By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari met behind closed doors with northern governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the State House, Abuja, on Monday.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Plateau, Mr Simon Lalong, said the president insisted that he had not endorsed any of the 23 candidates aspiring to clinch the presidential ticket of the APC.
He said the president confirmed to them that, contrary to insinuations in some quarters, he had not endorsed any of the 23 candidates, ahead of the party’s primary election on Tuesday.
Lalong stated that the president had, therefore, directed that governors of APC controlled states should meet with the National Working Committee of the party, to fine tune modalities for the selection of the presidential flag bearer of APC.
He said: “The president told us that for the APC presidential primaries, he has no anointed candidate and therefore directed that the Progressive Governors’ Forum meet with the National Working Committee of the party to agree and proffer further solutions and recommendations for his successor.
“And based on his directive, the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum has summoned a meeting for 5.00p.m, today, after which we will make further suggestions to the president.”
Lalong added that the governors were at the Presidential Villa to apologise to the president, because they met at the weekend and took a position to support power shift to the southern part of the country in the spirit of fairness but before they could convey their position to him, the matter got leaked.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, who also spoke at the event, said the northern governors believed their support for “power shift to the South is good for the unity of the nation, fairness and justice.
“We looked at the totality of the issues in our country and we believe APC with a president that has delivered democratic dividends across the breadth of the country and 22 governors, has everything going for it.
“What is the political brinkmanship that we need to bring so that every component of Nigeria will feel important?
“It is to allow opportunity for other parts of the country. And this is a step that will bring more peace and resonate with every part of Nigeria.”
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna said out of the 14 governors of APC states in northern Nigeria, only one; that of Kogi State, who is also an aspirant, disagreed with their position. (NAN)
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