Seven All Progressives Congress (APC) governors have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election in 2019.
Those present at the meeting are Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Abubakar Bello of Niger states.
Others are Simon Lalong of Plateau, Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe and Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa states.
All the governors, except Mr. Lalong, attended the Friday Muslim prayers with the president at the villa. They later had lunch together.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Mr. El-Rufai said they were at the villa because they were “politicians”.
“Those of us you see here want the president to contest the 2019 election; we have no apologies for that,” he said.
“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.”
Mr. El-Rufai said the governors, mostly first termers, were interested in “continuity and stability”.
“We want the president to continue with that,” he said.
Mr. El-Rufai said they were at the state house “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,” he said.
On the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, over his decision to sack teachers, Mr. El-Rufai said there is no going back.
He said the government’s decision is “a well thought out position”.
“We took one and half years before we made the decision and we will not change it,” he said.
On the clash between labour leaders and security agencies on Thursday, Mr. El-Rufai said he did not ask the police to stop the workers, saying “I was not even in Kaduna”.
“The right to protest is guaranteed in the constitution providing you don’t go violent and you don’t violate any laws,” he said.
He however said there was concern over the volatile security situation in the country.
“And the last time they did such a thing they attacked the State House of Assembly, the legislature, for which they have filed criminal charges. So this is the concern, the concern is break down of law and order and not protest or strike,” he said. “They are free to do so but it will not change our position.”
Mr. El-Rufai said his government had already announced its decision to pay three months severance package to sacked teachers in line with the public service rule.
He also said a provision was made for those retiring to go through retirement training.
“Those that are interested in farming we have reserved land available and for those that want to go into trade, we have micro credit to support them but they are not suitable as teachers. They can do other things and the government will do other things to support them,” he said.
On his part, Kano governor, Mr. Ganduje, who spoke briefly on Mr. Buhari’s handling of the farmers/herders clashes, said the president had already met with key persons concerned and that “a suggestion has been put forward by the Minister of Agriculture concerning the (cattle) colony and I think eventually that is the answer”.