The attempt by the All Progressives Congress’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, to nominate Senate President Ahmad Lawan, a northerner, as the party’s favored candidate failed on Monday, as the Presidency after the party’s 12 northern governors explicitly distanced themselves from the move.
Adamu had summoned a meeting of the 25-member National Working Committee at the party’s headquarters in Abuja ahead of the presidential primary slated for Tuesday (today).
According to PUNCH, at the meeting, Adamu informed the NWC that Lawan was the anointed candidate of the party, a move which was not accepted by all of the members.
It was gathered that the national chairman insisted the choice of Lawan was arrived at after due consultation with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
After the meeting, Adamu hurriedly jumped into his vehicle and zoomed off.
The APC’s stand on Monday threatened the hope of the South to produce the next president as a northerner, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on May 28 got the presidential ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party after defeating southern aspirants including the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
But northern governors in the APC, at their meeting on Saturday night, raised the hope of the South when they insisted that the presidential candidate of the party should emerge from the southern part of the country.
Adamu’s plot to impose Lawan was on Monday greeted by a groundswell of opposition from some NWC members, northern governors and other presidential aspirants.
Moments after the NWC meeting, about seven members led by the National Organising Secretary of the APC, Suleman Argungu, told journalists at the party secretariat that Lawan was not the preferred candidate of the party.
Argungu stated, “We want to state that the pronouncement of Lawan as the consensus candidate was the chairman’s opinion and he is entitled to his opinion. It is not the position of the party.”
Others who supported Argungu were the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Salihu Lukman; Deputy National Chairman (South), Isaac Kekemeke; the National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel.
Amid the commotion, 12 northern governors emerged from a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa where they stated that the President had confirmed to them that he had no preferred candidate.
The governors said they stood by their decision to zone the party’s presidential ticket to the South, a move which angered Kogi State Governor and Presidential aspirant, Yahaya Bello.
According to a communiqué issued after the meeting, the governors said, “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.”