The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has told presidential aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress to go to the field and sell their candidatures to the electorate, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
A Presidency source told one of our correspondents that Buhari did not ask any of those who consulted him to either run or drop their ambitions.
Rather, the President was quoted to have advised them not to compromise the integrity of the APC and the Federal Government in their campaigns.
So far, no fewer than eight aspirants in the ruling party have declared their interest in taking over from the President when his tenure expires on May 29, 2023.
The aspirants are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi; Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; a businessman, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; a former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; and Ihechukwu Dallas Chima.
Saturday PUNCH also learnt from reliable sources that the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, would declare his aspiration at the end of the ongoing Ramadan.
The Presidency source said though Buhari spoke differently to the aspirants when they met with him, it would be difficult for any of them to claim to have gotten the President’s endorsement.
The source said, “I think the President was being careful when he met with each of them on their presidential aspirations. He specifically told them to be careful in their campaigns.
“He also asked them to go ahead with their campaigns and that he would be watching them from afar. Besides that, he asked them if they were popular enough to win and if they felt they could deliver the presidency to the ruling party. As expected, all of them answered in the affirmative.
“The President also interrogated them on their programmes and if they equally believed in his administration or not.”
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