President Muhammadu Buhari has said the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)’s decision making process regarding its leadership and 2023 elections would be bottom-up. He also refused to comment on power shift to the southern part of the country.
He said decisions would be made by the party in a way that includes party members, not as dictated by anybody “just sitting in Lagos,” an apparent dig at former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu is believed to be eyeing the presidency in 2023 and has been involved in struggles to control the APC.
The president made his comment during his Arise TV interview broadcast on Thursday. He was asked a question on which part of the south would APC support to control the presidency when he leaves office in 2023.
In his reply, Buhari, however did not comment on power rotation but suggested the party would decide. He then spoke about a participatory bottom-up decision making process, which he said would afford members a sense of belonging.
“Should we allow the party to decide?,” he queried as he tried to evade the question on which part of the south would have the presidency in 2023.
“I just told you we started from bottom up. And I gave the acting Chairman (Mala Buni) the end of this month of June…to give me report on the convention we are going to conduct and then arrange the elections and started this from bottom up.
“So, members of the party will feel they are involved in decision making. Nobody is just sitting in Lagos and asking them what to do.”
But he was further asked: “What’s your succession plan?
Again, he said: “Succession plan depends on the party. We are going to leave it to the party. The party will sit and make a decision.”
Since 2015 when APC came to power, Mr Tinubu has continued to face challenges from other party leaders, denying him a firm grip on the party.
He was instrumental to the exit of former chairman John Odigie-Oyegun but his struggle to save Mr Odigie-Oyegun’s successor, Adam Oshiomhole, failed last year. Mr Oshiomhole is a key ally of Mr Tinubu.
Backed by Mr Buhari, a group of governors and transport minister Rotimi Amaechi, were able to ensure the fall of Mr Oshiomhole, paving the way for an interim committee led by Mala Buni, the Governor of Yobe State, and former party secretary.