The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has told the Northern governors of the All Progressives Congress that he is yet to anoint a presidential candidate.
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State made this known on Monday amidst reports that the Senate President was announced as the consensus candidate of the APC.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, Lalong said the President made the clarification during a meeting with the governors on Monday.
“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 reported that the Northern governors had requested that the governing party zone its presidential ticket to the South, urging aspirants from their region to withdraw from the race.
“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,” a communique issued after Monday’s meeting, read,
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.