President Muhammadu Buhari did not demand zoning the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress to Southern Nigeria, his spokesman Garba Shehu has said.
Mr Shehu said reports purporting the Nigerian leader had asked party leaders to consider only southern aspirants for the top ticket during last night’s meeting were false. Peoples Gazette did not run the story, which was attributed to undisclosed sources at the meeting.
“This issue has not arisen,” Mr Shehu told the BBC on Sunday. “All he has to do is negotiate and get one person out of it, and he has shown that as a leader he is ready to provide leadership to make that happen.”
Mr Buhari invited aspirants on the party’s platform to a late-night meeting at the State House on Saturday night. Official transcripts of the meeting released by Femi Adesina said the president asked all the aspirants to seek a consensus amongst themselves.
Reports circulated while the meeting was still underway that Mr Buhari said he would only back a southern candidate, a claim now debunked by his two most-senior media aides.
Mr Shehu, however, said the president would back anyone chosen during consensus talks, notwithstanding the aspirant’s region, the BBC reported.
Activities have intensified for a consensus candidate to be worked out amongst aspirants and party leaders. Meetings were held across Abuja overnight, including the meeting of South-West leaders that was held at Olusegun Osoba’s residence.
Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Yemi Osinbajo, Kayode Fayemi, and Emeka Nwaiuba, amongst others, are southern politicians seeking the ticket. Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President from northeast Yobe, is also a top contender.