Leaders from the South West are making frantic efforts to come up with a consensus candidate among presidential aspirants from the zone in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was gathered that the elders feared that failure to reach a consensus might deny the zone the opportunity to have a shot at the presidency in 2023.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently elected former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its flagbearer for the general election.
Daily Trust gathered that the leaders championing the consensus move, former APC Chairman Chief Bisi Akande and former Ogun State Governor Olusegun Osoba, have spoken with some of the aspirants and their backers to seek for a common ground to reach an agreement ahead of the party’s presidential primary slated for June 6-8 in Abuja.
The duo had earlier met with the aspirants in Lagos, where it was agreed that they should conduct their electioneering campaigns in an amicable manner, devoid of hostility and rancour.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, are the presidential aspirants from the South West.
Others are former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, senator representing Ondo North Senatorial district, Robert Ajayi Boroffice and Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Nigeria, Pastor Tunde Bakare
It was learnt that either Tinubu or Osinbajo may emerge as the consensus candidate if the leaders were able to push through the move.
An informed source hinted that some aspirants are expected to withdraw from the race in the coming days as well as on the day of the convention.
The convener, Progressives Lawyers for Osinbajo, Kayode Ajulo, who said the consensus arrangement is still possible, added that Osinbajo is the ‘national consensus candidate’.
While applauding Chief Osoba for reaching out to stakeholders and promising fairness in the process, Ajulo claimed that Osinbajo as the VP is entitled to the offer of first refusal in accordance with parties’ conventions all over the world.
“In politics, most things are possible, particularly if backed by the law. If you check our constitution and electoral act, it allows for consensus,” he said.
One of the aides of Tinubu, however, said the former Lagos State governor is confident of picking the ticket of the party in a free and fair contest.
The aide, who does not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said his principal is the most experienced among the aspirants.
The Chief Press Secretary of Fayemi, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, however, said he could not speak for his boss concerning the consensus arrangement.
Efforts to get the reaction of Chief Akande, Aremo Osoba as well as Senator Dayo Adeyeye, the national chairman of SWAGA, were unsuccessful last night as calls and messages sent to their phone numbers got no response as of the time of filing this report.