Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the aegis of the Progressive Governors are aggressively pushing that one of them be given the party’s 2023 presidential ticket.
Although he is yet to formally declare his interest in the job, there are indications that this new move may favour Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is also Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The APC Governors are reportedly piling pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of Wednesday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja.
This is to the chagrin of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, both frontline presidential aspirants who had made formal declarations.
Osinbajo and Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor, separately had engagement with the Governors last week, although some of them were absent.
The Governors were said to have indicated their preference for one of their own even before Tinubu announced his intention in January, after meeting with President Buhari.
They again reiterated their demand last month when the party concluded its National Convention to elected officers.
The Governors are regarded as one group that cannot be disregarded as they have largely funded the party and have strong influence on the new NEC.
Party sources confirmed that the Governors may have their way as they control the structure and have a large number of elected Federal and state legislators in their kitty.
The Governors largely influenced President Buhari to change his mind about the direct primary provisions in the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2022 and pushed the National Assembly to switch in favour of indirect primary.
President Buhari agreed to the Governors’ demand after reportedly consulting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami.
The Progressive Governors also influenced the election of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as National Chairman at the recent convention of the party.
The only other APC Governor who have declared his presidential bid is Engr. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.