Former Head of State and the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has said he might likely run for the Presidency in 2015 on the platform of the mega-opposition being formed, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, he stated that this was dependent on what happened before the time, and that he was willing to step down for a formidable and better candidate.
Buhari stated this in Minna at the maiden edition of Sam Nda-Isaiah Public Lecture Series, in honour of the publisher of the Leadership Newspapers, which took place at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre.
When asked by journalists if he could step down should more candidates emerge, he said, “Whoever thinks he has got a chance, let him come out because the more we are, the merrier it becomes.
“I will be ready to step down if there is a formidable and better candidate. It is not about me but for the survival of the party. APC is about ensuring internal democracy. Whoever emerges is the person I will support. Yes I will be ready to step down.”
He also spoke on the controversy surrounding the registration of the new party, saying that the process towards getting the registration was in top gear, and that for the purpose of articulating the process, his party, the CPC had concluded arrangements to hold its convention on the May 11, 2013 alongside the All Nigerians People party (ANPP) and the APC.
Accordingly he said, “CPC will have its convention on 11th of this month, ANPP will do theirs and you are aware ACN has successfully held theirs in Lagos last month.”
Buhari had earlier in his lecture called on leaders and those in positions of authority to ensure a viable environment for people to thrive. He also called on the media not to relent in constantly demanding and putting leaders in check.
He said, “The moment there is nobody in the country to make our leaders to create a viable environment, then the nation is in trouble.”
Buhari, however, commended the Federal and the state governments for coming to terms with reality that if youth were not adequately engaged and catered for, that the country would continue to grapple with problems, saying “I agreed with Federal and states governments that youth are problems if not well catered for.”
He, therefore, enjoined the Federal Government to concentrate on provision of education and youth empowerment which, he said, if adequately provided would be an automatic panacea of youth restiveness across the country.
Former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, another APC presidential hopeful, who was also at the lecture, said the holding of the national conventions of both the CPC and ANPP by May 11, 2013, was ideal.
Shekarau said the emergence of APC standard bearer would be democratic, despite the array of formidable presidential materials in the APC, even as he said that he was also ready to drop his presidential ambition for the survival of APC, should a better and formidable candidate emerges as the party’s standard bearer for 2015.
He said, “It is too early to talk about or to have a presidential candidate. In APC, we will have internal democracy that will guide the party. Let us have the party on the ground first, congresses will be held at various levels that will produce our candidates. At that point, anybody can contest and the party will support the best candidate that emerges.”
Shekarau said as soon as all the merging parties were through with their national conventions, formal requests would be made to Independent National Electoral Commission for APC registration, to give room for other activities that would climax in the emergence of the party’s candidates.
He added, “We are not talking of just dismantling the PDP; we want change. We are not just talking about change in democracy but change in attitude, change in approach, change in character, change in conducting the business of government. That is why our slogan is ‘change’. We are determined to change Nigeria for the better.”