For the first time since the Special Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a month ago, President Muhammadu Buhari has publicly explained why he did not back any of the aspirants.
While paying Sallah visit to the Emir of Katsina, Dr Abdulmumin Usman Kabir on Saturday, President Buhari said rather than anoint a candidate, he chose to give the delegates a free hand to make their choice in a demonstration of the internal democracy in the party.
In the buildup to the party’s presidential primary, President Buhari had given the indication that he would like to choose his successor, rationalising that that was the same practice the Governors adopted in their respective states.
However, while recalling the situation then, President Buhari said the party leaders initially gave him a list of 30 presidential aspirants, and was asked to pick a candidate of his choice.
The President said he rather decided to allow the delegates to pick the candidate of their choice which resulted in the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President Buhari, who spoke in Hausa, said: “I was given a list of 30 aspirants to pick from. Most of them were my Ministers and Governors. So, who will I choose or support? One of the Governors even came to see me and asked who are we to choose.
“If I do that, it would affect my Vice President because he was listening to our conversation. I then told them to choose who they want. So, they elected Tinubu as APC presidential candidate”.
He added: “I hope the forthcoming general elections would also be peaceful just like the way APC conducted its congress where they elected the party’s National Chairman, the presidential candidate and how the presidential candidate picked his running mate. I hope God will help us to conduct the general elections peacefully”.
President Buhari appealed to Nigerians to allow peace to reign during the 2023 general elections.
On insecurity in the country, the President insisted that his government was doing its best in tackling the challenge.
“May God give us the wisdom to serve people more”, he declared.
While welcoming the President, the Emir had urged him to expedite action on the Kano/Katsina highway; the Kano/Katsina/Maradi railway and the Rimi Windmill Power generation project.
The monarch said that, apart from contributing to the development of Katsina State, the projects would also create employment for residents.
The state Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Masari also said that security operatives were doing all they could to tackle banditry and other crimes in the state. He called on residents to also give the security operatives the necessary support.