Paul Orude, Bauchi

Former Minister of Police Affairs Dr Yakubu Ibrahim Lame has denied a report that he is among prominent northern leaders and intellectuals shopping for a replacement for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 General Elections.

Lame, a leader in the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, was responding to a report in Saturday Sun dated April 28, 2018, titled Ex-Generals, Governors, ministers regroup for 2019 battle: Seek Gowon, OBJ, IBB, Abdulsalam’s help, in which one of the prominent members of the group, Tanko Yakassai, was quoted as saying the move to replace Buhari in 2019 was to save democracy.

Speaking however with Daily Sun at his residence in Bauchi over the weekend, Lame acknowledged that he was part of a meeting of some prominent leaders from the north, but denied that the agenda was to shop for another candidate other than the President.

“I am surprised that this is what has been reported. This group I know it exists, I attended their first meeting. But in that meeting the issue of replacing the current president was never the agenda, it was never brought as an agenda,” Lame explained.

The former minister, who was recently appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) by President Buhari, stated that since attending that meeting he had never attended any other meetings held by the group.

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“Therefore, I want to disassociate myself from that agenda. I am not part of that agenda. I believe in the leadership of my party and will also work within the framework of my party to make sure a credible president is produced, and we have not discussed any alternative to Buhari as far as I am concern,” he said.

Lame said that the APC is in the process of producing a candidate for 2019, adding that so far one candidate has already indicated his intention: President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I believe many more may indicate their interest. So, as far as I am concerned, I am with the programme of my party and I will respect the decision of my party,” he indicated.

“I am not dissociating myself from participating in the first meeting which was of like minds; but that meeting never discussed the issue of replacing then current leadership of APC. Maybe in subsequent meetings…

Lame went on to clarify that he “did not attend any other meeting apart from the first one. Many intellectuals from the north attended, and there are people who I can vividly remember whose names are not here (in the newspaper) like Professor Yadudu; so, I hope that this issue will be corrected.”