The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Friday explained why the Northern governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform insisted on a power shift to the Southern part of Nigeria in 2023.
The governors had on Monday ordered the presidential aspirants from the region to withdraw from the presidential race and allowed their Southern counterpart to proceed with the process.
El-Rufai, who featured in a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, said his colleagues took the decision based on principle that power should return to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said: “It was based on principle and after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is only fair for the APC to zone it to the South. There is no written agreement but there was an understanding during the formation of the APC. Some of us were therefore terrified when some unserious contenders wanted to contest.”
He also confirmed moves by some Northern stakeholders to retain power in the region following the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate.
El-Rufai added: “When we saw moves by some governors and the Senate President, we got worried because we had a principle based on the party’s motto of fairness. As a region, we must adhere to our words and we had to come out unanimously which the President supported.
“Right from the outset, Yahaya Bello made it clear he wanted to run but we didn’t take it seriously but when some governors like myself, Zulum, and Badaru bought form on the assumption that if the PDP zones to North, there is a need for the APC to reconsider. We got worried because what the PDP does should not be what APC does.
“The fact that the PDP picked a Northerner should not change our stance on fairness. I was told to pick the form but declined in the spirit of fairness; how I wished the PDP zoned to the South also.
“We had to meet the President after reports about Lawan’s candidacy emanated. We told President Buhari that we will support anyone insofar they are from the South which he considered regarding a five-name list. He checked the names and he ratified them ahead of the primaries.”
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