Sen. Rufai Hanga, the founding national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said there was an “implied agreement” that Muhammadu Buhari would hand over power to former governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in 2023.
According to Hanga, who chaired one of the parties that collapsed to form the APC in 2014, the agreement was one of the reasons Tinubu remained in the party after Buhari’s first term.
“It’s an open secret. An implied agreement existed. In law, there are implied and expressed acts. When something is expressed, there are no two ways about it. It was implied that he would take over. That’s why he didn’t quit after the first term. Tinubu would have backed out during Buhari’s first term if he knew he would not benefit. He knows there was an agreement, he said.
Hanga expressed doubt that the APC would give Tinubu the ticket, predicting a fight ahead with power blocs among governors and some forces in the presidency.
Even though the two major parties were in crisis, the former lawmaker said Nigerians may ultimately prefer the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) due to the performance of the APC government under Buhari.
Presidency, APC mum
The Presidency and the APC headquarters did not respond to Hanga’s allegations.
Our reporter contacted Mallam Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson, but he declined to comment.
APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee Secretary, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, and the party’s deputy national publicity secretary, Yekini Nabena, did not respond to phone calls.
Former Senate president and member of the caretaker committee, Ken Nnamani, simply stated, “I wasn’t in the party then.”.
‘Tinubu can’t bank on any agreement’
But in a telephone interview with Daily Trust, a chieftain of the party and former presidential candidate, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the purported agreement should not be used to transfer power, stating that Buhari lacks the power to appoint Tinubu as a presidential candidate because that power is not contained in the APC constitution.
Tinubu should lobby like any other aspirant in the party, he said.
“If such an agreement existed, it was gentlemanly. The APC constitution or any democratic norm does not mention it. Constitutionally, it does not exist in Nigeria.
Buhari would not have been sworn in as president if there had been such an agreement. It wouldn’t have been written.
“From my perspective, it was a gamble. Therefore, if Asiwaju is relying on that agreement, he sold ‘the market’ on credit. That is the political definition of what he did.
Will President Buhari tell the party not to observe all the processes that lead to the election of a presidential candidate and simply impose Asiwaju on us? It will not be democratic, and it is not possible. It will lead to the party’s defeat in 2023. I’m sure President Buhari would want the party to continue after him.
“That type of agreement does not affect everyone in the party,” Okorie said
Buhari couldn’t have entered into agreement
According to Mr Osita Okechukwu, a leading member of the APC and an associate of Buhari, Buhari rarely enters into written agreements with people.
When asked whether Buhari and Tinubu had agreed to hand power to the latter after his tenure, Okechukwu responded, “I can reasonably confirm that he appreciates the contribution of Asiwaju Tinubu to his victory.”.
“But I am not sure if there was any formal agreement. That is not my knowledge. The President does not enter into any agreements with anyone, but he appreciates good deeds.
Don’t forget, Mr. President said he had become a democrat, and a democrat cannot help anybody.