The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to meet ruling All Progressives Congress presidential aspirants latest Sunday.
The president was said to be planning a trip to Ghana today (Saturday), without resolving the consensus crisis rocking the party.
A top government official told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that the President would return to the country later in the day.
Nevertheless, the President, who returned from Spain on Friday afternoon, is expected to meet with the aspirants on Saturday night or Sunday.
“The President is expected to travel to Ghana tomorrow (today). After that, he is expected to meet with the aspirants and thereafter reveal his preferred candidate for the party’s ticket,” the source added.
The PUNCH had reported that Buhari met with the governors of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday ahead of the party’s convention.
The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the outcome of the meeting known in a statement titled, ‘We must show positive qualities of APC at our convention, President Buhari charges governors’.
During the meeting held at State House, Abuja, Buhari told the governors that decisions that would enable the party to retain power at the centre should be taken.
The meeting came amid speculations that the president may anoint an aspirant before the convention.
Apart from former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, other aspirants are the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and former ministers Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio, and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Serving governors who are also aspiring to be president are Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa).
Others are former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, and serving senators Ibikunle Amosun, Ajayi Boroffice, and Rochas Okorocha.
President Buhari’s running mate in 2011, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Uju Ken-Ohanenye, Nicholas Felix, Ahmad Rufai Sani, Tein Jack-Rich, Ikeobasi Mokelu are also expected to face the party’s presidential screening panel.
He also charged the governors to ensure that the forthcoming convention to pick a presidential candidate reflects all the values and virtues of the party.
He said, “The processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes.
Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.
“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the party, I recognise the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.
“Such leadership is required so that the party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the centre, holds the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain an additional number of states.
“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.
The President appealed to all the Governors “to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community.
“Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of the candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.”
Buhari assured the governors that the consultation process will continue, to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention, stressing that it would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors are effectively brought under control, “and that our party emerges stronger.”
Speaking on behalf of the state’s helmsmen, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum was quoted to say the party must build on successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far.
He also urged the party to “come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr President has shown. We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention.”