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APC govs root for governor as Buhari’s successor, disagree on zoning

More information has emerged from the meetings held so far by state governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress on the consensus candidate to run for president in 2023.

At a meeting with governors, President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) urged them to allow him to choose a consensus candidate as a “successor.”

The governors have met twice so far, according to reports, with a third meeting expected on or before Saturday.

The governors are said to have discussed having a consensus candidate proposed by Buhari during the first meeting.

According to a source familiar with the meeting, “many of them agreed that it is an idea that can be tried.”

During the second meeting, he said, suggestions on who should be put forward as the APC consensus candidate were made.

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The second meeting was marred by regional division, according to reports, as some northern governors who spoke believed that a consensus candidate should be nominated.
Though the source did not name the northern governor, it was reported that Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State, and Mohammed Badaru, the governor of Jigawa State, are both running for president.

After a South-West governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, objected to the idea, it was discovered that two northern governors agreed that a governor from the south could be considered.

Governors from the South are Prof Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, all of whom are running for president in 2023.

“Most of the argument was centred on a governor succeeding Buhari, for now,” the source said when asked about Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu. Southern governors, on the other hand, are discussing power rotation.”

“When Akeredolu and other southern governors asked them to think about Nigeria’s unity, the northern governors suggested that two governors from the south and north be considered,” he continued.

Some governors at the meeting, however, argued that a southern candidate would not be able to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 presidential election.

Atiku, who is from Adamawa State in northern Nigeria, has unsuccessfully run for President of Nigeria five times before, in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019.

He ran for president of the Social Democratic Party in 1993, but lost to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe.

In the 2007 presidential election, he ran for the Action Congress and finished third behind Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP.

During the 2011 elections, he ran for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential nomination but lost to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

He joined the APC in 2014 ahead of the 2015 presidential election and ran for president, losing to Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential primary.

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He rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party in 2017 and ran as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari once more.

As of the time of filing this report, attempts to contact Atiku Bagudu, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, were unsuccessful. Calls to his cellphone number were not answered after they had rung out.

“I was not part of the meeting,” Governor Akeredolu’s spokesperson, Olabode Olatunde, said when contacted. I can’t say much about it because it was held behind closed doors among the governors.”

Additionally, attempts to contact Tinubu and Osinbajo’s media aides were unsuccessful because they refused to pick up the phone or respond to text messages.

-Akeredolu explains why the South should produce the next president.

In May, Akeredolu warned the APC against zoning the presidential election for 2023 to the north, claiming that doing so would cause a crisis.

In a statement titled, ‘Our party, the APC, must tread the path of equity,’ Akeredolu insisted that the country’s next president would come from the south.

The agreement reached when the APC micro-zoned the party’s offices during its National Convention, according to Akeredolu, must be followed.

“The current democratic dispensation is anchored on the unwritten convention driven by a principle of Equity,” the statement said. Our party recently elected officers based on the long-standing principle of ensuring that every part of the country has a significant say in the political process. The focus has now shifted to the process that will culminate in our party’s participation in the upcoming general elections.

“All lovers of peace and freedom must do everything possible to avoid tendencies that may lead them to make decisions that foster distrust and lead to a crisis that no one can predict.”

“At the recently concluded Convention, the party’s leadership ensured that the principle of rotational representation guided its decision. The chairmanship of the party has shifted to the north. On this basis, all other offices have been filled. This is the time for the party’s leaders to make a clear and unequivocal statement about the succession pattern.

“It is now the turn of the South to produce the next President of the United States.” The party leadership, just as it has set various fees for the purchase of forms, should have no trouble making pronouncements on this crucial issue. This must be completed as soon as possible. The 1999 Constitution, as amended, establishes the principle of federal character. Anyone who argues against rotation during this time will be dishonest.”

Buhari’s mission

At a meeting in Aso Rock on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) asked the Progressive Governors Forum to look for the right successor.

Buhari also told the governors that he would seek reciprocity ahead of the presidential primary, which will take place in six days.

“The party has succeeded in establishing internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels,” he told the governors.

“First-term governors, for example, who have performed admirably have been encouraged to run for re-election. Second-term governors have also been given the option of promoting successors who are capable of carrying out their visions as well as the party’s ideals.

“In accordance with the party’s established internal policies, and as we approach the convention in a few days, I would like to seek the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in selecting my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”

“As we approach the convention, I implore you all to allow our interests to converge, to keep our focus on the changing dynamics of our environment, our citizens’ expectations, and the global community.

“Our goal must be for our party to win, and we must choose a candidate who will give the Nigerian people a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”

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