The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken another dimension as major presidential aspirants who contested against the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Wednesday snubbed a well publicised reconciliation meeting slated for Abuja.
Tinubu had defeated former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and 12 others to clinch the sole ticket.
He polled 1,271 votes to emerge victorious at the end of the Special National Convention of the party on Wednesday in Abuja.
The race for the presidential flag bearer started with 23 aspirants, but nine withdrew shortly before the commencement of voting at the convention.
Wednesday cancelled meeting, according to the convener and one of the presidential aspirants, Dr. Nicolas Felix, was meant to bring all the stakeholders on board, brainstorm and “adopting winning campaign strategies that seek to carry every Nigerian along in our bid to coast home to victory ahead of the 2023 general elections.”
Among those invited for the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
There were also five serving governors, namely Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).
Others were Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun State governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun; a serving senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; fiery cleric, Tunde Bakare; Pastor and Businessman, Dr. Nicolas Felix; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; Businessman, Tein Jack-Rich and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
Although, the organiser claimed that the meeting was postponed without given reason for the postponement.
A statement issued by one of the aspirants and convener of the aborted roundtable, Dr. Nicolas Felix, said a new date will be communicated soon.
The statement read, “Please be informed that the strategic meeting of 2023 Presidential Aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scheduled to hold on Wednesday the 31st of August has be postponed.
“A new date for the meeting will be communicated soon. Apologies for any inconvenience(s) that this might cause.”
A source closed to one of the aspirants, however told newsmen that most of the key presidential aspirants invited for the meeting did not show interest.
According to the party chieftain, a particular aspirant from the North did not even acknowledge the invitation letter sent to him.
The source said: “It seems some of these aspirants are yet to come to terms with our presidential candidate because some of them are not seen to be rallying the needed support for the party yet.
“All of them are well informed about this meeting. The organisers even even statement twice to remind them but some did not show interest at all. I can tell you that only 9 of them were ready to attend these nine aspirants are among the heavyweights we expected to show up,” the source revealed.
A statement from the office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, indicated that he had departed Abuja for the United States of America early Wednesday morning, seeking global partnerships and support for Nigeria’s recently launched Energy Transition Plan.
According to a statement by Osinbajo’s media aide, Laolu Akande, he said the ETWG, which is chaired by the VP comprises relevant ministers and other top government officials.
Another party man, who pleaded anonymity revealed to Blueprint that various meetings with opposition leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is another reason the like of former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, stayed away from the much-talked strategic meeting.
According to the source, the Minister, who came second at the presidential primary election, “felt slighted that Tinubu and his men were making overtures to the Rivers state governor Nysome Wike.”