The three presidential aspirants ahead of others at the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Tuesday Special Convention in Abuja are two-term governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Rivers State governor and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Also, six aspirants, including former governor of Akwa Ibom and Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, governor of Ekiti State and former Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, Ondo State senator, Ajayi Boroffice, former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and Jigawa State governor, Mohammed Badaru, and the only female presidential aspirant in the race, Mrs Uju Ohanenye, stepped down for Tinubu at the convention held at the Eagle Square in Abuja.
Speaking at the conversation, President Mohammadu Buhari advised the aspirants and their supporters to avoid acrimonies, also asking the party officials and delegates to follow due process and abide by all extant laws and regulations pertaining to election of the party flag bearer.
Buhari, who spoke before the commencement of the voting by the delegates, said: “My fellow party members and compatriots, I commend you for your various roles and contributions towards the successful conduct of the various APC primaries across the nation. I commend the party stakeholders, officials, organs and the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC.
“I commend your efforts in organising party exercises and urge you not to rest on our achievements so far. Now we have a big task ahead: the special convention for the presidential primary.
“I congratulate all the winners, our newly emerged party flag bearers, so far, for the 2023 general elections and urge you to be magnanimous in victory, particularly towards your fellow aspirants who conceded to you. I urge you at all times to abide by the Party rules and follow party reconciliation processes.
“In every competitive event, there are bound to be winners and runners-up; and as such, all the aspirants who lost or conceded at the primaries, I equally urge you to maintain the spirit of sportsmanship and to stand by our great party for the next challenges ahead.
“As we go into the presidential primary, I urge all to keep to the same spirit. We must avoid acrimony and maintain the spirit of sportsmanship. The critical task ahead of the Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC remains to continue to forge the unity of purpose among party members and to keep securing needed compromises in the interest of our great party.
“I enjoin you all to be fair to all and to create a level playing field for all the presidential aspirants in the coming crucial party exercise.
“Please, follow due process in all the party decisions and I call on all party members, particularly the party officials and delegates to abide by all extant laws, rules, and regulations and to consider voting for the presidential candidate with the best chances of securing victory for our great party in the coming general elections.
“Many people have short memories. But let us remember the situation we inherited.
“A nearly dead economy in spite of oil being over $100 per barrel for many years. Vast areas of our country under insurgent control. Salaries, wages, pensions unpaid for months in many states.
“Problems were left unattended or ignored. Infrastructure left to decay. Internationally we were despised.
“Your APC Government has changed all that. Our response to any new challenges, whether banditry, kidnappings, insurgency has been prompt and head-on. Rehabilitation of infrastructure has taken place on a massive scale. Our response to COVID-19 is second to none in Africa.
“We have made substantial progress in governance, in implementing reforms, in democratic processes and in social care.
“We are now respected in Africa and across the world. These major achievements by APC are historic and far-reaching.
“We now have to choose a leadership not just to win elections next year but to continue and improve on these landmarks.
“We must choose a knowledgeable, fair minded nationalist with a very strong belief in the unity of our Nation, Nigeria, and strength of character and purpose to steer the country forward. We should not allow the PDP to drag the country backwards.”