The Forum of Former Deputy Governors of Nigeria under the All Progressives Congress, has advised stakeholders in the APC to downplay religious and ethnic factors in the consideration and selection of the running mate for presidential candidate of the ruling party, Bola Tinubu. The forum made the call at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
Former Deputy Governor of Edo State and Chairman of the forum, Lucky Imasuen, who spoke for the ex-deputy governors, was accompanied by former Deputy Governor of of Bauchi State and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Abdulmalik Mahmood; the Secretary, Armaya’u Abubakar of Taraba State; Nkem Okeke of Anambra State; Ahmed Ibeto of Niger State; Abdullahi Gwarzo of Kano State; Bello Tukur of Adamawa State; and Tinubu’s deputy as Governor of Lagos State, Femi Pedro.
Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the APC, had emerged flag bearer of the ruling party on Wednesday at its Special National Convention. Imasuen said, “FFDGN-APC, however, appeals to our presidential candidate, Tinubu, and the leaders and stakeholders of the party to consider first, core democratic ethos in arriving at a sensitive decision of a running mate for the APC ticket.
“We believe that Tinubu is comfortably competent enough to manage the complexities of Nigeria without rancour and de-emphasise primordial sentiments on the basis of religion or tribe by putting Nigeria first.”
The chairman said the forum salutes the “heroic spirit, vigour and tenacity of the national leader, which confirmed the belief in the power of the people.”
Imasuen also said the emergence of Tinubu as APC candidate had “sent jitters to the camp of the opposition party and they have realised the irreversible error committed to choosing a presidential candidate against the mood of the nation.”
According to him, with the emergence of Tinubu, the major opposition already had a premonition of defeat.
The forum also appealed to other presidential aspirants in the APC to see themselves as co-pilots of the ‘Tinubu 2023 Presidency Project’ and rally around the choice of the party.
The ex-deputy governors also appealed to some chapters of the APC where there are factions to “immediately reunite for a common purpose in the interest of Nigeria, as we have our eyes on the bigger ball.”
Imasuen noted that the forum has ex-deputy governors of all political parties, adding that there are groups within it based on party affiliations. According to him, the APC group had visited Tinubu while the Peoples Democratic Party group had also visited the presidential candidate of the opposition party, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
“We have more than 50 members from the APC. From all the parties, we are 112 in total,” he noted.
In his remarks, Pedro extended greetings from Tinubu to the forum. Pedro said, “Let me first of all say I wholeheartedly endorse the speech just made by our chairman (that) we all respect. I have nothing to add except to say that having worked with Asiwaju for so many years; having being part of the campaign for the primary, I can say that he expresses his appreciation to all Nigerians and in particular, members of the APC who have made it possible for him to emerge as the candidate of the party for this election.
“Asiwaju wishes to extend to all Nigerians that help is on the way; that Nigeria would be stronger for it if he was elected as president; that the issue bedevilling our nation today, which he spoke about when he spoke briefly after his election, he is going to tackle them frontally. And Nigerians should be rest assured that with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency, the country would be greater for it.”