President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with governors of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the ruling party’s national convention to produce its presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja had all members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum represented except for Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai who was represented by his deputy.
Issues discussed focused on giving guidance on who should emerge as the flagbearer of the APC amid the screening of the party’s presidential aspirants by the committee led by a former Edo State governor and former APC national chairman, John Oyegun.
During the meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari charged the Progressives Governors to show positive qualities of APC at the forthcoming convention.
“The processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes. Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.
“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.
“Such leadership is required so that the party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the centre, holds the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gains an additional number of states.
“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.”
The President appealed to all the Governors “to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community. Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of the candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
President Buhari assured that the consultation process will continue, to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention, stressing that it would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control, “and that our party emerges stronger.”
Speaking on behalf of the States’ helmsmen, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum said the party must build on the successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “and come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown.”
“We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention,” he pledged.
Others present at the meeting include APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.