APC Governors are backing Buhari for re-election in 2019. The game is now officially on.
During the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC on Tuesday, October 31, the Governors made it clear Buhari will get an automatic ticket if he only asks for one.
“The future of this country as we are now, is associated with one person who is impeccable, who has the greatest amount of integrity that you can find in any human being around. So, your guess is as good as mine”, said Nasarawa State Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura.
Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu was unequivocal in his submission. The 2019 APC presidential ticket, he says, is Buhari’s to lose.
“I think for APC members, it is a democratic party, but the performance of the president in the last two years suggests that if he wants to contest, I will certainly support him and I know that our party members feel the same about him”, said Bagudu.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong spoke in a similar vein.
“Concerning the issue of a sole ticket for Mr. Presdent, I want to say that if Mr. President is performing, well respected and carrying everyone along, all of us have resolved that we ‘ll work for him.
“Do we have any other person that will challenge the president again? Whatever you call it, as far as we are concerned, we have one president and that is the ticket we’ll fly”, said Lalong.
Most Governors present at the meeting, expressed similar sentiments.
During the meeting, someone even moved an informal motion seeking to hand Buhari an automatic ticket in 2019, but the NEC (the second highest decision making body of the APC after the national convention) deferred the motion.
Presidency sources have told Pulse in the past that barring a last minute change of heart, Buhari will seek re-election come the spring of 2019.
Pulse has also been told that the president is setting out his stall rather nicely for another presidential contest, in spite of his advanced age and faltering health.
There have been a few charm offensives from Aso Rock in the last couple of months.
The president’s admirers and supporters have cited his improving health as reason why he should hurl his hat into another electioneering ring one last time.
Buhari has also been implementing some deft political moves of late. He’s fired persons indicted of corruption and has been holding separate meetings with APC chieftains, the most notable being former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu.
The president has also been courting Governors and lawmakers at various meetings, before this week's NEC.
APC chieftains like former interim chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, had said the 2019 APC presidential ticket will be open to everyone and that the president won't be handed an automatic ticket. But this stance appears to have been overtaken by events.
The president's aides and party members have also been trumpeting the administration's achievements at every opportunity--an indication that all pro-Buhari groups have been asked to keep their gaze on the ballot and ramp up the rhetoric.
The president has noticeably not ruled himself out of a re-election contest; even as the debate over whether he should run or not, continues to dominate the news cycle.