Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the south-west say the party’s 2019 presidential ticket is open to all members.
President Muhammadu Buhari received strong support from the south-west in the 2015 election.
There have been rumours that Buhari may seek re-election, but he has not said he would.
Speaking at the end of a stakeholders’ meeting in Agodi government house, Ibadan, on Thursday evening, Bisi Akande, former interim national chairman of the APC, said anybody in the APC was free to be the standard bearer of the party in the 2019 presidential election.
“We are happy that our governors and ministers are performing satisfactorily. As a party, we are trying to review our position to see what we are going to do to have Ekiti back for APC in 2018,” he said on behalf of the group.
Regarding Buhari’s rumoured re-election bid, Akande said: “He has not told us he is running for 2019. Anybody in our party is free to become the president of Nigeria as long as he indicates interest.”
“We have a process through which a candidate will be selected. If he is lucky to have the ticket, then we have no option than to present him as our candidate.”
Some of the south-west APC leaders who attended the meeting include the host governor; Abiola Ajimobi, Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), former governors; Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Adeniyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), who is serving as minister for solid minerals, Adebayo Shittu, communications minister; a Claudius Daramola, minister of state for Niger Delta; Olusola Adeyeye; Yusuf Lasun, deputy speaker house of representatives, and Femi Gbajabiamila, majority leader of the house of representatives.
Bola Tinubu, APC national leader, did not attend the meeting.
Akande said Tinubu was absent from the event because he had a stomach ache.
Tunde Rahman, Tinubu’s special adviser on media, told journalists that though his principal was absent from the event, he was in agreement with any decision taken by the party’s leaders.
“He (Tinubu) considered it wise to stay back in Lagos to attend to the ache and he is part and parcel of decisions going on at the meeting,” he said.