The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has refused to directly endorse any of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was learnt that while the President did not tell anyone of them not to contest, he didn’t give any special promises or assurances to any aspirant.
This detail was made known by a source in the presidency privy to the meetings between President Buhari and the APC aspirants who met with him separately and at different times to inform him of their 2023 ambitions.
The source added that Buhari however charged each of them to uphold the integrity of the party and the country in their campaigns.
The President also questioned them about their belief in their own popularity, ability to win the polls as well as what they think about the policies and thrust of his own administration.
“I think the President was being careful when he met with each of them on their presidential aspirations. He specifically told them to be careful in their campaigns.
“He also asked them to go ahead with their campaigns and that he would be watching them from afar. Besides that, he asked them if they were popular enough to win and if they felt they could deliver the presidency to the ruling party. As expected, all of them answered in the affirmative.
“The President also interrogated them on their programmes and if they equally believed in his administration or not,” the source quoted by The Punch stated.
The source added that the aspirants didn’t come to seek the President’s approval to contest but his support in realizing their ambitions.
“All they said was that they wanted to contest the presidency on the platform of the APC and that they would need his support. They did not ask for his permission.
“But I think only one of them actually sought his permission and asked if he should join the race. I will not reveal the name of the candidate so that you do not think that is the man the President will support.”
While some others are still expected to declare their intentions in the days to come, some aspirants that have already come out openly to seek the ticket of the ruling party include Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi; Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; a businessman, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; a former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; and Ihechukwu Dallas Chima.