The Nigerian presidency says, the reasons President Muhammadu Buhari told voters in Imo state to vote for their choice in the next month election was because of the mixed crowed that were present at the venue of the campaign rally.
President Buhari had told a large gathering of his supporters to vote according to their conscience during the coming election at a rally organised by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Owerri on Wednesday.
However, there had been some reaction form the public following the President statement.
The rally was attended by supporters of Uche Nwosu, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) believed to be the preferred candidate of Governor Rochas Okorocha who is still a member of APC.
Okorocha is currently battling with the leadership of the party following his recent suspension for allegedly engaging in anti party activities.
Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesperson while addressing newsmen after the rally dismissed the insinuations that President Buhari did not show full support for the APC while campaigning in the state which has generated a lot of concerns among the public.
“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,” Mr Shehu said in a statement signed by head of information at the Presidential Villa, Atta Esa.
He explained that Mr Buhari’s consciousness of this “obviously-mixed crowd” was the reason why he did not speak only about support for the APC during the campaign, but also encouraged the people to vote according to their consciences.
According to the presidential spokesperson, “While President Buhari is fully behind 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.”
Mr Shehu said Mr Buhari’s open endorsement of Hope Uzodinma, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, is confirmed after the President raised the Senator’s hand high before the crowd at the campaign rally.
“President Buhari is for the APC in every state and there is no doubt about that, despite his immense cross-party support,” he said.