Seven governors from the All Progressives Congress have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election and get more time “to keep running the country in the right direction”.
Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Abubakar Bello of Niger State, Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa State and Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State declared their support for the President when they visited him in Abuja on Friday.
El-Rufai told journalists that their decision was influenced by their interest in continuity and policy stability.
“We are politicians and those of us that you see here want the President to contest for a second term of office. So, everything is about 2019; there is no hiding that. We have no apologies for that,” he said after they – with the exception of Lalong – attended the Jumaat service with President Buhari.
“We believe in the President, we want him to keep running the country in the right direction. So, people can speculate about 2019; we have no apologies.”
El-Rufai who said everyone is entitled to his opinion, added, “Most of us here, except the Governor of Yobe, are first-time governors. We are interested in continuity and policy stability, and we want the President to continue.”
The governors were also excited to find the President in good health after the health challenges he faced in 2017.
“We just happened to be here for prayers and we went to pay our respects to the President and feel gratified that anytime we see him, he is getting better and better,” the Kaduna State governor added.
Meanwhile, the governor once again defended the decision of his administration to fire more than 21,000 teachers in Kaduna State for failing a controversial competency test.
The controversial decision has attracted heavy criticism and the Nigerian Union of Teachers in the state along with the Nigeria Labour Congress held a protest in the state on Thursday to condemn the move.
But the governor is adamant that the state government will not succumb to pressure.
In an appearance on Channels Television’s News At 10 on Thursday, hours after the protest, El-Rufai said no amount of protest will make the government change its decision.
He restated the position at the Presidential Villa on Friday.