- Adebayo Shittu has reportedly opposed the president’s alleged plan to impose a successor on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)
- According to the former minister in a clear warning, any such attempt by President Buhari could backfire
- Going further, he advised that delegates should be allowed to pick their preferred candidate among the aspirants
President Muhammadu Buhari’s former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has opposed the president’s alleged plan to impose a successor on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of its presidential primary election next week.
Shittu while speaking on Channels TV on Wednesday warned that any such attempt by President Buhari could backfire.
The ex-minister was reacting to the president’s address to the Progressives Governors’ Forum at the consultative meeting held at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
Shittu warned that the president should not impose any candidate on the party, advising that delegates should be allowed to pick their preferred candidate.
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“I will appeal to Mr President to appeal to our governors that they should, as democrats, as progressives, ensure that a level playing field is provided for all aspirants. Let delegates from every nook and cranny of this country have an opportunity to make their choices so that Nigerians will see that we are doing better than the other parties.
“We have had several states in the past where governors attempted to bring in their preferred candidates over and above what is equitable and it has backfired.
“It is not a standard that we must try to build on. We are a democratic party and the fact that some governors have in the past imposed candidates cannot be a justification for us to continue to perpetuate anti-democratic (acts).
“They should not bamboozle people, they should not intimidate, they should not do anything that will compromise the right to fairness in bringing in new candidates.”
Shittu said the 2023 election would be different from the previous ones as there are stronger candidates on parade now.
“In 2019, it was essentially a two-party affair but this year, with what we have seen with the NNPP coming up, with Labour Party coming up with a very strong candidate in Peter Obi. We must appreciate that actions will naturally have consequences.
“We must learn from our circumstances, we must learn from our environment and know that it may not be as easy as we think. We must also be warned now that the youths are coming up, stronger and more agitated for change.
“We must be able to give the impression to the general public, particularly the youths, that we are being fair to all aspirants and that as democrats, as progressives, we are not giving the impression that some people are being pampered above others,” he said.
2023: At last, Buhari speaks on APC presidential candidate, tells party governors his mind
Meanwhile, Buhari has broken his silence on the method of choosing the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the forthcoming primary.
Speaking with APC governors in Abuja on Tuesday, May 31, the president advised them to focus on the changing dynamics of the country and the expectations of Nigerians in electing a candidate. He urged them to have victory as their major focus in the entire process, adding that the flagbearer must be someone who will give a sense of confidence to the masses.
President Buhari said:
“In a few days, the party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership."
2023: Road closed for Tinubu as Insider sources reveal Buhari's likely candidate, debunk Jonathan option
Meanwhile, an insider source who spoke with Leadership on Monday, May 23, had said that the former minister of science, technology and innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, could just be Buhari's preferred presidential candidate for the APC.
The source who did not even mention Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu's candidacy claimed that the widespread notion that the APC is eyeing a presidential ticket for former President Goodluck Ebele may be wrong.
“The press may have got the whole speculation about Jonathan wrong."