Presidency: Search for strong consensus candidate, Buhari directs APC govs
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has begun moves to pick its consensus candidate for 2023 presidential election. The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), outlined qualities the party’s flag bearer must possess. He said this during his meeting with governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, in an interview on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today,He said the president had outlined qualities that a presidential candidate must have.
“In a previous interview, when the President was asked whether he had a favorite candidate, he answered yes; but he would not mention him because mischief might happen to that person,” his media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, said in an interview with Channels Television on May 12.
Despite the fact that the President kept his preferred candidate a secret, contestants such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi informed him of their intention to run for the presidency.
Besides the three chieftains, others vying for the party’s presidential ticket include a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; a former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; a former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; and a 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; ex-Minister of State for 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.
Also on the list are Senator Ajayi Borroffice; the only female aspirant, B. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, Pastor Nicholas Felix Nwagbo; former Speaker of the House, Dimeji Bankole; President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawal; former Minister of Information, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu; and Mr. Tein Jack Ric.
The ruling party 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.
Govs allowed to pick successors, I solicit reciprocity – Buhari
Addressing the governors on Tuesday ahead of the party’s 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 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 can give Nigerians a sense of victory even before the polls.
As we approach the convention, I appeal to all of you to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens, and the global community.
“Our objective must be the victory of our party, and our choice of a candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
A statement issued by the President’s Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, quoted the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, as promising to support the President to ensure that they came up with a candidate who would walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Buhari had shown.
Sule, while fielding questions from Channels Television said, “The President mentioned that our consensus candidate or our candidate to be selected must be somebody (who is) acceptable to Nigerians; somebody who understands what the APC is all about and what the APC is after. And he mentioned clearly that it is somebody that will go to every part of the country and be accepted. We must bring somebody that can win an election and be able to sustain all the good things that the APC has done. So, that is exactly the definition of the President. But if you are looking for a name, the President didn’t mention a name and neither did anybody mention a name.
“So, he gave us that in a plug and allowed us to think of the right person in these few days while he is in Spain. So, when he comes back, then everybody can say, ‘Okay, we have thought about it and we believe in who is going to be president.’”