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APC northern governors want southern president as PMB meets aspirants

President Buhari in a meeting with the 23 presidential aspirants of the APG at the State House, on Saturday

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged APC presidential aspirants to hold consultations and come up with a strong candidate before the party’s primary election on June 6.

At a meeting with the party’s 23 presidential aspirants on Saturday in Abuja, President Buhari told the APC governors and presidential candidates to brace themselves for elective primaries.

He described the meeting as a continuation of the consultative process aimed at identifying a standard bearer who will lead the party to victory in the upcoming presidential elections.

The President emphasised that the APC should become more aware of the changing environment, be responsive to citizens’ desires, rethink its strategy, and strengthen its internal mechanisms, while reminding them of the importance of the party proceeding to the 2023 presidential elections with strength and unity of purpose, as well as presenting a flag-bearer who would give Nigerians hope.

Journalists were denied access to the meeting, according to our State House correspondents, as the President attempted to heal the party’s fractures caused by competing interests in selecting its presidential candidate.

Pick a southerner

Meanwhile, northern governors of the party have said they want President Buhari to pick a southern winner.

In a statement on Saturday, the governors asked northern presidential candidates to withdraw from the race in the national interest, allowing only southern candidates to advance to the primaries.

It was revealed that Jigawa state governor Abubakar Badaru had withdrawn from the race.

The decision was made after they met to review the political situation and to further support the party in providing progressive leadership amidst national challenges, according to the statement signed by Aminu Bello Masari, governor of Katsina state; Abubakar Sani Bello, governor of Niger; Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa; Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno; and Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna.

Others are: Gombe governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, Zamfara governor Bello Matawalle, Plateau governor Simon Lalong, Kano governor Abdullahi Ganduje, and Kebbi governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.

“After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in 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 matter of honour for the APC…we affirm that adhering to this principle is in the interests of building a stronger, more united, and more progressive country,” the statement read.

The governors said they want the party to make the 2023 elections a moment of nation-building.

The presidential primary election for the party is set for June 6.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello, additional writing by Saadatu Albashir; Editing by Tony Okerafor