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2023: APC Governors begin rallying around Osinbajo −Sources

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo

*Several APC Governors were in the Aso Presidential Villa meeting with the Vice-President and Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari in a move likely to result in a consensus presidential candidate for the ruling party

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Few days after President Muhammadu Buhari indicated a template for his successor in the forthcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential primaries at a recent meeting with them in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT, the governors of the ruling party are beginning to rally round Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who is believed to fit the President’s description.

As of Thursday night, several of the APC Governors were seen in the Aso Villa meeting with the Vice-President and Chief of Staff to the President in a move likely to result in a consensus presidential candidate for the ruling party, sources said.

Governors sighted in the Villa include those of Ogun, Ekiti, Gombe, Nasarawa and Ebonyi states.

The 22 governors on the platform of the party, under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), appear to have agreed on a consensus candidature of Vice-President Osinbajo ahead of the party’s long awaited presidential primaries slated for Monday, June 6.

The governors who held series of meetings at the Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge May 31, in Asokoro, Abuja, after their meeting with Buhari, were initially deadlocked on consensus arrangement, report stated.

However, after reconvening, a top source in the know, hinted that the governors had agreed that the Presidency of the party should be zoned to the South of the country, and that the candidate should be Prof. Osinbajo.

An impeccable source in the Villa disclosed, that the governors failed to reach an agreement on a consensus candidate in their first meeting because different governors were working for different aspirants, and they were all pushing for their aspirants to be accepted, based on a North-South divide.

The top source also noted: “The heroes of this whole thing are the Governors of Borno, Nasarawa and Gombe who even though are from the North, argued that the VP from the South fits the bill perfectly. “Kaduna Governor also of the same view but he has not been seen in the Villa this week.

“He was represented by his deputy at the meeting with the President on Tuesday.”

The source also revealed that some governors had first insisted that the party’s Presidency should be zoned to the North because the main opposition party had settled for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar at their convention.

“It was a very heated argument between the governors.

“Some governors wanted a Northern candidate to challenge the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate but some other Northern governors kicked against it.

“They said that it is morally right for power to return to the South,” disclosed the source.

According to same source, “the governors represented different interests at the meeting, and were all pushing for their candidate but there were more governors who were loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and who wanted to reciprocate the President’s gesture.

“They were others who also insisted that Mr VP was the most popular candidate based on the feedback that the governors got from delegates in their states and they were almost certain, and very confident the he would defeat candidates from other parties including Atiku.”

According to a governor’s aide present in the meeting said certain governors were asked to reach out to some aspirants to urge them to step down for the consensus choice.

The aide also said: “It was, indeed, a difficult call, as some governors were asked to reach out to their candidates to relate the choice of the governors and to also tell them to step down their ambition so that the party can present a united front at the convention.

“Some governors were not open to discussing the consensus matter with their candidate.

“They feared that their candidate will reject the proposal; rather, they will go to the polls and lose than support the consensus candidate.”

Reports as well noted that about six governors had communicated the decision of the governors to Prof. Osinbajo.

Another source at the Aso Villa said at least three governors had visited the Vice-President in his office.

The source stated: “The governors are very confident that the Vice-President will deliver the required votes to win the 2023 elections but more importantly is for the party to remain one because we have Osun and Ekiti governorship elections around the corner and we will work together to win those elections as we prepare….”

It will be recalled that President Buhari recently urged the governors to allow him pick a successor.

In a meeting Tuesday with Abdullahi Adamu, APC National Chairman, in attendance, the President said: “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.”

Buhari also noted: “This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger.”

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