Newswatch Times learnt that the speaker picked up his presidential nomination forms yesterday at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja but in response to enquiries, Senior Assistant to Tambuwal on Media, Imam Imam in a text message said:
“Earlier today, some friends and political associates of the speaker notified him that they have bought presidential nomination forms for him.”
The speaker’s move is seen by many as a political masterstroke by both the North and the APC to give President Goodluck Jonathan a good fight for the topmost job in the land.
The calculation is that Tambuwal with his age and clout especially among colleagues in the House of Representatives stand a better chance than the other aspirants in the party.
General Muhammed Buhari and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku are seen as people that cannot muster enough goodwill to combat the President when the time comes.
Buhari’s age has been a bone of contention as many see him as being too old at 72. Also, opponents of his candidature see him as a hard sell in the southern part of the country.
Atiku, on the other hand, has the albatross of having a political enemy in the person of his former President OlusegunObasanjo, his former boss, who only recently openly opposed the former’s aspiration.
Obasanjo is seen as a key player in the nation’s politics with some people alluding to the fact that without his consent, it would be difficult for any candidate to win the presidential election.
The first sign that Tambuwal was being primed for a greater responsibility than the governorship ticket of Sokoto State everybody believed was the reason for his defecting from the PDP to the APC was when a few days after his defection, his new party hurriedly organised an emergency convention where the most important agenda was a constitutional amendment by the party allowing new entrants to aspire for any position in the party.
That move, political pundits believe, was done solely for Tambuwal.
Recall that before his defection, Tambuwal has made both visible and nocturnal visits to Obasanjo in his Ota farm.
With the North insisting that power must return to the region in 2015, Tambuwal is seen as the right candidate that can garner enough votes from the southern part of the country and with the many ones from the North, he could spring a surprise on an incumbent president, a thing almost unheard of in Africa where the power of incumbency reigns supreme.
Also, with how the speaker has been able to carry along his colleagues in the House he might get maximum support especially from those that may not get their party’s nomination to come back to the House. This group is made up largely of PDP members in the House.
However, with Tambuwal picking the nomination forms, it stands to be seen how the other two main protagonists in the race for the APC ticket, Buhari and Atiku, will take the issue of a consensus candidate by the party favouring Tambuwal.
Only recently, Atiku was on CNN, telling the world that he was not ready to step down for any aspirant.