The ruling All Progressives Congress presidential aspirants from the South-West are expected to hold a final meeting in Abuja today (Saturday) to decide on the way forward.
The seven presidential aspirants from the South-West are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Ajayi Boroffice; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and fiery Lagos cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Also expected at the meeting are governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo). Some ministers of South-West extraction are also expected to attend the parley.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the meeting would hold at the Abuja home of a former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, around 8pm.
Impeccable sources told our correspondent that the discussion would border on South-West unity and reach a possible consensus.
One of the aspirants, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “We will all be meeting at Chief Osoba’s home by 8pm in Abuja. Everyone is expected to be present. We will all sit together and discuss the need to ensure that the South-West gets the ticket.
“However, all of us will be asked to be truthful with one another and see who among us has the best chance of winning the primary. Then if anyone is willing to step down to boost the chances of the South-West, then this will be encouraged.”
Saturday PUNCH gathered on Friday that intense lobbying by some northern governors to ensure that the APC gives its presidential ticket to a northerner had unsettled the South-West bloc of the party.
This was said to have caused Tinubu’s outburst at a meeting with Ogun State delegates on Thursday, where he insisted that the APC must give its ticket to a Yoruba man and that he must be the favoured candidate.
Okorocha, Ohaneye, Onu, other S’East aspirants in closed-door meeting
Presidential aspirants from the South-East had an emergency meeting on Friday to deliberate on a consensus aspirant for the region.
The frontline aspirants from the region are Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; a former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; the only APC female in the race, Mrs Uju Ken-Ohanenye; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; former Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; and Ikeobasi Mokelu.
Although their last meeting took place at the Maitama home of Okorocha days before his house was raided by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the venue of their Friday meeting was unknown.
A source had told The PUNCH that just as the South-West leaders, the Igbo aspirants had resolved to consider throwing their weight behind one of their own ahead of the convention. The source disclosed that all the presidential hopefuls in the region were meeting almost on a daily basis.