The Presidency has released a statement giving reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari did not seek support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates during the party’s rally held in Owerri, Imo State, on Tuesday.
Backstory: In Imo, the president had asked voters to support candidates of their choice, a statement that was interpreted by some to mean he was not keen on backing APC candidates. That impression has now been debunked by the presidency. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, told journalists that in a mixed crowd, as was present at Owerri, the Imo State capital, the President could not seek support for the APC candidates alone but must talk about all the parties.
Shehu noted that this did not mean that the President did not want APC candidates to win elections in Imo State, adding that Buhari is strongly behind his party’s candidates.
“The massive crowd that gathered to welcome President Buhari in Imo State was made up of not only supporters of the APC in the state, but also supporters of other parties who are united by their love for the President and their desire to see him re-elected, despite the local candidates they support,” Shehu said.
He added that due to the circumstances the President found himself in while campaigning at Imo State, he could only advise the people to vote according to their conscience.
“While President Buhari is fully behind the APC, he welcomes endorsements from those who do not belong to the ruling party but is also sensitive to their support for non-APC candidates at the local level. It would have been insensitive of him to offend his non-APC supporters by ignoring their local affiliations,” Shehu said.
Shehu further stated that Buhari showed his preference when he presented Senator Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate in Imo State, at the rally.
“President Buhari is for the APC in every state and there is no doubt about that, despite the immense cross-party support he is enjoying,” he said.