The All Progressives Congress (APC) has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari and other aspirants for the 2019 presidential ticket would get a level playing field.
National publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said this in reaction to endorsements of Buhari by top APC members and groups.
“The governors’ forum is a major stakeholder in the party, but it is not an organ of the APC. But if you look at the constitution of the party, the key organs are the convention, the National Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, the National Caucus, and the National Working Committee”, he told Thisday.
On fears that such early endorsement may discourage other interested aspirants, Abdullahi stated, “No, I don’t think so. The governors’ forum is an association of governors and it is within their democratic right to call on Mr. President to re-contest or to express their support for his re-election. They don’t have a role to play constitutionally in deciding who becomes the candidate of the party.
“They are only entitled to their opinion and they only have power of their vote at the convention. We can also say that because they are party leaders in their states, they can influence other delegates from their states to vote for the president. If so, why not, it is within their right.
“I am saying that as a party, there is no contradiction in the national chairman, Chief Oyegun, saying that he supports President Buhari. But what I’m saying is that it is our duty to conduct a credible and transparent primary. If we conduct a transparent primary and President Buhari emerges due to the preponderance of support, we would have been seen to have fulfilled the provisions of our own constitution.
“We will be acting in violation if we say that there will be no convention or, like the PDP did during their own time by printing only one form and ensuring that only one aspirant emerged. We are saying that we are not going to do that.
“If other aspirants say they are interested in the contest, of course, we have to make the space available to them. It is a game of numbers. But what I can assure you is that at the end of the day, the NWC of the APC will be fair to every member of the party who is interested in contesting for that post.”