The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), renewed his push for a consensus presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress on Sunday night.
This is as he expressed confidence that the ruling party would retain the presidential seat in the 2023 elections during a meeting of the APC’s National Advisory Council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He was quoted by The Nation as saying, ”My charge and appeal to all of you, therefore, is to reach out to your various spheres of influence to actively promote the spirit of consultation and consensus-building so that a formidable candidate for the 2023 Presidential elections would emerge from the convention. Our citizens do not expect less from us.”
Buhari first gave hints about the consensus idea during a meeting with APC governors.
He said in the circumstances, to prevent any post-convention acrimonies and reduce noticeable anxiety among members on the possible outcome of the process, the party leadership has recommended intensifying consultation and consensus building to reduce the number of aspirants at the convention.
At the meeting were former Internal Affairs Minister Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Magoro, pioneer Chairman/former Osun State governor Chief Bisi Akande and former Senate President Ken Nnamani.
Admitting that the party leaders have diverse interests, spheres of influence, and expectations, he said: “You similarly possess the collective ability to ensure our victory at the 2023 polls by strengthening the stability and unity of the party.
He promised to lead the transition processes and ongoing consultations “until we successfully choose our candidate for the 2023 presidential elections and record our third straight victory, by God’s grace. We are on the way towards winning our third straight victory since 2015.”
The party’s convention, which starts today, will climax tomorrow with the emergence of the presidential candidate.
According to a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President, explained that the meeting was convened to provide leadership and direction during the transition period, adding that the motive was “to strengthen our unity and to focus on building upon our electoral fortunes.”
The statement quoted the President as saying: “I am optimistic that the outcome of this consultation with the National Advisory Council will in addition to sharpening our focus, help to fortify the positive democratic principles, practices and culture that already exists within the party system.”
“In these consultative processes, I have already met separately with the progressive governors and with all our eminent members who are aspiring to become the presidential flag bearer for our party during the 2023 elections.
“I am pleased to inform you that those meetings have been fruitful and indicative of a prepared party marching towards a third straight victory since 2015 at the presidential polls.
“I underscored the crucial roles consensus building and consultations have played in the survival of successful political parties worldwide. Our party should not be an exception.
”Recognising the preceding, therefore, I also emphasized the need to strengthen our unity, stabilize our internal cohesion and system, and present a formidable presidential candidate who can build a unified nation and the capacity to deal with our challenges.
“The party machinery has also screened all our aspirants to the office of the President and found that they consist of eminent personalities, rich in experience, capacity and commitment to service and accomplishment in life. This gives us a lot of confidence but it also comes with its challenges.”
The NAC members thanked the President for the consultative meetings. They commended him for the excellent service he had rendered to the country, particularly in agriculture and infrastructure.
They were unanimous that with hard work and a united front, the APC would win the presidential election billed for February next year, National Assembly, governorship, and State Assembly polls.