Presidential aspirants on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from South-East Nigeria have written to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to anoint one of them as the candidate of the party for the 2023 general elections.
A letter dated June 6, 2022, and signed by six presidential aspirants from the South-East, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, appealed to the President to act promptly, so as to guide the party’s delegates accordingly.
The letter was signed by Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Ebonyi governor, Dave Unahi; Senator Rochas Okorocha and Mrs Uju Ken Ahanenye.
The letter reads, “We the undersigned, who are aspirants to the office of the President on the platform of our party, the APC write to commend your fatherly leadership of our country and our party. We also commend your unequivocal approval of the position of the 14 Progressive governors from Northern Nigeria to ensure that your successor is elected from tur Southern part of Nigeria.
“We also commend the governors for this patriotic and unifying stand. United we stand —Our unity in diversity had been the rallying point of all patriots.
“Your Excellency, we most humbly request that this position of our brothers from the North be deepened and made even more wholesome by further zoning this position to the South-East.
“We are all aware that no President can emerge without the support of various geopolitical zones and without the express collaboration of our brothers and sisters from other zones of Nigeria.
“With our Convention at hand, your kind directive for the deepening of unity in diversity championed by our founding fathers solely on the basis of strengthening national unity and cohesion and for rousing victory at the 2023 elections, are stated objectives in your speeches to the Progressive Governors Forum, the APC aspirants dinners and the meeting of APC stakeholders.
“Furthermore, we are humbly requesting that you consider and pick your chosen candidate from the South-East aspirants in line with your stated objectives of handing over to trusted party loyalists.
“We humbly see your Excellency’s prompt and kind intervention to enable the party delegates to assume proper guidance.
“Please accept as always our continuing loyalty and assurances of our esteem regards and obedience to whichever candidate your Excellency deems fit and appropriate to adopt as the candidate of the party.”
President Buhari on Monday dismissed reports that he had anointed the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan as the presidential candidate of the ruling APC.
Earlier, the National Chairman of the APC announced Senate President Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.
Adamu reportedly made the announcement at the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) on Monday in Abuja.
His adoption of Lawan as the consensus candidate was against the position of 11 APC northern governors, who had said that power must shift to the South after President Buhari’s tenure.
Adamu told the National Working Committee that he arrived at the choice of the Senate President after consultation with President Buhari.
Earlier, Buhari was reported to have held a closed-door meeting with governors of the APC from the North at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This was part of preparations for the party’s convention to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
However, a statement on Monday signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, said Buhari declared before the party’s 14 governors of northern states that he had “no preferred candidate,” and had “anointed no one,” and was determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate on the party.”
Speaking at a meeting with the Governors at the State House, Abuja, the statement quoted President Buhari as saying the party is important and its members must be respected and made to feel important.
The statement had said, “The President said he had a clear mind about what he was doing and asked the APC governors to feel the same way: ‘You were elected as I was. Have a clear mind as I have. God gave us the chance; we have no reason to complain. We must be ready to take pain as we take the joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.’
“Earlier in their addresses, the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the Progressive Governors Forum, said they had come to affirm the position of the Northern Governors that the party’s candidate in the presidential election shall come from the southern part of the country.
“They apologised to the President for the leakage of their signed memorandum which was not in support of any particular candidate and gave assurances to the President on their readiness to accept his leadership on the matter.”
Following reports that the APC National Chairman, Adamu, had announced Lawan as the consensus candidate of the party, SaharaReporters had exclusively reported that Buhari would soon come out to deny Adamu’s claims.
SaharaReporters had learnt that Buhari had indeed confided in Adamu that Lawan was his choice but never instructed him to make it public.
“Buhari will deny that he anointed Senate President, Lawan as consensus candidate. Although Buhari confided in Adamu, that he prefers Lawan, he didn’t tell him to announce it.
“Governors had pigeon-holed Buhari by asking the presidency to go to the South and Kaduna Governor, (Nasir) El- Rufai got wind of it and leaked their position to the press to pressurise Buhari not to endorse Lawan,” a top source had revealed.