President: Our choice candidate must give Nigerians confidence ahead of polls
By Egena Sunday Ode
Strong indications emerged Tuesday that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, may adopt the consensus option in its national convention slated for next week to elect its presidential candidate for the 2023 general election.
Deliberations at the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, governors elected on the platform of the ruling APC and the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja Tuesday were said to be centered around modalities to be adopted to by the party achieve a rancour free presidential primaries.
Although the party’s constitution provides for the consensus option in the emergence of candidates for elections, it was not adopted in any of the just concluded primaries for State and National Assembly as well a governorship candidates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
At the meeting, which took place in his office, the President admonished the governors to come up with a candidate that would reflect all the values and virtues of the party.
President Buhari said that consultations will continue in the days leading to the national convention to ensure that all the aspirants are carried along as he advised the meeting to work towards the emergence of a candidate who can give Nigerians a sense of victory and confidence before the 2023 election.
“The processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes. Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation,” Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted the President to have said.
Buhari warned that he would apply stronger control on the ruling party in his last year at the helm to ensure that it remained strong and united so that it could retain power after his tenure.
“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.
“Such leadership is required so that the party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the center, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain additional number of states.
“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.”
He appealed to all the governors “to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community. Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
While assuring that the consultation process would continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders were brought on board right through to the convention, he stressed that it would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors were effectively brought under control, “and that our party emerges stronger.”
Speaking on behalf his colleagues, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum said the party must build on successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “and come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown,” adding: “We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention.”
It was, however, gathered that President Buhari has suggested that the number of presidential aspirants going into the party primaries should be reduced to a manageable figure with the national nhairman expressing the hope that aspirants can be pruned to as low as four.