President Muhammadu Buhari with the seven Northern governors

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with seven northern governors behind closed-doors at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The governors who met the President were Abubakar Bello (Niger); Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna); Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa) and Simon Lalong (Plateau State).

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Ganduje of Kano State claimed that the coming together of the seven governors was coincidence and not for any purpose.

Ganduje said, “We are seven in number here but we came separately not for any purpose but after the Friday prayers, we decided to say hello to Mr. President. Is just coincidence that we met in the Mosque and some joined us later and we decided to go to greet him.” When asked on the best way forward of resolving the Fulani herdsmen crisis with farmers in the country, the governor said,

“The President met with stakeholders from the affected states and I think a suggestion has been put forward by the Minister of Agriculture concerning the colony and I think eventually that is the answer.”

But Governor El-Rufai interjected when Ganduje was asked his response if people insinuate that the meeting was all about 2019, saying they wanted Buhari to contest the 2019 presidential election.

El-Rufai said, “We are politicians and those of us you see here want the President to contest the 2019 election, we have no apologies for that. We believe in Mr. President we want him to continue running the country in the right direction. People can speculate about 2019 we have no apologies.”

On whether those speculating that the meeting was about the election were right, he said, “Whether they are right or wrong is besides the point. Everybody is entitled to its own opinion but as governors, and most of us here with the exception of Yobe Governor are first time governors, we are interested in the continuity and stability and we want the president to continue with that.

“Like our leader the governor of Kano said, we just happen to be here by coincidence and we went to pray and decided to felicitate with the President and we feel satisfied that anytime we see him, he is getting better and better.”