President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared that he has “no preferred candidate,” and has “anointed no one,” and is determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate” on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 general election.
Speaking at a meeting with 13 out of 14 APC Governors in the north of the country, at the State House, Abuja, President 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 the joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.”
The President needed to clear all doubts about where he stands on the choice of a presidential candidate for the party as news had filtered out about the endorsement of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, by the APC chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, purportedly with Buhari’s consent.
Earlier in their addresses, the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the Progressive Governors Forum, said they had come to affirm the position of the Northern Governors that the party’s candidate in the presidential election shall come from the southern part of the country.
They apologised to the President for the leakage of their signed memorandum which was not in support of any particular candidate and gave assurances to the President on their readiness to accept his leadership on the matter.
Speaking with State House correspondents afterwards, the Governors explained that their 14th member and Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, angrily opted out of the meeting, obviously because he is also contesting to be the party’s presidential candidate.
Nonetheless, Bello’s absence at the meeting with the President had not and would not affect the decision taken by a “super majority” of the northern Governors, they declared.