Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that the party would not issue an automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
He said the party would follow the rules and regulations guiding its constitution in choosing the candidate ahead of the general elections.
Mr. Tinubu spoke on Wednesday during a private visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Mr. Fasoranti, the foremost national leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, had parted ways with Mr. Tinubu in 2013.
Our correspondent reported that Mr. Tinubu was accompanied during the visit by Bisi Akande, the erstwhile Interim National Chairman of the APC.
The APC national leader was received by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, at the tarmac of the Akure local airport.
Speaking, Mr. Tinubu said the opinion of one particular individual would not hold water in choosing the party’s flag-bearer ahead of the 2019 general elections, stressing that the ruling party has yet to issue an automatic ticket to anyone, including President Buhari.
The APC national leader was reacting to words credited to the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who reportedly said, “there is no other alternative to President Buhari.”
Mr. Okorocha had spoken while addressing leaders of the Democratic Youths Congress for Buhari 2019, who paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday.
According to Mr. Tinubu, only the National Executive Council (NEC) of the APC can unanimously decide to have a consensus candidate.
“No governor can appropriate the power of endorsement to themselves because President Muhammadu Buhari himself believes in due process and rule of law,” Mr. Tinubu said. “The President Buhari that I know will want a normal process, and who says that he will lose at any of the party’s conventions?
“But, if the national body (NEC) and all of us as members endorsed him as our single candidate, we will not be violating any rules and regulations of the INEC.”
The APC national leader explained that if President Buhari’s ambition is to seek a second term in office, it would not affect any other aspirants seeking to fly the party’s flag in the 2019 presidential race.