Northern governors of the All the Progressives Congress have said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), denied anointing any presidential candidate.
The president was said to make this known during a meeting with the Northern governors on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, said the President clarified that he had no consensus candidate for now.
This is coming against the backdrop of reports that the Senate President was announced as the consensus candidate of the APC.
“We sat down in the last few days and took a decision and gave an advisory. While we were on our way to advise the President, part of our discussions leaked out.
“Mr President, being a democrat, insisted on listening to us. So, he granted us the opportunity today. Our meeting today is to reaffirm our position.
“We apologised to him that the statement (backing power shift to the South) was made by all of us.
“Mr President was happy with our decision. Mr President believes in a democratic process; and that every candidate must emerge through a transparent process.
“The emphasis Mr President made was that for now, there is no anointed candidate, and therefore directed that the Progressive Governors Forum should meet with the National Working Committee of the party to agree.”
The PUNCH had reported that Northern governors of the All Progressives Congress met with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.
The Northern governors had asked the governing party to zone its presidential ticket to the South on Saturday.
They also asked aspirants from the northern region to withdraw from the presidential race.
A communique issued after Monday’s meeting, read, “After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in 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.”
Those in attendance included Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Yahaya Inuwa of Gombe, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna and AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara.
Earlier, a signatory to the 2013 merger of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Buba Galadima, claimed Buhari agreed to support former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State.
He made the claim in an interview published by The PUNCH on Monday.
When Galadima was asked if there was any agreement at any time that Tinubu would succeed Buhari, he replied, “Not perfectly an agreement, but there was an understanding because Tinubu with one other person and the President also with another person sat down and the information we got was that they agreed that if Tinubu would help Buhari win, he would become the Vice-President. When that was not possible, they called him to ask him to assist because of the exigencies of the time, which wouldn’t have allowed for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“They said that whatever he does, he should deploy and make sure that Buhari becomes President and that when he (Buhari) is going, he would also do whatever he would in his powers to assist Tinubu to become President. It looks like they are now going back on that understanding. And a promise is a promise whether written or unwritten because if you can subvert it, God knows your heart. And God never accepts betrayal. When you are committed, whether it is sour or bitter, or tasty, you have to swallow it.
“Now, it looks like they want to go back on that understanding with Tinubu. This is why Tinubu is bitter and I understand this bitterness, because of what has happened to him, which I told him years back. I told him what was going to happen to him. And everything that I predicted those years is now happening. My prayer for him (Tinubu) is that he should come out of this unscathed and healthy. That is my biggest prayer for him.
“But for him, it looks like he has already been subverted. The only way he can get his momentum is if the party agrees to do primaries. If the party agrees to go to the primaries, I have no doubt in my mind that Tinubu may emerge victorious, but as far as the consensus which they want to adopt is concerned, he is out of the game.
Asked who were those present when Buhari and Tinubu reached this agreement you claimed, he said, “I won’t tell you but the people involved know. Tinubu came to the meeting with a former governor while Buhari came with a sitting governor. That is why that governor is solidly behind Tinubu today and because of the fear of God. But I wouldn’t want to mention the names of the two of them, because, Tinubu himself has alluded to this kind of understanding.”