Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State has stepped down for the National Leader and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
He announced this during while giving his remarks at the ongoing national convention of the party.
“I am from the North and we are taught to honour agreements. I align with the resolution of my colleagues that power should shift to the South. I support our father, Tinubu,” he said.
Earlier, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; and Senator Godswill Akpabio stepped down for Tinubu.
Selected members of APC have gathered to vote on Tuesday in key primaries to choose a candidate for next year’s election to replace the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
More than 2,300 APC delegates will select a candidate to face 75-year-old Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party among others in the February 25 presidential ballot.
Buhari, who is stepping down after the two terms he is allowed in the constitution, arrived at the Eagle Square convention centre early in the evening before voting was to start.
The Nigerian leader has spent the days leading up to the convention in negotiations with the APC’s leaders seeking unity over a party candidate.
“The fate of the party depends on what we do here,” APC party chairman Abdullahi Adamu said, echoing Buhari’s call for unity in the ranks.
“We cannot go into the general election next year without putting our house together.”
Part of the APC’s debate over candidates relates to “zoning” – an unofficial agreement among political elites that Nigeria’s presidency should rotate between those from the predominantly Christian south and those from the largely Muslim north.
After northern Buhari, observers expected the presidency to go to a candidate from the south.
But the PDP – which held its primary on May 28 and 29 – chose Abubakar, a former vice president and a political stalwart who is a northern Muslim.
The opposition’s choice to ignore “zoning” has made the APC reconsider how their candidate will appeal to the north, where voter numbers and participation are traditionally higher.
Buhari, who is the leader of the ruling party, has not declared support for any candidate and instructed APC members to “allow the delegates to decide.”
“Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections,” he said last week.
Heavy security was deployed in central Abuja early Tuesday and streets were gridlocked as hundreds of APC supporters wearing the party colours of green, white and red gathered in and around the venue.