Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)
It was dramatic and shocking on Tuesday night during the All Progressives Congress presidential primary, held in Abuja as aspirants stepped down for a former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
PLATFORM TIMES reports live that, no fewer than five aspirants stepped down for Tinubu.
Although 21 aspirants were in the race, contestants including Governor Kayode Fayemi; ex-Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; a former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, stepped down for Tinubu.
A presidential aspirant, Nicholas Felix, who stepped down for vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said the party could not have a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The drama was Kick started by the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio who surprised the gathering as the first aspirant to step down.
Akpabio, who boasted of 93 delegates from Akwa Ibom State, publicly asked them to vote for Tinubu.
He said, “I have seen a man who is older than me and who was the first visionary in governance and that man enabled us to have good governance and development in Lagos State.”
The former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs added that he had so many things he would have loved to say about his manifesto but would rather support the next President with the ideas.
He said, “I will join the next President to turn the boys in Nigeria into men. And, therefore, I duff my heart and urge that as I withdraw now, vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Ibikunle Amosun who took the microphone after Akpanio said “In the spirit of consensus building and supremacy of our party and to harken to the voice of our people. we must talk to ourselves.
“I want to urge all of you to support who can do the job and that is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with all of us coming to support him, he will take Nigeria to greater heights.”
Also shocking the gathering, Kayode Fayemi “I have come to the desicion that we must look for the most appropriate person.
“I am prepared to sacrifice my ambition, I am a young man and I still have a long time ahead of me, a man I will love to recommend to all my delegates and supporter, please accord me the respect to accord the respect you are giving me to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu .It is a duty of care for Nigeria and we trust him to do well.”
Also in their speeches, Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, Senator Borrofice and Bankole also stepped down for the former Lagos State Governor.
But a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, who announced his withdrawal from the race on Monday, called for a review of the Constitution to address the issue of federal character.
He said, “Today’s convention suddenly has changed. It is no longer based on the zoning principle. I will suggest strongly that we take a second look at the constitution, the area that concerns federal character which gives all parts of Nigeria equal opportunity to feel like an integral part of the country.”
A presidential aspirant, Nicholas Felix, who stepped down for Osinbajo, said the party cannot have a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Delivering his speech, former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, argued that the South-East should produce President Buhari’s successor.
He said, “I think naturally, it should be somebody from the South-East that will replace him and give the opposite of South versus North and Christian versus Muslim. It will bring stability to our nation, it wil strengthen the unity of Nigeria.”
He lamented that the South-East was the only region in the South that was yet to enjoy the Presidency.
Onu said, “The South-West has eight years as President, eight years as Vice President. The South-South has also enjoined the position of VP and President. Where is the justice? We need to do what is right.”
Amaechi, on his part urged delegates of the APC to look beyond money when assessing the presidential aspirants.
He said, “Please delegates, assess us by our contributions, don’t assess us by how much we bring here. Because if it is by how much we bring here, ask all of us for our source of income, how we got the money.”
A former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, urged the delegate to consider their conscience so as to put an end to their sufferings.
He said, “I want to say to you my delegates that the hour is come, the die is cast. You must search your conscience, if possible make phone calls to your families and ask them what must I do with the vote that I have, lest you go back again wallowing in hunger and poverty which has left you in perpetual suffering.”
Also, a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, refused to step down, insisting that he was the best candidate.
Contrary to the stand of northern governors, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan – did not step down.