Buhari Appeals to APC Presidential Aspirants to Present Formidable Candidate
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been urged to put heads together with the sole aim of coming up with a formidable candidate that can match the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls next year.
Last weekend, the main opposition party in Nigeria held its presidential primary in Abuja and produced former Vice President, Mr Atiku Abubakar, as its candidate for the presidential election in 2023.
The ruling party, APC, will hold its presidential primary from June 6 to 8 and over 20 aspirants want the sole ticket of the party.
On Saturday night, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with all the aspirants, including his vice, Mr Yemi Osinbajo; a former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Ahmed Tinubu; the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi; the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; and Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, among others.
At the gathering, Mr Buhari tasked the aspirants to come up with a formidable candidate before the primary election tomorrow, stressing that it would not augur well for all of them to go into the race without pruning down the number.
“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, with a view to building 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,” he told his guests at the State House in Abuja.
President Buhari expressed satisfaction with the quality of the aspirants, saying, “Looking at this assemblage of personalities and considering your rich pedigree of accomplishments in life, I have come to the conclusion 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.”
However, he stressed that the consensus candidate to be chosen by the aspirants “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.”
He reminded them that the flag-bearer should be able to “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.”
“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,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the aspirants, the immediate past Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and Mr Osinbajo thanked the President for his leadership and guidance, pledging that they would hold the consultations as counselled “for the unity and strength of our party, the APC.”
Earlier, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, promised that all stakeholders of the party would be reached in the consultation process.