President Muhammadu Buhari has told those in the running to be succeed him next year in the All Progressives Congress (APC), to go to the field and sell themselves to the electorate.
Punch reports that Buhari did not ask any of those who consulted him to either run or drop their ambitions.
The aspirants include Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi; Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello; a businessman, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; a former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha; and Ihechukwu Dallas Chima.
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, is expected to declare his aspiration at the end of the ongoing Ramadan.
The Presidency source said though Buhari spoke differently to the aspirants when they met with him, it would be difficult for any of them to claim to have got the President’s endorsement.
The source said, “I think the President was being careful when he met with each of them on their presidential aspirations. He specifically told them to be careful in their campaigns.
“He also asked them to go ahead with their campaigns and that he would be watching them from afar. Besides that, he asked them if they were popular enough to win and if they felt they could deliver the presidency to the ruling party. As expected, all of them answered in the affirmative.
“The President also interrogated them on their programmes and if they equally believed in his administration or not.”
Asked what some of the aspirants told the President, the source said, “All they said was that they wanted to contest the presidency on the platform of the APC and that they would need his support. They did not ask for his permission.
“But I think only one of them actually sought his permission and asked if he should join the race. I will not reveal the name of the candidate so that you do not think that is the man the President will support.”