2023: APC Goes South In Search Of Presidential Candidate - Matrixliveng
2023: APC Goes South In Search Of Presidential Candidate
Politics

2023: APC Goes South In Search Of Presidential Candidate

  • Buhari Calls For ‘Formidable’ Consensus Candidate
  • Northern Govs Back Power Shift To South, Ask Lawan, Others To Withdraw

It appears that the ruling All-Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to focus its attention in the search for a presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023, presidential election to the Southern region of the country if events of the past few hours are anything to go by.

The first indication of that effect came late on Saturday when Northern governors serving on the platform of the party urged President Muhammadu Buhari to pick his successor from the Southern part of the country.

The governors said it would be an honour for Buhari’s successor to come from the Southern part of the country.

In a statement signed by 11 governors from the Northern part of the country, they explained that such would foster a unity in Nigeria.

The governors that signed the statement are Aminu Bello Masari, Katsina State; Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger State; Abdullahi A. Sule, Nasarawa State, Umara Zulum, Borno State and Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, Kaduna State.

Others are Muhammad Yahaya, Gombe State; Bello M. Matawalle, Zamfara State; Simon Bako Lalong, Plateau State; Aliyu Wamakko, Former Governor of Sokoto State; Dr. A.U. Ganduje, Kano State; and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu Governor of Kebbi State.

Also, shortly after the statement was issued, Badaru withdrew from the Presidential race.

They also urged all Northern presidential aspirants to step down for their Southern counterparts.

“APC governors and political leaders from the northern states of Nigeria today met to review the political situation and to further support our Party in providing progressive leadership amidst our national challenges.

During our discussions, we welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s invitation to governors and other stakeholders to contribute to the emergence of a strong presidential candidate for the APC.

After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in the office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.

It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in any way affected by the decisions taken by another political party.

We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country.

We, therefore, wish to strongly recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari that the search for a successor as the APC’s presidential candidate be limited to our compatriots from the southern states.

We appeal to all aspirants from the northern states to withdraw in the national interest and allow only the aspirants from the south to proceed to the primaries.

We are delighted by the decision of our esteemed colleague, His Excellency, Governor Abubakar Badaru to contribute to this patriotic quest by withdrawing his presidential aspiration.

The APC has a duty to ensure that the 2023 elections offer a nation-building moment, reaffirming that a democratic pathway to power exists for all who value cooperation and build national platforms.

This moment calls for the most-sober and inclusive approach to selecting our party’s candidate, and we call on all APC leaders to fulfil their responsibility in this regard” the statement said.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has tasked the presidential hopefuls of the APC to “come up with a formidable” consensus candidate before the party holds its primary election.

The president made this known during a meeting with the aspirants on Saturday at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The ruling party has fixed June 6-8 for its special convention to elect its presidential flagbearer.

In a statement signed by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari was quoted as saying:

“Looking at this assemblage of personalities and considering your rich pedigree of accomplishments in life, I have concluded that our party, the APC, is rich in human resources and also that our nation is blessed with capable people that can successfully steer the ship of state into the future.

“Our party, the APC, has won two successive presidential elections in 2015, first when we were in the opposition and in 2019 when I sought re-election. Both processes were achieved through unity of purpose, strategic alignment, consultation, fairness, determination and effective leadership. In both instances, national and party interests were overriding factors in our deliberations and decision-making.

“The 2023 General Elections are fast approaching in a global, regional and national environment that is constantly changing and challenging. This demands that our party should become more aware of the changing environment, be responsive to the yearnings of our citizens, re-evaluate our strategy and strengthen our internal mechanism so that we would sustain the electoral successes.

“I am pleased to note that the party, recognizing the significance of all these demands, has over time developed several democratically acceptable processes and policies, that promote consultation, internal cohesion and leadership to facilitate victories at the polls.”

The president said it is pertinent for the party to douse the anxiety among its members and proceed to the 2023 presidential elections with unity of purpose.

“Given these circumstances, I charge you to recognize the importance of the stability and unity of the party, which cannot be overemphasized,” he said.

“Similarly, I wish to remind you that our choice of flag bearer must be formidable, appealing to the electorate across the board and should command such ability to unify the country and capacity to address our critical challenges.

“Ahead of the Convention, the party machinery has screened and found all aspirants eminently qualified. Recognizing this fact, the Screening Committee has, amongst others, recommended that consensus building through consultation, be intensified.

“Without prejudice to your qualifications, I urge all of you to hold consultations amongst yourselves and with the party, to build a consensus in a manner that would help the party reduce the number of aspirants, bring up a formidable candidate and scale down the anxiety of party members.”

The president added that the party’s screening committee had also recommended consensus building through consultation.

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