By Sulaiman Bino
With the clock ticking on the All Progressives Congress, APC, to pick its presidential candidate, the party is swimming in confusion.
The National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu opened a can of doubt over perceived endorsement of a candidate from Southern Nigeria by President Mohammed Buhari.
Adamu had, during a meeting of the National Working Committee, informed his colleagues that Buhari had told him that Ahmad Lawan, Senate President was the consensus candidate of the APC. The information spilled out, causing media frenzy and reactions from the public.
In the midst of the confusion, 14 APC northern governors met with Buhari to ascertain Amadu’s claim. The president however distanced himself from the endorsement of Lawan or any other presidential aspirant.
Adamu had earlier created doubt over the well applauded northern governors decision to support southern candidate, through his spokesperson Nata’ala Keffi.
He quoted his principal, as saying that the gathering (between the governors and Buhari) didn’t discuss zoning.
Keffi noted that such claims were false, mischievous and misleading.
He explained that the President only advised the aspirants to build “a consensus that would help the party reduce the number of aspirants and bring up a formidable candidate.
“From the quotations from Mr. President’s speech, there is nowhere zoning was mentioned.
“We call on the public to disregard any information about the zoning of the presidential contest to any part of the country. What Mr. President wants is the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians; no more, no less.” The statement concluded.
The final twist came late on Monday June 6th, 2022 from the president after meeting with the pro-south northern governors. Sources explained that Buhari was upset that the governors “leaked” their document to the media, even before his consideration.
He therefore threw the contest open.
According to Garba Shehu, Presidential spokesman, Buhari cleared all doubts about where he stands on the choice of a presidential candidate for the ruling party.
Shehu said the president told the party’s 14 governors of northern states that he has “no preferred candidate,” and has “anointed no one,” and is determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate on the party.
“The President said he had a clear mind about what he was doing and asked the APC governors to feel the same way: “You were elected as I was. Have a clear mind as I have. God gave us the chance; we have no reason to complain. We must be ready to take pain as we take the joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody.”
While apologizing for the lapses, the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the Progressive Governors Forum, said they had come to affirm the position of the Northern Governors that the party’s candidate in the presidential election shall come from the southern part of the country.
They apologised to the President for the leakage of their signed memorandum which was not in support of any particular candidate and gave assurances to the President on their readiness to accept his leadership on the matter.
Midwest Herald can authoritatively report that, Lawan is the president’s preferred candidate and the APC national chairman merely played the role of an announcer of the direction of proceedings later tomorrow in Eagle Square, Abuja.
A point man of the pro Lawan group confided in Midwest Herald that the fact that southern aspirants disregarded the governor’s offer, by refusing to embrace Buhari’s call for prown the number of aspirants to manageable size may be responsible for the latest resistance.