Feelers coming from the camp of former military head of state, Muhammadu Buhari have it that pending the conclusion of consultations nationwide, the All progressives Congress (APC) chieftain is set to formally declare his presidential ambitions as early as next month ahead of the 2015 general elections.
One of his aides who spoke anonymously in Abuja on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 said Buhari is currently carrying out serious nationwide consultations after which his political ambitions will be publicly declared.
According to the unnamed aide, the former head of state has been consulting with stakeholders in all sides of the political divide – politicians, both withing and without the APC – religious and opinion leaders, youths and market women in all states of the country, adding that so far, response has been encouraging.
“We are rounding off with the consultations and within the next few days, General Buhari would publicly declare for the race and it is our hope that he would not only emerge the presidential candidate of APC but would eventually be elected come February 2015,” he said.
The aides dismissed any challenge that might be posed by other party bigwigs like former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Governor Musa Kwankaso of Kano State, saying the general still commands unequal popularity among the grassroots.
“If General Buhari declares today, that is where our people would go. Who else would run against him in the north? Who else do you think the party would prefer to a man who single-handedly secured 11 million votes despite the rigging machinery of the PDP in 2011? General Buhari is the president in waiting, that is the truth,” he said.
On the modified open ballot system adopted by APC to decide the presidential candidate of the party, another source, who is a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC said it was a welcome development.
“We are all in support of the method but it has not been finalised yet. If you look at it very well, it would allow every aspirant to campaign as if it were the real general election. It is a system that involves all party members. And let me tell you, whatever method of voting that is adopted, General Buhari would emerge the presidential candidate of our party,” he said.
Buhari, who is considered a frontline contender for the presidential ticket of the APC, is not new to the race, as he has contested for the presidency three times.
In 2003, Buhari ran against the then President Olusegun Obasanjo on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP); in 2007, he contested against the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; and in 2011 went head-to-head against President Goodluck Jonathan, but lost in the three elections.
With the merger of the leading opposition parties that gave birth to APC, Buhari’s associates are confident that if he secures the 11 million votes predominately from north, and is able to capture the South-west, which has the second highest voter population after the North-west, winning the next year election will be a forgone conclusion.