The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has backed the emergence of a southerner as a president in 2023.
He made this known at a dinner with All Progressives Congress presidential aspirants in Abuja.
Buhari, however, didn’t disclose the name of any preferred candidate but asked the southern aspirants to compete in the party’s primary.
Similarly, 10 northern governors backed the President and asked their colleagues in the race to withdraw. Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badaru, withdrew while Yahaya Bello of Kogi State refused to quit.
The PUNCH had reported that Buhari met with the aspirants on Saturday in the Presidential Villa.
At a meeting with governors on Tuesday, Buhari had called for reciprocity in choosing his successor.
“In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.
“I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention.
”This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger,” Buhari said.
Apart from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, other APC presidential aspirants are the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and former ministers Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio, and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Serving governors who are also aspiring to be president are Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), and Ben Ayade (Cross River) .
Others are former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, and serving senators Ibikunle Amosun, Ajayi Boroffice, and Rochas Okorocha.
Buhari’s running mate in 2011, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Uju Ken-Ohanenye, Nicholas Felix, Ahmad Rufai Sani, Tein Jack-Rich, Ikeobasi Mokelu are also in the presidential race.