No fewer than 10 northern governors on the platform All Progressives Congress (APC) have agreed to ensure that the party’s presidential candidate is from the South.
The governors signed a joint statement demanding that the South produces the presidential candidate of the APC.
To this end, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State has withdrawn from the presidential race.
Other northerners in the race are Lawan, Bello and Yerima.
The governors who signed the joint statement are Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi). Former Governor Aliyu Wamakko signed on behalf of Sokoto State.
It was titled, ‘Statement by Northern States’ APC Governors and Political Leaders’, and dated June 4, 2022.
The northern governors said the decision was sequel to an invitation by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to them and other stakeholders to contribute to the emergence of a strong presidential candidate for the APC.
They argued that with Buhari’s tenure coming to an end, it would only be fair for the South to produce the next President of the country.
The northern governors praised Badaru for withdrawing from the presidential race.
The statement read in part, “We, therefore, wish to strongly recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari that the search for a successor as the APC’s presidential candidate be limited to our compatriots from the southern states. We appeal to all aspirants from the northern states to withdraw in the national interest and allow only aspirants from the South to proceed to the primaries.
“We are delighted by the decision of our esteemed colleague, His Excellency, Governor Abubakar Badaru, to contribute to this patriotic quest by withdrawing his presidential aspiration. The APC has a duty to ensure that the 2023 elections offer a nation-building moment, reaffirming that a democratic pathway to power exists for all who value cooperation and build national platforms.
“This moment calls for the most sober and inclusive approach to selecting our party’s candidate, and we call on all APC leaders to fulfil their responsibility in this regard.”
There had been an intense debate in the APC on the issue of zoning. Some had argued that with the emergence of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, the APC would also need to produce a northerner that could match him in the region.
Attempts to get a response from the Director of Media, Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation, Mrs Yemi Kolapo, proved abortive as she did not respond to an inquiry regarding whether the Kogi governor would step down.
Yerima’s spokesman, Baraden Dosara, also did not respond to calls on Saturday.
But Senate President Lawan’s campaign manager, Iyke Ekeoma, said the northern governors only expressed their opinion and it was left for the APC to take it or leave it.
He said, “Well, they have yet to take the decision at the party level, because they’re meeting with the President. The northern governors have expressed their wishes. You know what should happen, but the parties concerned have to accept what they have said and know whether they will step down.
“But in the meantime, all the aspirants are meeting with the President. If that’s the decision they arrive at and the party agrees to it, I’m sure they will all be obeying the party’s decision on it.”
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