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 could give Nigerians a sense of victory even before the polls.
Buhari stated, “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.’
Confirming that Buhari asked the governors to go and think about the right candidate for the party, Sule said, “He just told us his dream of who would be president That is it. ‘My dream of who would be president is this and I am also going to consult with other stakeholders, not just the governors; I am going to consult with other stakeholders and the aspirants themselves. At the end of the day, we must remain a united party.’ I think that is just the view of the President.”
The governor, however, said the governors would only discover who fitted Buhari’s description after they had thought and met on the choice of a candidate of the APC. Sule also said he agreed with the President on the approach.
When reminded that Buhari once said that he had a favourite among the presidential aspirants in the APC, Sule stated, “At our meeting, he didn’t say that. At our meeting, he didn’t say ‘I have somebody,’ he just said that, ‘We as a people, as the APC, should come up with a person who has this, this and this.”
The governor noted that while it did not look to him that Buhari had a preferred candidate, it appeared that the President wanted the governors to collectively choose the right person.
Sule also noted that there would be a series of meetings before the national convention of the APC scheduled for next week, where the ruling party is expected to elect its presidential candidate at the primary. “That period is a period of a lot of consultations and I don’t think it is a situation where the President would just say that ‘this is the person, take him or leave him.’ I don’t think it is going to be that,” he said, adding that if it was going to be like that, Buhari would not have called for consultations.