President Muhammadu Buhari last night renewed his push for a consensus presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He expressed confidence that the ruling party would retain the presidential seat next year.
Speaking during a meeting of the APC’s National Advisory Council (NAC) at the Villa, he said: ”My charge and appeal to all of you, therefore, is to reach out to your various spheres of influence to actively promote the spirit of consultation and consensus building so that a formidable candidate for the 2023 Presidential elections would emerge from the convention. Our citizens do not expect less from us.”
The President first hinted of the consensus idea during a meeting with APC governors.
He said in the circumstances, in order to prevent any post-convention acrimonies and also reduce noticeable anxiety among members on the possible outcome of the process, the party leadership has recommended the intensification of consultation and consensus building to reduce the number of aspirants at the convention.
At the meeting were former Internal Affairs Minister Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Magoro, pioneer Chairman/former Osun State governor Chief Bisi Akande and former Senate President Ken Nnamani.
Admitting that the party leaders have diverse interests, spheres of influence and expectations, he said: “You similarly possess the collective ability to ensure our victory at the 2023 polls by strengthening the stability and unity of the party.
He promised to lead the transition processes and on-going consultations, “till we successfully choose our candidate for the 2023 presidential elections and record our third straight victory, thereafter, by God’s grace. We are on the way towards winning our third straight victory since 2015.”
The party’s convention which starts today, will climax tomorrow with the emergence of the presidential candidate.
According to a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President explained that the meeting was convened to provide leadership and direction during the transition period, adding that the motive was “to strengthen our unity and to focus on building upon our electoral fortunes.”
The statement quoted the President as saying: “I am optimistic that the outcome of this consultation with the National Advisory Council will in addition to sharpening our focus, help to fortify the positive democratic principles, practices and culture that already exists within the party system.”
“In the course of these consultative processes, I have already met separately with the progressive governors and with all our eminent members who are aspiring to become the presidential flag bearer for our party during the 2023 elections.
“I am pleased to inform you that those meetings have been fruitful and indicative of a party that is prepared and marching towards a third straight victory since 2015, at the presidential polls.
“I underscored the important roles consensus building and consultations have played in the survival of successful political parties around the world. Our party should not be an exception.
”Recognising the foregoing, therefore, I also emphasized the need to strengthen our unity, stabilize our internal cohesion and system as well as present a formidable presidential candidate who has the ability to build a unified nation and the capacity to deal with our challenges.
“The party machinery has also screened all our aspirants to the office of the president and found that they consist of eminent personalities, rich in experience, capacity and commitment to service and accomplishment in life. This gives us a lot of confidence but it also comes with its challenges.”
The NAC members thanked the President for the consultative meetings, and commended him for the great service he had rendered to the country, particularly in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure.
They were unanimous that with hard work and a united front, the APC would win the presidential election billed for February next year, as well National Assembly, governorship, and State Assembly polls.