The leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Wednesday, held a meeting with governors on the party platform and leadership of the National Assembly.
Majority of the governors stayed away.
None of the governors from the South-West was in attendance at the meeting.
The Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, was represented by his deputy, Honourable Agboola Ajayi.
In attendance were seven governors and four deputy governors.
The list of those in attendance included Imo State governor and chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha; his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar.
Others were Governors Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Abdullahi Jibrilla Bindow (Adamawa), as well as the deputy governors of Ondo, Kano, Kogi and Nasarawa states.
Speaking with newsmen at the end of the meeting, Governor Abubakar of Bauchi State, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the governors were busy with the day-to-day administration of their states.
“There is no communication gap. Two other deputy governors sent words that their flights were cancelled because of weather problem.
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“The same thing applied to the governor of Sokoto State who sent words that his flight was cancelled due to difficulty in weather.
“So, there is no communication gap whatsoever. In the past, the governors have been attending. Governors are very busy and it is always very difficult for us to have time to be on the field in addition to running our states,” he said.
When asked by reporters for the governors’ position on recent remarks by former interim chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, that the APC 2019 presidential ticket was open to all aspirants, Governor Abubakar said it was not discussed at the meeting.
“This meeting has not deliberated on that but the APC has a constitution and that is one of the items that was discussed. We talked on the amendment of the constitution of the APC. We will abide by the provision of our constitution,” he said.
The Bauchi governor further revealed that the meeting also ratified October 31 date earlier chosen by the National Working Committee for the conduct of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
The party, in its first official response to the statement attributed to the President of the World Bank, Jim Young Kim, said President Muhammadu Buhari only made case for the North-east as a result of the devastation the zone suffered from attacks by the terror group, Boko Haram.
The party’s national publicity secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, assured
Nigerians that President Buhari had no preference for any region or geopolitical zone in the country.
“You will recall that a few days ago, there was an issue in the media that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the World Bank to focus attention on the North of Nigeria.
“The issue came up for discussion and the entire meeting threw its weight behind the president’s position and we will like to clarify in addition to everything that has been said that the import of his statement to the World Bank is in recognition of the particular devastation that Boko Haram has caused in the North-East of Nigeria.
“Therefore, when President Buhari was asking the World Bank to focus attention on the development of the North-East, he had in mind the necessary reconstruction that needed to happen in that part of the country, especially in the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa axes that have suffered specifically because of the Boko Haram activities.
“It was not a statement meant to bifurcate the country or give special preference to any section of the country against the other. “So, the APC throws its weight completely behind the president’s decision and we believe that as long as the North-East of Nigeria continue to suffer the devastation that it has suffered, and continue to represent a very dark spot in human development indices for Nigeria, there is a need to direct special attention to that part of the country,” he said.