President Muhammadu Buhari has told Northern APC governors that he has not endorsed any of the 23 aspirants seeking to be the presidential candidate of the APC, an official has said.

Garba Shehu, Mr Buhari’s media adviser, said in a statement that the president has “no preferred candidate,” and has “anointed no one,” as the presidential candidate of the governing APC.

Mr Shehu said the president had a clear mind and was determined to ensure that “there shall be no imposition of any candidate on the party.”

The statement quoted Mr Buhari as saying: “You were elected as I was. Have a clear mind as I have. God gave us the chance; we have no reason to complain. We must be ready to take pain as we take the joy. Allow the delegates to decide. The Party must participate, nobody will appoint anybody,”

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Plateau State Goverbor, Simon Lalong, disclosed that the president directed governors of APC-controlled states to meet with the National Working Committee of the party, to fine-tune modalities for the selection of the presidential flag bearer of APC.

“The president told us that for the APC presidential primaries, he has no anointed candidate and therefore directed that the Progressive Governors’ Forum meet with the National Working Committee of the party to agree and proffer further solutions and recommendations for his successor.

“And based on his directive, the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum has summoned a meeting for 5:00 (local time) today, after which we will make further suggestions to the President,” Mr Lalong added.

The Plateau governor added that the governors were at the Presidential Villa to apologise to the president because they met at the weekend and took a position to support the power shift to the southern part of the country in the spirit of fairness but before they could convey their position to the president, the matter got leaked.

“For emphasis, those of you who read it, I have a copy of what we wrote, which was already out of press, and I said we wrote it and we stand by it; that in the interest of unity, in the interests of peace, we recommended that and also justice, our recommendation is that the next president should come from the south.

“I told you that the president believes in democratic process, but even during democratic process, there are consultations, there is consensus, and it is also part of democratic process. Even our constitution provides for that; it says consensus and then election, either direct or indirect.

“So, what we’re doing is part of the build-up towards the election. What we’re also saying is recommendation as we think that will bring out a very peaceful process,” Mr Lalong said.

Also speaking, the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, said the stance of the northern PDP governors that power should shift to the south was for fairness.