New Telegraph

2023: Allow me choose my successor, Buhari tells APC govs

Ahead of the National Convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), the umbrella body of governors elected on the party’s platform, to support him in choosing his successor at the primary election slated for 6-8 June, 2022.

 

 

Buhari made this plea yesterday in a speech he delivered at a closed door meeting with the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the 22 APC governors and other government officials, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

 

The request apparently, signals the commencement of the process of adopting the consensus option, rather than open contest in choosing the presidential candidate of the ruling party. The President, who urged the governors to ensure the emergence of a presidential candidate that would reflect all the party’s values and virtues, also vowed to provide a stronger leadership that would improve the electoral fortunes of the APC at the forthcoming general election.

 

“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the presidential flag bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.

 

“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 candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.

 

“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,” he said. Buhari, who observed that the transition processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest,

 

noted that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes.

 

“Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation. “As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the Party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the Party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.

 

“Such leadership is required so that the Party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the centre, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain additional number of states at state levels.

 

“In pursuit of the foregoing  objectives, 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 reelection. 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.

 

“I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention. This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger,” he said.

 

Chairman of the PGF and Governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, said at the meeting that the party must build on the successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “and come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown.” He pledged that the governors would support the President to have a successful convention.

 

In the mean time, indications have emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari and the northern governors in the party have settled for a Northern Presidential candidate. At the moment, there are four presidential aspirants from the North and they include Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello (North Central), Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Badaru (North West), President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan (North East) and former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Sani Yerima (North West).

 

 

However, a top chieftain of the party who spoke to New Telegraph hinted that the party was considering picking the presidential candidate from the North West giving the fact that the zone produces the highest number of votes at every election. According to the source, the emergence of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has changed the earlier calculations of the ruling party.

 

“Today, the Northern Governors concluded with the President that the North must retain the APC presidential ticket if the party must win,” he said. The chieftain said that going by what Atiku scored in the 2019 presidential election it would be difficult for anybody who is not from North West to defeat him at the general election.

 

“The Presidential ticket of APC is not for sharing but for somebody who can win election for the party. APC was hoping that the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, or somebody else from the South would have emerged so that APC can domicile its ticket in the South as well. But the emergence of Atiku Abubakar has changed that consideration.

 

“The President is also saying that the governors should allow him to produce his successor since they were able to produce theirs. To actualise the northern presidential candidate, the President has directed the Northern governors to talk to the Southern Governors on the platform on the need to support a Northerner,” he said. New Telegraph learnt that President Buhari held a meeting with APC governors before departing for Spain today. After the meeting, the governors moved to the Kebbi Governors Lodge to hold another meeting which ended around 5:30 pm.

 

Meanwhile, the screening of the presidential aspirants of the party continued yesterday as the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Vice    President Yemi Osinbajo, and former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, appeared before the panel.

 

Others who were screened yesterday included the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan; Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade and Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru. Akpabio who spoke to journalists after the screening said it was quite rigorous but the checklist very good as it enabled the panel to know the aspirants in totality and also get their idea of how they are doing to run the affairs of the country and take the country from the present level to the next level. Chairman of the Yemi Osinbajo Campaign Organization, Sen Kabiru Gaya in an interview, said his candidate’s qualifications and experience were his unique selling points.

“He has been in the system for so many years as the vice president and he has acted also as a president. So he’s the most experienced aspirant in this race. We believe that he will be a candidate for the APC general elections and he is the only candidate that can beat Atiku Abubakar. That I’m sure of,” Gaya said.

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