simply step down for him as was done during the March 26 national convention of the APC, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the chairman.
It was gathered that all the governors on the platform of the ruling party had also adopted the method at the state level.
However, based on the Electoral Act, any aspirant who agrees to step down must do so in writing. Anything short of this will make the consensus option impossible.
In a bid to force the consensus method, the APC had introduced a controversial section in its forms for aspirants to sign that they would step down. However, Sunday PUNCH learnt that this was rejected by the aspirants.
Some major aspirants have begun reaching out to the less popular ones with a view to making them to step down with promises that money used in purchasing forms will be refunded or promises of they will be given juicy appointments.
Sunday PUNCH also learnt that the President would this week meet with the aspirants with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.
“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.
“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.
Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.