Presidential aspirants of South West extraction on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with meet on Saturday to ensure that the region produces the next president.
The presidential aspirants from the South West geopolitical zone are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Ajayi Boroffice; Former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole; and Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Also expected at the meeting are governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and some ministers from the region.
The South West meeting will hold at the Abuja residence of former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, around 8pm.
Sources say that the discussion would border on ensuring that the South West goes into June 6 presidential primaries as a united front. A consensus candidate from the region will also be discussed.
“We will all be meeting at Chief Osoba’s home by 8pm in Abuja. Everyone is expected to be present. We will all sit together and discuss the need to ensure that the South West gets the ticket,” an aspirant told Punch Newspaper.
“However, all of us will be asked to be truthful with one another and see who among us has the best chance of winning the primary. Then if anyone is willing to step down to boost the chances of the South West, then this will be encouraged.”
It was gathered on Friday that there is intense lobbying by some northern governors to ensure that the APC gives its presidential ticket to a northerner had unsettled the South West bloc of the party.
This was said to have caused Tinubu’s outburst at a meeting with Ogun State delegates on Thursday, where he insisted that the APC must give its ticket to a Yoruba man and that he must be the favoured candidate.
Okorocha, Ohaneye, Onu, other South East aspirants meet
Presidential aspirants from the South-East had an emergency meeting on Friday to deliberate on a consensus aspirant for the region.
The aspirants from the region are Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; a former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; the only APC female in the race, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; former Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; and Ikeobasi Mokelu.
Although their last meeting took place at the Maitama home of Okorocha days before his house was raided by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the venue of their Friday meeting was unknown.
A source said the Igbo aspirants had resolved to consider throwing their weight behind one of their own ahead of the convention. The source disclosed that all the presidential hopefuls in the region were meeting almost on a daily basis.
Ohaneye confirmed the report in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday.
Asked if the South-East aspirants agreed on any form of consensus yet, she stated that it would form the highlight of their meeting by evening. “That is actually what we are doing today (Friday). We are looking at getting a consensus representative,” she said.
When reminded that politicians like Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, and Orji Uzor Kalu had thrown their weight behind Lawan, she insisted that they were not at the forefront of the campaign.
“We are talking about APC aspirants. Those people you mentioned are not. We are focusing only on the South-East aspirants. On what grounds are they standing for the South-East?”