Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, led state governors under the banner of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday, in a move geared at achieving agreement on the president’s choice of party candidate for Nigeria’s presidential election in 2023.
Buhari, who listed some qualities which the APC candidate should possess during his meeting with the 23 APC governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, advised the party leaders to think of the right candidate that possessed the qualities he outlined.
The President had in an interview with Channels Television in January said he had a preferred presidential candidate but he would not reveal him.
Also, his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, in an interview with Channels Television on May 12, stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he would not mention him because mischief might happen to that person.”
Although the President had kept his preferred aspirant to himself, contestants including the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, informed him of their intention to contest the presidency.
Besides the three chieftains, others vying for the party’s, APC, presidential ticket include a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; a former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha and former Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Others are Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade; his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi, an ex-Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Jigawa State governor, Mohammed Badaru and former Zamfara State governor, Senator Ahmed Yerima.
After two postponements, the ruling APC began the screening of its presidential aspirants on Monday when aspirants including Tinubu, Umahi, Nwajiuba, Ondo-North lawmaker, Boroffice, Bakare and Ohanenye, were screened by a committee headed by a former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odige-Oyegun.
Addressing the governors on Tuesday ahead of the APC presidential primary taking place on Monday, Buhari stated, “The party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels.
“For example, first-term governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second-term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party,” the President stated.
Buhari said he would be seeking reciprocity from the governors ahead of the presidential primary which comes up in the next six days.
“In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023,” the President added.
He asked the APC governors to ensure that all interests ‘converge’ as regards the outcome of the presidential primary. The President added that the person who emerges as the presidential candidate must be one who could give Nigerians a sense of victory even before the polls.