Following Tuesday’s meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adamu Abdulahi and 22 governors elected under the party, the coast seems clear for it to adopt the consensus option to select its presidential candidate in the forthcoming national convention.
During the meeting, which took place in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President admonished them to come up with a candidate that reflects all the values and virtues of the party.
Buhari affirmed that consultations will continue in the days leading to the national convention to ensure that all the aspirants are carried along as he advised the meeting to work towards the emergence of a candidate who can give Nigerians a sense of victory and confidence before the 2023 election.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) quoted the President telling the participants: “The processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note 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.”
The President warned that he will apply stronger control on the ruling party in his last year at the helm to ensure that it remains strong and united so that it can retain power.
He added: “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, holds the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gains an additional number of states.
“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.”
The President appealed to all the Governors “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 the candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
While assuring that the consultation process will continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders are brought on board right through to the convention, he stressed that it would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors is effectively brought under control, “and that our party emerges stronger.”
Speaking on behalf of the state governors, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum said 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,” adding: “We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention.”
Meanwhile, it was gathered that President Buhari has recommended that the number of presidential aspirants going into the party primaries should be reduced to a manageable figure with the National Chairman expressing the hope that aspirants can be pruned to four.