Northern Governors forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday in Abuja, disown Ahmed Lawan’s candidature as the presidential flag bearer, firmly stand by their decision to zone the party’s presidential ticket to the south.
The governors revealed this shortly after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The PUNCH early reports that after their meeting on Saturday night, the Northern governors asked the governing party to zone its presidential ticket to the south.
They also asked aspirants from the northern region to withdraw. These include their Kogi State counterpart, Governor Yahaya Bello, who is also vying for the party’s Presidential ticket.
According to a communiqué signed after the meeting, the governors said, “After a 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.
“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in any way affected by the decisions taken by another political party.”
Speaking on behalf of the governors, Simon Lalong of Plateau State regretted that the communiqué from the meeting got leaked to the public before they officially informed the President of their resolution.
He, however, noted that the governors had to inform the President in person as part of last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s primary elections.
Asked why their Kogi State counterpart, Bello, was absent from the meeting, a distraught governor El-Rufai (of Kaduna) said it was not compulsory for all 14 of them to agree on the southern ticket.
According to him, Bello had excused himself from the meeting with the President because he rejected the resolution made by the governors.
El-Rufai argued that 13 out of 14 yeses are enough to front the agenda for a southern candidate.
This would be the fourth in a series of meetings between the President and party stakeholders ahead of tomorrow’s Presidential Primary elections to be held at Eagle Square, Abuja.
Those in attendance include Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Aminu Masari of Katsina, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Abubakar Bello of Niger, Yahaya Inuwa of Gombe, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara.