Former Head of State and presidential candidate for the Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 general election, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), look set to follow the example of former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu by dropping his 2015 presidential ambition.
He, however, emphasised he will do that only if there is a candidate better than himself.
A very close associate of Tinubu, who had earlier shown signs of contesting the next election either as a presidential or vice presidential candidate, said that the former Lagos State governor had offered to sacrifice his personal ambition and promised to also work with others to persuade Buhari to do same, if he is still nursing any such ambition.
Buhari said he might contest the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the yet-to-be-registered APC, depending on what happened before the time.
Buhari stated this in Minna at the maiden edition of Sam Nda-Isaiah Public Lecture Series, in honour of the publisher of the Leadership Newspapers, which took place at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre.
Answering questions from journalists on the possibility of him stepping down in case more candidates emerge on the platform of the party, Buhari said, “Whoever thinks he has got a chance, let him come out because the more we are, the merrier it becomes.
“I will be ready to step down if there is a formidable and better candidate. It is not about me but for the survival of the party. APC is about ensuring internal democracy. Whoever emerges is the person I will support. Yes I will be ready to step down.”
Buhari had, earlier in his address at the lecture, called on leaders and those in positions of authority to ensure a viable environment for people to thrive. He also called on the media to constantly demand and put leaders in check.
He said, “The moment there is nobody in the country to make our leaders to create a viable environment, then the nation is in trouble.”
Former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, said the holding of the national conventions of both the CPC and ANPP by May 11, 2013, was ideal as he was ready to drop his presidential ambition for the survival of APC, should a better and formidable candidate emerges as the party’s standard bearer for 2015.
Shekarau, who was at the lecture, said the emergence of APC standard bearer would be democratic, despite the array of formidable presidential materials in the APC.
He said, “It is too early to talk about or to have a presidential candidate. In APC, we will have internal democracy that will guide the party. Let us have the party on the ground first, congresses will be held at various levels that will produce our candidates. At that point, anybody can contest and the party will support the best candidate that emerges.”
Shekarau said as soon as all the merging parties were through with their national conventions, formal requests would be made to Independent National Electoral Commission for APC registration, to give room for other activities that would climax in the emergence of the party’s candidates.
He added, “We are not talking of just dismantling the PDP; we want change. We are not just talking about change in democracy but change in attitude, change in approach, change in character, change in conducting the business of government. That is why our slogan is ‘change’. We are determined to change Nigeria for the better.”