Presidential hopefuls of south-east extraction on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Sunday, held a meeting behind closed doors in Abuja.
The meeting held at the Abuja residence of Rochas Okorocha, senator representing Imo west.
Among persons present at the meeting were Okorocha; Ogbonnaya Onu, former minister of science and technology; Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education; Ken Nnamani, a former president of the senate; and Uju Ken-Ohanenye, a female aspirant.
David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi and presidential hopeful, who was scheduled to attend the meeting, was absent.
Nnamani, who read a communique issued on behalf of the aspirants, said presidential hopefuls from the region will support any Igbo candidate who gets the APC ticket and the support of Nigerians.
“The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the All Progressives Congress and its national working committee, as well as the teeming members of the party, are commended by the entire people of the south-east on their avowed commitment to the unity of Nigeria and the inclusion of all parts of Nigeria in the general architecture of the nation,” he said.
“We commend all Nigerians who are committed to the Nigerian project by the wholehearted support of the aspiration of the south-east to produce the next Nigerian president in 2023.
“In furtherance of these commitments, all aspirants herein commit to align with any of our south-east aspirants that is accepted by and chosen by other Nigerians to fly the flag of the APC.”
Meanwhile, the meeting comes days after the ‘Greater Nigeria Conference’ organised by the Nzuko Nmunna, an Igbo think-tank.
The focus of discussions at the conference, which held in April 2022, was on the need for a candidate from the south-east to become the next president.
The Sunday meeting also comes days after south-west APC stakeholders held a meeting, which included presidential aspirants from the region.
The south-west APC meeting was said to have been organised to forge a path for the region to secure the party’s presidential ticket.
There had also been talks of the possibility of a consensus south-west candidate after the meeting.
However, after the meeting — which was attended by presidential hopefuls including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor, and Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti governor — it was agreed that all aspirants from the region have the right to contest the presidency.
Bisi Akande, former interim of the APC, also cautioned the south-west presidential aspirants against name-calling.