Despite the fact that President Buhari did not outrightly tell APC governors and party leaders who his preferred aspirant was, there are indications that his choice has been narrowed to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate Presiden, Dr. Ahmad Lawan.
The APC has scheduled its presidential primary for June 6, in Abuja. The exercise was shifted from May 29, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shifted the deadline for primaries and submission of candidates’ names by one week.
Sources close to the presidency said that Buhari is torn between the choice of Lawan and Osinbajo, following the outcome of the presidential primary of the opposition PDP, which produced former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
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It was gathered that a team is looking at the pros and cons of selecting Lawan or Osinbajo, with the view to giving President Buhari an informed advice for the final decision to be made on his return from Spain by Friday.
It was gathered that Buhari’s speech at the meeting with APC governors indirectly showed that his preferred choice is either Lawan or Osinbajo.
He said at the meeting: “The party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first term governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.
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“In keeping with the established internal policies of the party and as we approach the convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”
The presidential source said Buhari, in that remarks, carefully highlighted that his choice would be someone capable of driving his visions. Osinbajo has been part of Buhari’s vision as vice president, while Lawan has supported it with the Senate.
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Osinbajo has also strongly defended Buhari’s policies and projects, while articulating the President’s vision, having played a lead role in its execution with the management of key initiatives central to the administration’s strategic imperatives. Lawan has also supported with key legislation.
Daily Sun gathered that Buhari is carefully studying the implication of the emergence of Atiku as PDP standard bearer, to know which option, between Lawan and Osinbajo, will give APC an edge.
It is believed that he is looking at the reactions from the South and Middle Belt closely, especially the growing belief that PDP, by picking a northernet, has neglected call for an equitable shift of power to the Southern region.
Also, he is looking at the reaction in the North, to know if a southern APC candidate would alienate the zone and cause a shift to the opposition.
An insider said that a lobby group would be raised in the coming days to work in the north and south, depending on who, between Osinbajo and Lawan, eventually carries the day.
The lobby group is waiting to meet with northern and southern elders in APC to solicit support for eother Osinbajo or Lawan, depending on who becomes the chosen one.
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