Olusegun Ariyo

The National Organizing Secretary of the All Progressive Congress has debunked what his chairman, Adamu Abdullahi Described as a Consensus candidate agreed by the National Working Committee the as a ruse adding that Adamu Only Came to pass Information to them at a meeting and that decision was never taken as to who is the consensus candidate

Moments after the NWC meeting, about seven members led by the National Organizing Secretary of the APC, Suleman Argungu, told journalists at the party secretariat that Lawan was not the preferred candidate of the party.

Argungu stated, “We want to state that the pronouncement of Lawan as the consensus candidate was the chairman’s opinion and he is entitled to his opinion. It is not the position of the party.”

Others who supported Argungu were the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Salihu Lukman; Deputy National Chairman (South), Isaac Kekemeke; the National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel.

Amid the commotion, 12 northern governors emerged from a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa where they stated that the President had confirmed to them that he had no preferred candidate.

The governors said they stood by their decision to zone the party’s presidential ticket to the South, a move which angered Kogi State Governor and Presidential aspirant, Yahaya Bello.

According to a communiqué issued after the meeting, the governors said, “After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in the office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.

“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in any way affected by the decisions taken by another political party.”

Speaking on behalf of the governors, Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong of Plateau State regretted that the communiqué from the earlier meeting, where they endorsed the power shift, had leaked to the public before they officially informed the President of their resolution.

He, however, noted that the governors had to inform the President in person as part of last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s primary elections.

“Mr President, as a believer in the democratic process, believes that any candidate must emerge through a transparent process and the emphasis that Mr President told us that for this election, for now, he has no anointed candidate and therefore directed that the Progressive Governors Forum meet with the National Working Committee of the party to agree and proffer further solutions and recommendations for his own succession.”

Asked why their Kogi State counterpart was absent from the meeting, a distraught Governor Nasir El-Rufai (of Kaduna) said it was not compulsory for all 14 of them to agree on the southern ticket.

According to him, Bello had excused himself from the meeting with the President because he rejected the resolution made by the governors. El-Rufai argued that 13 out of 14 yeses are enough to front the agenda for a southern candidate.

“We all met before coming to meet with Mr President, including the governor of Kogi State. As you can see, he’s not the only aspirant, the governor of Jigawa State is also an aspirant and he’s here with us and we met.

“But the governor of Kogi State chose to excuse himself from meeting with Mr President because he believes that he does not agree with our position. There are 14 APC governors out of the 19 northern states. The 13 of us are on one page on this subject and we all came to see the President, but the governor of Kogi State excused himself and it is within his democratic rights to excuse himself. But 12 out of 14 is a super majority. 13 out of 14 is an even bigger super majority and the 13 of us met with the President today,” he said.

El-Rufai argued that the governors do not need a 100 per cent agreement rate to proceed with their decision.

On his part, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, accused the main opposition of ignoring the south and throwing open its Presidential ticket, despite having zoning in its constitution.

According to him, the APC will look out for the interest of the South in its considerations.

“Remember, the main opposition party PDP, they even have zoning in their constitution. But when it came to the selection of candidates, they ignored sections of Nigeria that are saying it’s our turn. In our party, we don’t even have zoning in our constitution, but knowing our president, and how magnanimous he is, we felt comfortable making a recommendation to him that even though we don’t have zoning, Mr President, can we consider this?” Bagudu explained.

Other northern governors in attendance were:  Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Aminu Masari (Katsina) Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Yahaya Inuwa (Gombe), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara).

Agreeing with the governors, Buhari in a statement afterwards said he had not anointed any of the presidential aspirants.

This was as he said the party’s delegates would decide the outcome of Tuesday’s primary elections.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari spoke at a meeting with 12 Northern APC Governors at the State House, Abuja, saying he has “no preferred candidate,” and has “anointed no one.”

The statement is titled ‘I have anointed no one, there shall be no imposition, says president Buhari’.

While noting that he is determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate on the party,” Buhari said the party is important and its members must be respected and made to feel they are important.

The President said he had a clear mind about what he was doing and asked the APC governors to feel the same way: “You were elected as I was. Have a clear mind as I have. God gave us the chance; we have no reason to complain. We must be ready to take pain as we take joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.”

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