Baring last moment changes, 21 presidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would test their political strength and popularity at Eagles Squares venue of the party’s make or mar primary slated for Tuesday, June 7.
Telescope.ng reported that an attempt by the national chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, to select Senate president, Ahmad Lawan – a northerner – as the preferred candidate of the party failed on Monday, June 6, as both the presidency and 12 northern governors of the party openly distanced themselves from the move.
Adamu had summoned a meeting of the 25-member National Working Committee at the party’s headquarters in Abuja ahead of the presidential primary slated for Tuesday (today).
At the meeting, Adamu informed the NWC that Lawan was the anointed candidate of the party, a move which was not accepted by all of the members.
It was gathered that the national chairman insisted the choice of Lawan was arrived at after due consultation with the President Muhammadu Buhari.
After the meeting, Adamu hurriedly jumped into his vehicle and zoomed off.
Adamu’s plot to impose Lawan was on Monday greeted by a groundswell of opposition from some NWC members, northern governors and other presidential aspirants.
Moments after the NWC meeting, about seven members led by the National Organising Secretary of the APC, Suleman Argungu, told journalists at the party secretariat that Lawan was not the preferred candidate of the party.
Argungu stated: “We want to state that the pronouncement of Lawan as the consensus candidate was the chairman’s opinion and he is entitled to his opinion. It is not the position of the party.”
Others who supported Argungu were the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Salihu Lukman; Deputy National Chairman (South), Isaac Kekemeke; the National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel.
Amid the commotion, 12 northern governors emerged from a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa where they stated that the President had confirmed to them that he had no preferred candidate.
The governors said they stood by their decision to zone the party’s presidential ticket to the South, a move which angered Kogi State Governor and Presidential aspirant, Yahaya Bello.
According to a communiqué issued after the meeting, the governors said, “After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in the office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.