Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, says there is no automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Okorocha said this while speaking with state house correspondents after meeting with the president on Thursday.
Okorocha, who is chairman of the Progressives governors’ forum, an association of governors under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said all the candidates interested in the 2019 election must pass through democratic process.
Okorocha said he also discussed the deplorable state of road infrastructure in the region with the president, stating that South-east is in dire need of good roads but expressed hopes that the situation would improve in view of the assurance by the federal government to tackle the challenge.
“He has every right and qualification to re-contest, there is nothing wrong at all. But, we don’t allow imposition of candidates. It must be democratically done,” he said.
“If President Buhari will lead the ship in 2019, it must be democratically done, and I said, democratically done, transparently (done) to the amazement of the whole world, the way we do our things in APC and people will be happy.”
Okorocha said the president would soon visit some states in the south-east.
“The south-east, before now was not measuring in APC, but we have worked out strategies and modalities on how to improve relationship between the people of south-east and APC government and that was top of the agenda and the need for Mr President to come to south-eEast as quickly as possible, to begin to show his presence.
“Luckily, the president will be coming to Ebonyi state, very soon, and he will pass through Imo state to Anambra state.
“So, covering three states within this short time will be right step in the right direction, because we have come to realise in the south-east that we are better off in APC than any other party in the federal republic of Nigeria.”
Although Buhari has not spoken publicly about whether he would run or not, there are signs that the president has interest in the 2019 election.
Last week, the nation’s number one citizen hosted members of the Buhari Support Group (BSG) at the presidential villa.
At the end of the meeting, Abu Ibrahim, leader of BSG, said 189 groups had endorsed Buhari for 2019.
Ahmad Lawan, majority leader of the senate, who was also in the BSG delegation, said Buhari had no choice than to run in 2019.
Earlier in the week when the ruling party held its national executive council (NEC) meeting, some governors reportedly made attempt to secure an automatic ticket for the president but they did not succeed.