The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors’ meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to choose his successor ended in a stalemate.
The meeting was called after Buhari informed them in no uncertain terms that he had decided to choose his successor while seeking their understanding and support.
The meeting took place in Abuja, just minutes after the governors met with the president, who then traveled to Spain.
The meeting was reported to be deadlocked, and they agreed to reconvene at 8 p.m.
Following his meeting with the governors, the president immediately left for Spain after informing them of his decision.
According to sources, the governors were at a loss as to how to carry out the president’s request.
On the condition of anonymity, one of them told an online medium:
“We believe the president has not settled on a specific candidate, which is why some governors felt it was best to nominate two of us (one from the north and one from the south) to the president for consideration.”
The debate over how to implement the request quickly became ethnic in nature, with some northern governors reportedly arguing that no southern governor could defeat Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, in the presidential election, and thus the north should be given preference.
This position, it was discovered, did not sit well with some southern governors.
Some southerners were said to have retorted that the nominees did not have to be state governors. Governors loyal to southern presidential candidates such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and ex-Lagos governor Bola Tinubu are thought to have pushed for this position.
Because the governors could not reach an agreement, they decided to adjourn the meeting and reconvene at 8 p.m.
Buhari had informed the governors that he wanted to choose his successor in order to preserve his legacy.
Mr Buhari made the remarks during a meeting with governors elected on the APC platform at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday.
“In keeping with the Party’s established internal policies, and as we approach the Convention in a few days, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in selecting my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023,” the president said at the meeting, which was also attended by the APC national chairman.
Mr Buhari told the governors that he understands the “compelling need” for him to provide “stronger leadership to the party during this transition period.”
Mr Buhari stated that stronger leadership is needed not only to improve the APC’s electoral fortunes, but also to ensure that the party’retains power at the center’ by winning the presidential election.
During the meeting with the governors, Mr Buhari was said to have listed the factors he would consider before supporting one of the 25 APC presidential candidates.
“Our goal must be the victory of our party, and our candidate must be someone who gives the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the election.” he noted.