President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the presidential hopefuls of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to consult and “come up with a formidable” consensus candidate before the party holds its primary election between June 6 – 8.
The president, who met with the aspirants at the State House, said the meeting was a continuation of the on-going consultative process aimed at ensuring a smooth and strategic emergence of a standard bearer, who will lead the APC to a resounding victory in the upcoming presidential polls.
Buhari saluted the aspirants for their “courage and selfless spirit” in volunteering to serve in the highest office of the land.
The president said it is pertinent for the party to douse the anxiety among its members and proceed to the 2023 presidential elections with unity of purpose.
Buhari was quoted as saying: “Given these circumstances, I charge you to recognize the importance of the stability and unity of the party, which cannot be overemphasized.
“Similarly, I wish to remind you that our choice of flag bearer must be formidable, appealing to the electorate across the board and should command such ability to unify the country and capacity to address our critical challenges.
“Ahead of the Convention, the party machinery has screened and found all aspirants eminently qualified. Recognizing this fact, the Screening Committee has, amongst others, recommended that consensus building through consultation, be intensified.
“Without prejudice to your qualifications, I urge all of you to hold consultations amongst yourselves and with the party, with a view to building a consensus in a manner that would help the party reduce the number of aspirants, bring up a formidable candidate and scale down the anxiety of party members.”
The president added that the party’s screening committee had also recommended consensus building through consultation.
Responding on behalf of the aspirants, former Governor of old Abia State and immediate past Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State, and Vice President, ‘Yemi Osinbajo, thanked the President for his leadership and guidance, pledging that they would hold the consultations as counseled “for the unity and strength of our party, the APC.”