Governors of the ruling party are beginning to gather behind Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, two days after President Muhammadu Buhari outlined a template for his successor in the upcoming APC Presidential Primaries.
Several APC Governors were spotted meeting with the Vice President in the Villa last night, a move that sources suggest is likely to result in a consensus presidential candidate for the ruling party.
The governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the auspices of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), appear to have agreed on a consensus candidacy for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, in advance of the party’s long-awaited June 6 presidential primaries.
Governors who met with President Muhammadu Buhari on May 31 and held a series of sessions at the Kebbi State Governors Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, were initially unable to reach a consensus arrangement.
However, after reconvening, a knowledgeable source suggested that the governors had agreed to zone the party presidency to the South, with Prof. Osinbajo as the candidate.
According to a reliable source in the Villa, the governors were unable to agree on a consensus candidate at their first meeting since they were all working for different contenders and lobbying for their candidates to be accepted on the basis of a North-South divide.
According to the source, the heroes of this situation are the governors of Borno, Nasarawa, and Gombe, who, although being from the North, advocated that the vice president from the South is the ideal candidate. Governor of Kaduna shares the same opinion, but he has not been spotted in the Villa this week. On Tuesday, he was represented by his deputy for a meeting with the president.”
According to the source, some governors first demanded that the party’s Presidency be zoned to the North because the opposition party’s convention had settled on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“There was a heated debate between the governors. Some governors desired a northern candidate to contest the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) nominee, while other northern governors opposed the idea. They stated that the return of power to the South is morally correct.
The insider stated, “The governors represented diverse interests at the meeting and were all lobbying for their candidate, but there were more governors who were loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and wanted to repay his generosity.
“Others also stated that Mr. Vice President was the most popular candidate, based on the response the governors received from delegates in their respective states, and they were almost certain and quite convinced that he would defeat candidates from other parties, including Atiku.
According to the assistant of one of the governors present at the meeting, certain governors were encouraged to contact particular hopefuls and urge them to drop down in favour of the consensus candidate.
“It was definitely a difficult decision, as some governors were tasked with informing their candidates of the governors’ decision and urging them to step aside so that the party could present a united front at the convention.
“Some governors were unwilling to discuss the consensus issue with their candidate because they feared that their candidate would reject the plan. Rather than supporting the consensus candidate, they preferred to go to the polls and lose.”
Some media outlets say that no less than six governors have informed Prof. Osinbajo of the governors’ decision.
At least three governors have visited the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at his office, according to an Aso Villa source.
“The governors are extremely confident that the Vice President will deliver the necessary votes to win the 2023 elections, but it is more important for the party to remain united, as Osun and Ekiti governorship elections are imminent, and we will work together to win those elections as we prepare for the 2023 elections.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had already urged the governors to let him to choose a successor.
In a meeting on Tuesday with APC national chairman Abdullahi Adamu present, Buhari stated, “In accordance 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 selecting my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election to the office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”
“I wish to tell you that the consultation process will continue to guarantee that all aspirants and stakeholders are included in the convention until its conclusion. This would also ensure that any worry caused by various circumstances is successfully contained and that our party emerges stronger,” stated Buhari.