The All Progressives Congress (APC) has selected a date for discussion on how the party will produce its next presidential candidate for 2023 election.
The party said it will decide in June next year on the controversial issue of zoning, according to a report by Daily Trust on Tuesday.
One of the sources said if the North gets the slot of the national chairman of the party during the national convention of the party, the South will produce the presidential candidate and vice versa.
An emergency virtual National Executive Committee (NEC) yesterday extended the lifespan of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led 13-member APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) by six months. The timeline given the caretaker committee will expire on December 25, but the NEC extended it for another six months period that would terminate on June 30, 2021.
Among other issues, the reason given by the party was for the committee to complete membership revalidation and registration of new members, but competent sources said the window will most importantly afford the party opportunity to resolve contentious issues zoning inclusive.
“This is partly why President Muhammadu Buhari in his remarks at the NEC meeting harped on healing wounds, mending fences and respecting the free-merger agreement reached by those behind the formation of the APC,” another source said.
He said the issue of which part of the country should produce the APC’s flag bearer was threatening the existence of the party as the second tenure of Buhari eats deep into the second year.
“While there are sources that believe APC leaders from the North can use the numerical strength of the region to hold on to power, those in the South feel it would amount to a betrayal of trust if the North did not reciprocate what was done to them in 2015.
“The extension of time for the Buni-led committee is honestly beyond membership registration…The major issue is the sharing formula without causing an unnecessary distraction.
“And even if the North agrees to hands-off, we have to agree on which part of the South should have the presidential candidate.
“There are those who believe it should go to the South West.
“There are those who believe it should go to the South East, and some people are saying the South-South should be given a chance, but it all depends on the disposition of the Villa,” the source said.
In his remarks during the NEC meeting, President Buhari said the Buni-led caretaker committee had succeeded in bringing the new atmosphere of hope to the party and urged party members to collectively work towards the sustenance of peace.
“Healthy debates are now taking place and the potential for organs of the party to affirm the majority positions as the decision of the party is now possible,” Buhari said.
“What is required now is for all of us as leaders of the party to maintain discipline and ensure that this new momentum is protected, sustained and the decisions of party organs are respected by every member.
“May I use this opportunity to remind all of us of the need to recreate our negotiation the secret of 2012, 2013 under our legacy parties, what guided our success to achieve the merger that produced the APC was the respect we were able to have for each other.
“In those times, decisions reached both formal and informal consultations were respected.”