President Buhari had a dinner with seven APC chairmanship aspirants on Wednesday night reportedly unveiled a former Nasarawa governor as his choice for the position.
With a few hours to the national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), there are indications none of the six other aspirants for the chairmanship position has agreed to step down for Abdullahi Adamu, the preferred candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The convention is billed to hold today, after it was postponed several times by the caretaker committee of the party.
Mr Buhari on Wednesday met with the aspirants for the party’s top job and informed them of his decision to support Mr Adamu, a serving senator and former governor of Nasarawa State.
The aspirants who attended the late-night meeting with the president on Wednesday include Mr Adamu, Tanko Al-Makura, George Akume, Abdul’aziz Yari, Saliu Mustapha, Sani Musa, and Muhammed Etsu.
In his push for consensus candidates ahead of the convention, Mr Buhari ordered APC governors to refund money paid for the expression of interest and nomination forms by any of the aspirants willing to step down for Mr Adamu and other consensus candidates.
Each of the aspirants paid N20 million for the forms.
But few hours to the convention, none of the other aspirants has indicated interest in withdrawing from the race.
United in rebellion
Credible sources close to two of the major candidates from the North-central region told PREMIUM TIMES that the other six contenders have had various meetings and have resolved not to back down on their pursuit.
One source, who is also a delegate to the convention, said one of the aspirants had decided to step aside but was persuaded by the others not to do so in order to thwart the chances of Mr Adamu.
“Many governors are not happy with Buhari’s choice for national chairman but none of them can come out openly to challenge him.
“That is why they are secretly encouraging other aspirants never to back down so that they can work behind the scenes to ensure Adamu is not elected,” the source said.
He added that many governors are secretly mobilising their delegates to vote against the president’s choice.
Another source who also does not want to be mentioned said series of meetings were going on as of 10 p.m. on Friday but all the six other aspirants were yet to take a stand. He said the other six aspirants will take a collective decision on the matter.
“Many stakeholders have been prevailing on the other aspirants to step aside and give a written consent but none of them has agreed.
“I assure you that whatever decision they are taking will be a collective one,” he said.
As of the time of 10 p.m. Friday night, no aspirant had agreed to step down. However, a unity list was being prepared with Mr Buhari’s choice as chairman.
How Buhari revealed his choice to aspirants
More facts have also emerged on how President Buhari revealed his choice of Mr Adamu to the seven chairmanship aspirants of the party.
One of the aspirants who narrated what transpired at the meeting to PREMIUM TIMES said they were invited to have a dinner with the president where he revealed that he wanted Mr Adamu as chairman.
“Immediately after the dinner, the president was handed over a script which he read to us and at the end told us that Senator Abdullahi Adamu had his backing for the race.
“When he finished reading the script, he left us there with his chief of staff and others.
“There was no dialogue whatsoever and that is why most of the aspirants are aggrieved,” the source said.
He added that most of the chairmanship aspirants vented their displeasure after Mr Buhari left the meeting.