President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown his weight behind the return of power to the South in 2023.
The president made his stance known during a dinner with the presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Presidential Villa on Saturday.
11 APC Northern governors had urged the presidential aspirants from the Northern region to step down for their Southern counterparts.
In a statement released on Saturday, the governors backed Southern Presidency, saying that it was in national interest.
The statement read: “APC governors and political leaders from the northern states of Nigeria today met to review the political situation and to further support our Party in providing progressive leadership amidst our national challenges.
“During our discussions, we welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari’s invitation to governors and other stakeholders to contribute to the emergence of a strong presidential candidate for the APC.
“After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.
“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in anyway affected by the decisions taken by another political party.
“We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country.
“We therefore wish to strongly recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari that the search for a successor as the APC’s presidential candidate be limited to our compatriots from the southern states.
“We appeal to all aspirants from the northern states to withdraw in the national interest and allow only the aspirants from the south to proceed to the primaries.
“We are delighted by the decision of our esteemed colleague, His Excellency, Governor Abubakar Badaru to contribute to this patriotic quest by withdrawing his presidential aspiration.
“The APC has a duty to ensure that the 2023 elections offer a nation-building moment, reaffirming that a democratic pathway to power exists for all who value cooperation and build national platforms.
“This moment calls for the most sober and inclusive approach to selecting our party’s candidate, and we call on all APC leaders to fulfil their responsibility in this regard.”