LEADERS of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have recommended five candidates to President Muhammadu Buhari and the party ahead of today’s summit where delegates will elect their flagbearer at next year’s polls.
Over recent weeks the APC has been grappling to agree on its presidential candidate in next year’s polls as its annual convention looms with 12 candidates still in the running. In a shock development yesterday afternoon, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the APC chairman, declared the senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan the consensus candidate at a meeting of National Working Committee (NWC).
However, the announcement immediately attracted a response from the party’s Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) members, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari and insisted that power should rotate to southern part of the country in 2023. Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country.
President Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from one of the three geo-political zones in southern Nigeria. Last month, the NSGF met to endorse this position and are now incensed that Senator Adamu had gone ahead to unilaterally pick a candidate.
NSGF chairman Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, said 13 governors took the decision in the interest of justice and peace in the country. Governor Lalong, who stated that they would hold another meeting at 5pm yesterday, said the president agreed with their position and maintained that the presidential candidate must emerge through a transparent process.
Yesterday evening, the governors met and then held a further meeting with the party’s national working committee (NWC) and together, they pruned down the number of aspirants for today’s presidential primaries to five. Those recommended include Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi Governor Dave Umahi, Governor Kayode Fayemi and vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, the chairman of the Northern State Governors Forum, said aspirants among the initial 23, who are displeased with the decision could still contest the primaries. These include the likes of senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and Chief Emeka Nwajiuba.