Days after President Muhammadu Buhari indicated a template for his successor in the forthcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries, some governors of the ruling party are beginning to rally behind the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who is believed to fit the President’s description.
As of Tuesday night, several of the APC governors have been seen in the Villa meeting with the VP and also the Chief of Staff to the President in what sources say is a move likely to result in a Consensus presidential candidate for the ruling party.
Governors cited in the Villa between Wednesday and today (Friday) include the following those of Kano, Ogun, Ekiti, Gombe, Nasarawa, and Ebonyi States
A clear majority of the 22 governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the aegis of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), appear to have agreed on supporting the candidature of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, ahead of the party’s long-awaited presidential primaries on June 6.
Indeed, more Northern Governors including Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa and Gombe are said to be opposed to any idea of a Northern Presidential candidate for APC.
The governors who held a series of meetings at the Kebbi State Governors Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja on May 31, after their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, were initially deadlocked on who to support and while Governors like Kebbi and Jigawa pushed the idea of Northern candidate, the idea met with stiff resistance among the majority of the Governors.
However, after reconvening, a top source in the know, hinted that the governors have agreed that the Presidency of the party should be zoned to the South and that the candidate should be Prof Osinbajo.
According to an impeccable source in the Villa, the governors failed to reach an agreement on a candidate in their first meeting because different governors were working for different aspirants and they were all pushing for their aspirants to be accepted based on a North-South divide.
Said the source ” the heroes of this whole thing are the Governors of Borno, Nasarawa and Gombe who even though are from the North, argued that the VP from the South fits the bill perfectly. Kaduna Governor and Borno Governors are also of the same view but Kaduna Governor has not been seen in the Villa this week. He was represented by his deputy at the meeting with the President on Tuesday.”
The source said that some governors had first insisted that the party’s Presidency should be zoned to the North because the main opposition party had settled for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at their convention.
“It was a very heated argument between the governors. Some governors wanted a Northern candidate to challenge the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate but some other northern governors kicked against it. They said that it is morally right for power to return to the South.”
The source noted that “The governors represented different interests at the meeting and were all pushing for their candidate but there were more governors who were loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and who wanted to reciprocate the President’s gesture.
“They were others who also insisted that Mr VP (Osinbajo) was the most popular candidate based on the feedback that the governors got from delegates in their states and they were almost certain and very confident that he would defeat candidates from other parties including Atiku.
According to an aide of one of the governors present at the meeting, certain governors were asked to reach out to some other notable aspirants to urge them to step down for the VP.
“It was indeed a difficult call, as some governors were asked to reach out to their candidates to relate the choice of the governors and to also tell them to step down their ambition so that the party can present a united front at the convention.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had urged the governors to allow him to pick a successor.
In a meeting on Tuesday with the APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu in attendance, Buhari said, “In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”
“I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention. This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger,” Buhari said.