Southwest APC presidential aspirants, stakeholders hold urgent closed-door meeting
All Progressives Congress (APC’s) presidential aspirants and key stakeholders from southwestern Nigeria met in Abuja Saturday night to deliberate on how to present a common force.
They included the vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo; former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Ajayi Boroffice; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and Lagos cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Also at the meeting are governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
Nigerian Sketch learnt that the meeting did not end until early Sunday morning, and information about the deliberations at the meeting has not been revealed as of the time this story was published.
It was however clear that the meeting was a postlude to the declaration of some northern APC governors to support the transfer of power to the South.
The declaration was made at a meeting of the governors Saturday night in Abuja, where they asked their compatriots from the northern region to withdraw from aspiring for the presidency in 2023.
Among the governors who signed a communique issued after the meeting are Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State; Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger; Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa; Prof. Umara Zulum, Borno; Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna; Muhammad Yahaya, Gombe; and Bello Matawalle, Zamfara State.
Others are Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Dr. Umar Ganduje, Kano; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
A statement issued after the meeting read, “APC governors and political leaders from the northern states of Nigeria today met to review the political situation and to further support our Party in providing progressive leadership amidst our national challenges.
“During our discussions, we welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s invitation to governors and other stakeholders to contribute to the emergence of a strong presidential candidate for the APC.
“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.
“We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country.
“We, therefore, wish to strongly recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari that the search for a successor as the APC’s presidential candidate be limited to our compatriots from the southern states.
“We appeal to all aspirants from the northern states to withdraw in the national interest and allow only the aspirants from the south to proceed to the primaries.
“We are delighted by the decision of our esteemed colleague, His Excellency, Governor Abubakar Badaru to contribute to this patriotic quest by withdrawing his presidential aspiration.
“The APC has a duty to ensure that the 2023 elections offer a nation-building moment, reaffirming that a democratic pathway to power exists for all who value cooperation and build national platforms.
“This moment calls for the soberest and inclusive approach to selecting our party’s candidate, and we call on all APC leaders to fulfil their responsibility in this regard.”
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