President Muhammadu Buhari will in the coming days meet with all aspirants who are seeking to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Daily Independent has gathered.
A presidency source, who disclosed this to Daily Independent on Monday, said the president, who is the leader of the party, will meet with the aspirants “most likely after the national convention when it is expected that all those who are intending to run on the party’s platform would have indicated interest”.
Among those who have declared their interest to run are Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and APC national leader; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and former Imo State governor, and now senator, Rochas Okorocha.
Among those who are rumoured to be seeking to contest on APC platform but are yet to declare are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation; Governor Yahaya Bello and Orji Uzor Kalu, former Abia State governor.
President Buhari in a recent interview said even if he has a preferred candidate, he will not reveal his identity for safety reasons.
When asked how the ruling party will seek to manage the deluge of presidential aspirants without a crisis, our source said the president will soon meet with all those seeking to contest the presidential election before the primary.
He also commended the president for not revealing the identity of his preferred aspirant, saying doing so would have dampened the morale of other aspirants.
“Yes, it is a major concern but we will cross the bridge when we get there. Our major concern now is to conduct a hitch-free national convention where the next set of party executives will emerge.
“One thing I’m certain about is that President Buhari will meet with all the presidential aspirants. He is the father of the party and as a father, if your children are fighting over something, there is a way you talk to them and guide them so that it won’t degenerate into a battle.
“I must, however, commend the president for the maturity he displayed by not revealing the identity of his preferred candidate. Doing so would have led to more crisis in the party and discourage other aspirants. The president can only support one aspirant and he only has one vote on election day. But it is better he has kept it to himself until now”, he said.
In a related development, members of the state Houses of Assembly across the country on the platform of the APC on Monday endorsed Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, for President in 2023.
The endorsement was contained in a communiqué issued after the extraordinary meeting of the forum of APC State Legislators of the Federation held in Abuja on Monday.
The 365 legislators who attended the programme across the country also passed a vote of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari for his sterling performance and cohesive leadership qualities.
Similarly, the lawmakers passed a vote of confidence in the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee for positively repositioning the party and for his purposeful leadership that has attracted people of goodwill to the ruling party.
Explaining why they threw their support behind the presidential bid of Yahaya Bello, the forum of APC legislators described the Kogi governor as a young performer who has the interest of the country at heart.
The lawmakers have also decided to embark on mobilisation of support for Bello’s aspiration in their various states.
“We, the State Assembly Legislators of the Federation pass a vote of confidence in the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GFCR), for his sterling and cohesive leadership of Nigeria through thick and thin and urge him to be relentless in ensuring that he leaves Nigeria in 2023 a better place.
“We pass a vote of confidence in the Governor Mai Mala Buni Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee for its positive aggressive repositioning of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, and thank the committee for its purposeful leadership, which has attracted men and women of goodwill into the party. We, the members, further urge the committee to do more.
“The State Assembly Legislators of the Federation endorses and states their unalloyed and unshaken support for the aspiration of the young and ebullient governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello, who has against all odds decided to take the bull by the horn, by aspiring to the office of the President of Nigeria come 2023.
“The members thank him for leading the clarion call for the presidency of Nigeria and urge him to have no fear or doubt in his race for the exalted office as members of the Nigeria State Legislatures are solidly behind him.
“National, zonal and states’ coordinators were inaugurated to continue to mobilise honourable members from their various states to ensure the victory of Governor Yahaya Bello’s presidential aspiration come 2023,” the communiqué read.