…. Push for meeting with President Buhari to pick final choice
Former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s ambition to become the next national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may have suffered a major setback with more of the governors elected on the platform of the ruling party rescinding on the decision to back him.
Recall that after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa on Wednesday April 25, chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum Chairman Rochas Okorocha, told State House correspondents, that the public would be “duly briefed in due course” on the Forum’s preferred candidate.
His statement came despite reports that the governors had fully endorsed Oshiomhole and informed President of their preference for the former labour leader.
The incumbent, Mr. John Oyegun is reported to have shelved his ambition to return as chairman bringing an abrupt end to the battle of wits between him and the former Edo State governor.
Sources in the ruling party told Frontline News Online on Tuesday that Okorocha’s statement to State House correspondents was a subtle indicator to the thinking among his colleagues, that the former labour leader shouldn’t be backed to become national chairman of the APC.
The main reason being that the former governor’s independent mindedness has been analysed by some governors to mean his switching allegiance, without minding whose political fortunes is negatively affected.
Another high ranking member of the party said APC governors who met on Monday April 28 are also looking beyond Edo State to avoid the situation in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in which the national chairman of the party comes from a state where it already has a stronghold. Edo State is governed by an APC governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
Frontline News Online learnt that APC governors are keen on picking the next chairman from South-South zone and may have micro-zoned the position to Cross Rivers and Akwa-Ibom state, where they want to battle the PDP for the governorship and seats in the National Assembly.
According to the sources, governors have indicated interest in meeting with President Buhari as soon as possible to explain their new position to him and probably sell the candidature of Mr. Don Etiebet.
Etiebet, a former minister of Petroleum served as national chairman of the All Nigeria’s People’s Party (ANPP) and Buhari first ran under the platform, a fact the governors may be reminding the president of as both men have maintained a good relationship.
“The governors are looking to meeting the president on a near date. They want it to be immediately after he returns from America and they will let him know who they would prefer to lead the party into an election year”, the source said.