All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and presidential aspirants from the South West emerged from a meeting in Lagos last night with a resolution to ensure that the geo-political zone produces Nigeria’s next president in 2023.
They also affirmed the right of every one of the contenders to pursue his ambition, but advised the gladiators to eschew acrimony and abuse in the build-up to this month’s primaries.
By the close of work at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja yesterday, the number of APC’s presidential aspirants had risen to 22 after Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele, former House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Lawal, immediate past Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Ogbonnaya Onu, former Zamfara State Governor Sani Yerima and Senator Ajayi Boroffice bought their own expression of interest and nomination forms.
Each set of forms goes for N100 million.
Many of the aspirants purchased the forms through proxies.
It was gathered Friday day that more aspirants might join the queue in due course.
Yesterday’s meeting of APC South West leaders was convened by former Osun State Governor Bisi Akande and his Ogun counterpart Aremo Olusegun Osoba to douse the anxiety generated by the growing number of aspirants from the same political family and background.
In attendance were APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, all of who have purchased their expression of interest and nomination forms for the presidential primaries.
The meeting, which took place at the Lagos State House, Marina, also attracted House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, APC National Secretary Senator Iyiola Omisore, Southwest APC leader Isaacs Kekemeke, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Ondo, Ogun and Osun counterparts Rotimi Akeredolu, Dapo Abiodun, and Gboyega Oyetola.
Others were Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, his Trade and Investment counterpart Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel and former Oyo State deputy governors Iyiola Oladokun and Alake Adeyemo.
A source close to the conveners said the meeting was successful.
He said: “They (aspirants) freely expressed themselves. They spoke their minds. It was agreed that they were free to pursue their ambitions. But the leaders emphasised the commitment to the emergence of the next APC presidential candidate from the Southwest.”
The source added: “The aspirants were admonished to pursue their legitimate interests without abusing one another. They called for decorum.
“It was also agreed that the aspirants should meet regularly to review events and situations. Contrary to feelings in some places, the meeting was not convened to make aspirants withdraw from the race.”