The bid for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket got into an upward swing yesterday when leading aspirant Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu met with the party’s governors to seek their support.
Also yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made a declaration for the ticket via his social media handles after rounding off his consultations with a meeting with some of the governors on Sunday night.
On Saturday, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi threw his hat in the ring at a thanksgiving event in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
APC National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu has consulted with President Muhammadu Buhari on the guidelines for the party’s primaries expected to hold next month, it was learnt.
Tinubu, the national leader of the APC, met with the governors at the Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
Governors at yesterday’s parley include Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq (Kwara), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) and Gboyega Oyetola (Osun).
Others are Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa).
Also at the meeting were Senators Kasim Imam from Borno State, Senator Magnus Abe from Rivers and Chief Pius Akinyelure, a member of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited Board from Ondo State.
The former Lagos State Governor spoke about his credentials as a private sector player, democracy activist, democrat and progressive.
He recalled his role in bringing about the restoration of democracy, the formation of the APC and the party’s victories in the 2015 and 2019 elections.
Tinubu assured the APC governors of inclusion and accommodation in the presidential project.
Addressing reporters after yesterday’s meeting with APC governors, Tinubu said he was seeking the governors’ support for his ambition.
He added: “My mission here is to seek collaboration, support and encouragement of my party, the APC, for my ambition to become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.”
When asked for his views on the presidential declaration of Vice President Osinbajo, described by the reporter as ‘his son’, Tinubu said: “I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration.”
Kebbi State Governor and Chairman, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Bagudu, said Tinubu discussed his ambition with the forum.
He said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, this morning (yesterday), met members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum where he stated what he had made public already, his intention to seek for the office of the President come 2023. He briefed us on his reasons, his thinking and his message.
“All the governors in attendance graciously came to listen to him. He acknowledged the role of the governors in the last convention of our party, where, according to him, they steadied the party by helping in the evolution of the leadership that is accepted and widely acknowledged as that which we wish for our party.
“We appreciated him, and his message and we will discuss the message at one of our forum meetings.”
The PGF chairman faulted the insinuation that the ambition of Tinubu and Osinbajo may be putting the governors in a tight corner. Rather, he said their aspirations have further thrown up the party as a choice party parading competent aspirants.
Bagudu stressed: “On the contrary, we appreciate our party because it has become a party that has endeared itself to Nigerians. We have many brilliant people in our party, some serving and some not serving. The fact that we have people in our party that express a desire to lead the party into the highest office in electoral contests shows how much our party has resonated with Nigerians and our members.
“For us, it is a hallmark of success that people are showing interest. But, at the end of the day and because they are leaders of the party, they will always put the party’s interest at heart.”
On the possibility of the party adopting a consensus candidate as its presidential standard-bearer, the PGF Chairman said the party would adopt the best option, insisting that the APC would always go for the best.
“Don’t forget that in the 2015 presidential election primary, President Buhari contested against several others and it was a beautiful contest. There is nothing wrong. Members of the party always want to see consensus if it is possible. But, we are a democratic party.
“In our last convention, we had consensus in some of the offices and election in some others. There is always misrepresentation of consensus as if people are being snowballed into positions they would rather not take.”
The former Lagos State governor, who had informed President Muhammadu Buhari about his intention, also embarked on extensive consultations with party stakeholders nationwide.
Apart from meeting traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the Southwest, he has met members of the APC National Assembly caucus, Northern monarchs and religious leaders.