All Progressives Congress Leaders in the South-west went for broke on Thursday in Ibadan, declaring that the party’s presidential ticket is open as President Muhammadu Buhari has not indicated interest yet in running for a second term.
It was at a stakeholders’ meeting of the party leaders held in Ibadan, Oyo State capital and the regional capital of the South-west zone. The meeting was attended by governors, former governors, ministers and principal officers of the National Assembly from the zone.
Akande said the presidential seat remains vacant to any member of the party. He said: “President Buhari has not told us that. Anybody in our party is free to become the President of Nigeria. If anyone indicates interest and is ready to subject himself to the process through which a candidate is elected, and he is lucky to have the ticket, then, we will have no other thing to do than to present him as our candidate.”
The former governor of Osun State also said the party did not support restructuring but devolution of power which the federal government has to consider.
According to him, “Restructuring is not our language. Go and ask the advocates of restructuring and they will be able to define it. Ours is devolution of function from the centre to the peripheral governments like the States and the local governments. Restructuring is the language of other body, other group of people. So, go and ask those advocating restructuring to define it whether restructuring in education, economy or whatever. That is not in the APC manifesto or constitution.”
Unlike the previous meetings which had a low turnout, the meeting was well attended by party chieftains in the zone.
APC leaders present included host Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi and Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu.
Also in attendance were former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Lasun Yussuf ; Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senator Sola Adeyeye, APC Deputy National Chairman, Chief Pius Akinyelure, and Prof. Claudius Daramola. National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was, however, absent at the meeting due to ill health.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun and Minister of Health were said to be on assignment.