Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Ahead of his declaration for presidency in 2023, which is likely expected this week, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will meet with the 22 governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the aegis of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) in Abuja today.
The meeting, THISDAY learnt, is part of his consultations with critical stakeholders ahead of his declaration to contest for the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the ruling APC, which he is expected to announce this week.
This is coming as the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, yesterday declared his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the APC.
Presidency sources told THISDAY that Osinbajo’s meeting with the APC governors would hold at the Akinola Aguda official residence of the Vice President located within the precincts of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting billed for 7p.m. will also serve as fast breaking for the governors as adherents of Christianity and Islam, the two major religions, are currently observing fasting as prescribed in the Holy Books.
THISDAY learnt that the vice president would use the forum to intimate the APC governors led by Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State of his intention to contest for the APC’s presidential ticket in the forthcoming presidential primaries of the party.
According to the sources, the meeting with the governors is a continuation of series of consultations being held by Osinbajo with critical stakeholders in the ruling party about his desire to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2023.
The presidency sources also told THISDAY that all is set for the vice president to publicly declare his intention to contest for the APC ticket this week.
THISDAY gathered that the ceremony will take place in Abuja with governors, federal and state legislators, ministers and other APC top shots already invited for the grand ceremony which may take place either on Monday or Tuesday.
Amaechi Declares for Presidency, Vows to Fight Insecurity, Promote Country’s Unity, Stability
Meanwhile, after months of speculations over his political ambition, the Minister of Transportation, Amaechi yesterday declared his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Amaechi, who made the declaration in what was initially tagged a “thanksgiving service” at the sprawling Adokie Amesiemieka Sports Stadium at Igwuruta area of Rivers State, vowed to fight insecurity and promote the stability and unity of the country if elected president in 2023.
In his speech titled: ‘Forward with Courage,’ delivered at the special thanksgiving organised by the APC in Rivers State, the presidential aspirant said he arrived at the decision to contest for the highest level of leadership in the country after intensive consultations.
Amaechi noted that he has served the country for about 23 years in different capacities, ranging from being a Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Governor of the state and presently, Minister of Transportation.
He said he is enriched with the governance system and understands the meaning of good leadership, adding that he would contribute to the development of the nation.
Amaechi acknowledged that the insecurity and other challenges facing Nigeria may be global problem, and vowed to tackle these challenges.
He noted that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done well in building a better Nigeria, and promised to do more by improving the economy of the nation and complementing on the existing projects of the federal government.
The minister said that his aspiration is not about fulfilling any personal ambition but a moral duty to serve the country.
“I stand before you today to declare my intention and submit my application to serve as your next president. My aspiration is not about fulfilling any personal ambition. I am contesting for the office because I believe that it is my moral duty to give what I can in the service of my country.
“To sustain and intensify present efforts at solving our national problems, our democracy must ensure the emergence of a leadership that is equipped with broad experience in governance to ensure stability and continuity. To sustain our democracy and preserve our unity, we need a steady hand and a passion for success in a nation that remains united to pursue prosperity for all Nigerians.
“It is this combination of experience and patriotic passion that I bring to the table. I have been in the political arena for 23 years. I have served at every level of government – local, state, and federal. I have served both as a political appointee and an elected official. I have served both as an executive – as Governor of Rivers State and as a legislator – as Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
“The current administration under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has planted many such trees in Nigeria’s future. We have invested billions in infrastructure, human capital development and made reforms that will pay off over time in terms of socio-economic growth and stability. We have invested heavily in projects and initiatives that will secure a brighter, better future for Nigeria.
“Today, I stand as an aspirant to the position of President because of that same passion for people; that same drive for results. More than ever before, I am burning with the zeal to make a decisive difference in the lives of all Nigerians.
“I pledge my heart, mind and soul to the task of building a Nigeria in which every child can go to school, every young person can find work or support to start a business, every citizen can travel safely around the country and sleep at night knowing that law and order prevails and every Nigerian feels included, heard, and respected.
“I have never been the type who folds his arms and complains about inadequacies I see around me. I have always jumped in with both feet to do whatever I can to help, to try and bring relief to those suffering, to work to make things right where I see wrong. If you elect me as your President, I promise to play my part to the best of my ability. Every day I will rise and go to work for you. I will never forget the fact that I am there to serve you,” the minister explained.
In their various goodwill messages, a former National Chairman of APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole; Chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Hon. Simon Lalong; Deputy Speaker of House of Representative, Hon. Idris Wase; federal ministers and other leaders of the ruling party at the event lauded the minister for taking the step to run for presidency.
Speaking earlier, Lalong said that the North was very comfortable with Amaechi, adding that he was shocked to see the crowd that attended the event, having been told that there was no APC in Rivers State.
On his part, Oshiomhole commended Amaechi for the unity and reconciliation in Rivers APC, and called for stronger bond among party members.
Oshiomhole said: “Let me appreciate the man who has invited us for the thanksgiving and for the reconciliation of the party in the state. I want to appreciate the Minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi, who has extended his invitation.
“I am excited that we have united our party in Rivers State. I am here to witness the unity of APC in Rivers State. May God help us to uphold this unity, and service and remove bitterness in every heart and position us for victory,” the former Edo State governor said.