Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South West, including governors, National Assembly members, ministers and others, yesterday evening rose from “exclusive stakeholders” meeting in Agodi Government House, Ibadan, and declared that the presidential ticket of the party is open to all as the march towards 2019 general elections gets underway.
In attendance were the host governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), a former National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, former governors Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), who is serving as Minister for Solid Minerals, Communications Minister, Mr Adebayo Shittu, a Minister of State for Niger Delta, Claudius Daramola, Senator Adeyeye, Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf and the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila among others.
The party’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, who was billed to attend the meeting reportedly shelved the decision at the last minute “because of stomach ache,” according to Chief Akande, the group’s Spokesman.
But Mr Tunde Rahman, Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media, later held a media parley with journalists and allayed fears over the health of his boss, stressing that, “he (Tinubu) considered it wise to stay back in Lagos to attend to the ache and he is part and parcel of decisions going on at the meeting.”
President Muhammadu Buhari got a large chunk of votes in 2015 from the South West and yesterday’s decision by leaders from the zone left many questions unanswered ahead of 2019.
Speaking on behalf of the APC stakeholders at the end of the meeting, Chief Akande said they were in Ibadan as a follow up to the January this year’s meeting they held in the same town, to appraise the state of affairs of the party and how the zone was fairing in the scheme of things.
“We are happy that our governors and ministers are performing satisfactorily. As a party, we are trying to review our position to see what we are going to do to have Ekiti back for APC in 2018,” he said.
Asked of the position of the party on President Buhari’s rumoured second term ambition, Akande said, “He has not told us he is running for 2019. Anybody in our party is free to become the president of Nigeria as long as he indicates interest.
“We have a process through which a candidate will be selected. If he is lucky to have the ticket, then we have no option than to present him as our candidate,” he said.
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