The All Progressives Congress governors on Monday at a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), expressed reservation over the manner the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, handled the selection of his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
It was gathered that it took the intervention of the President to pacify the governors and rally them to support the Tinubu-Shettima ticket when they visited his Daura home.
Sources at the private meeting between the President and the nine APC governors said although the APC candidate reserved the right to pick his running mate, they had not concluded their discussions with Tinubu before he went ahead to announce Shettima.
Media had on Monday reported that the North-West governors preferred the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; or his Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai; because of the voting strength of the zone.
It was learnt the governors were angry when they heard that Tinubu had picked Shettima. Tinubu had earlier revealed on Sunday that he hadn’t even informed Shettima of his decision to pick him as his running mate.
“At the meeting the governors expressed their anger over Tinubu’s decision to pick Shettima. It was as if he didn’t even care about the opinion of the governors even though he will rely on them for mobilisation. Buhari, however, pleaded with them to accept Shettima since he is a loyal party member,” said an aide to one of the governors.
A source close to a North-West governor said the governors were all surprised by Tinubu’s announcement.
“We all watched the announcement on television just like every other Nigerian. Tinubu did not discuss this with anyone. He even admitted that he had not informed Shettima of his decision to pick him as running mate. This was not proper at all and the governors made this known,” he said.
“What happened was just like Tinubu’s announcement at the Presidential Villa in January when he told the media about his intention to contest. Sometimes, he makes these announcements in the spur of the moment. Many of us were shocked,” he added.
Confirming the governors’ surprise at Tinubu’s announcement, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Abubakar Bagudu, told journalists at the end of the meeting that they were surprised by the choice of Shettima as the APC vice-presidential candidate.
He said, “We were pleasantly surprised when Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu announced in Daura on Sunday that Senator Kashim Shettima was the vice-presidential candidate. We were happy that it was no less a person than Senator Shettima who was announced the vice-presidential candidate.
“No doubt, Senator Shettima would complement the good qualities of Asiwaju Tinubu. We are very happy with the choice. The two will complement each other and will surely consolidate on the achievements of the President in the past seven years.”
Bagudu added that their visit to Daura was to felicitate the President over the Sallah celebration.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong also said that while the choice of vice-presidential candidate was the prerogative of the Presidential candidate, all the APC governors would work to ensure the party’s victory at the 2023 general elections.
He declared, “A Presidential candidate has the prerogative of picking his deputy, but ours is to ensure the party’s victory in the presidential election.”
But the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, said Shettima’s choice was a collective decision by all the progressives governors, adding that all the governors would work hard to ensure victory for the APC in the 2023 elections.
He said, “The choice of Senator Shettima as the vice-presidential candidate is a collective decision. We shall work hard to ensure victory in all our states.”
Other governors at the meeting were: Aminu Masari(Katsina); Abdullahi Ganduje(Kano); Abubakar Bello(Niger); Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Simon Lalong(Plateau) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).