Photo: Buhari and Atiku
By Jimitota Onoyume, Simon Ebegbulem, Dayo Johnson. Wole Mosadomi, Susan Edeh, Marie-Therese Nanlong, Francis Igata, John Mkom & Tom Moses
Atiku popular among delegates
THERE are indications that Akwa Ibom State delegates may vote en masse for former Vice-President, Alhaji Atkiku Abubakar.
One of the delegates, Mr. Bassey Ekpenyong, told Vanguard that the ground work Atiku did especially the purchase of nomination forms for most of the aspirants to the Houses of Assembly and House of Representatives in many states, to a large extent, has distinguished him as their preferred aspirant.
Ekpenyong said General Muhammadu Buhari ,retd, was also highly cherished by many members of the party because of his integrity and stand on corruption. He said those, who desire the sanitization of the polity, enthronement of peace, justice and equity, would want Buhari as President.
Rabiu Kwankwaso, he said, is also admired for the provision of branded vehicles for the state chapters of the APC, just as Rochas Okorocha is appreciated for servicing the party structures across the states.
RIVERS : Buhari holds all the aces
VANGUARD was reliably told by most delegates from Rivers that they are disposed to Buhari’s ambition.
They noted that except there were last minute changes the likelihood was very strong that most of them would vote for the retired army general. Buhari’s record in the military was particularly cited as one of the reasons for their support.
It was also gathered that the body language of Governor Chibuike Amaechi showed that he may be routing for Buhari.
Amaechi is one governor, who had made so much effort to present Buhari as a detribalised leader.
“From the way our governor talks I think he is for Buhari,” a source said.
Another member of Rivers APC said that Amaechi may emerge Buhari’s the campaign manager, if he got the ticket.
NORTH EAST: Buhari all the way
FROM the North East geo-political zone, comes a determination to support any candidate with a credible pedigree that is needed to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Many told Vanguard that Buhari is in line with their expectations of someone, who can deliver the needed votes to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan.
One of the delegates from Bogoro Local Government Area, Mr. Godiya Luka said Buhari would emerge victorious.
He specifically cited Buhari’s endorsement by the zone as an attestation to his popularity.
He said: “General Buhari is the best presidential candidate among all the aspirants. His records in the past speak for him. Stakeholders in the North-East zone have endorsed him as the presidential candidate of the APC. We feel he has what it takes to deliver this nation from the shackles of poverty, insecurity, underdevelopment and stagnation”
Two other delegates from Chinade in Misau Local Government Area, Alhassan Mai Mangoro and Hardawa Salisu said Buhari’s acceptance extends beyond the zone.
Salisu said: “ I can assure you that the delegates in the North-East have endorsed him as their presidential candidate. From all the consultations going on presently, the other aspirants may step down for Buhari as it had been alleged that some of them have consented to the agreement”
ONDO: Delegates divided between Buhari and Atiku
DELEGATES from Ondo State are divided between Buhari and Atiku.
Some also vowed to vote for Rochas Okorocha.
It was gathered that the failure of Buhari to visit them unlike Okorocha and Atiku, made some of them less sympathetic to his ambition.
But others have a contrary view insisting that the Coordinator of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Bola Ilori visited the state, where he had consultations with the delegates.
However, findings showed that majority would queue behind Buhari because of the perceived preference by party leaders. Notwithstanding, Atiku’s image also looms large among delegates in the state.
Taraba: Consensus on Atiku
GOVERNORSHIP candidate of APC in Taraba State, Sen. Jumai Arhasan disclosed that all the delegates from Taraba, would vote for Atiku. She specifically said their votes are not for any other aspirant than Atiku.
Arhassan stated this in Jalingo, last week, when Atiku visited the delegates to seek for their votes.
Atiku is noted as the only presidential aspirant, who visited the state.
Atiku also reportedly made available a chartered aircraft that would convey the delegates from Bauchi to Lagos for the presidential convention.
Speaking on the matter, Mallam Idris Shuaibu said: “The only presidential aspirant the state delegates will vote for is Atiku Abubakar.”
Contrary to Arhasan’s position, the Minority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Dr. A Jugulde said that the state has no preferred aspirant.
NIGER: Bloc vote unlikely
THE APC is the leading opposition party in Niger State. Unlike before when it had only one preferred candidate, the party now has five presidential aspirants who appear sellable.
Buhari no doubt is generally acceptable in the state, especially in Zone C where the APC governorship candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello hails from.
Bello, who is a known supporter of Buhari, is expected to ensure that his people vote for Buhari.
Similarly, Atiku, is also known to have a large followership in the state.
His relationship with most stakeholders in Niger dates back to his days as the leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement,PDM.
The entry of the Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda- Isaiah, who hails from the Nupe speaking area of the state is seen as a major factor that will affect how the Niger delegates will vote.
Okorocha is the only aspirant, who does not command any obvious followership in Niger.
Speaking on what to expect today, a former Chief Whip in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Bawa Bwari described all the aspirants as acceptable, noting that any of them can emerge. “All our aspirants are sellable and capable. But the delegates will make their choice independently,’’ he stated.
ENUGU: Up for grabs
FINDINGS showed that the votes of the Enugu State delegates may be up for grabs.
Though Buhari might likely carry the day, since the leader of the APC in the state Brig Gen Joseph Nkolagu, retd, also has same military background.
This is the mood across all the senatorial districts in the state.
EDO: Delegates to vote Buhari
NO fewer than 170 Edo state delegates are expected to vote for Buhari.
Though majority have sympathy for Atiku, Buhari is regarded as the only one, who can garner the needed votes from the North. Apart from Sam Nda-Isaiah, other presidential aspirants of the APC visited the state to interact with delegates.
Though the delegates and Governor Adams Oshiomhole are yet to take a position on who to support at the time of filing this report, Buhari appears to be the favoured aspirant.
A delegate who pleaded anonymity said: ‘’It is our resolve that Nigeria is not safe under Jonathan, we want to do the right thing by supporting someone who has what it takes to defeat Jonathan. The truth is that many of us see Atiku as a good friend, though he will get votes in Edo, majority will vote Buhari because of the support he is enjoying in the North. When Buhari gets that Northern support and win in the APC states, Jonathan is gone. That is why majority of us will back Buhari”.
Apart from the delegates, Oshiomhole, who is the leader of the party in the state has openly displayed love for Buhari when he personally invited the former Head of State to commission some projects executed by the state government.
Photo: Buhari and Atiku