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APC Screening Panel Disqualifies 10 of 23 Presidential Aspirants

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Screening Committee has disqualified 10 out of the 23 aspirants seeking the party’s ticket to contest the 2023 general poll.

A former national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who is chairman of the screening committee stated this on Friday afternoon while submitting the report of the screening exercise to the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu on Friday in Abuja.

Mr Oyegun disclosed that all the aspirants passed the ‘basic constitution’ requirement, however, the panel had to shortlist some aspirants.

He applauded the youth that participated in the process, stating that the panel was very impressed with their performances.

“And on that basis (Constitution) every single member or aspirant that presented himself qualified because it was basic and simple. But we are in the governing party and we are keen on continuing the process of replacing—at a proper time—our president with another member of the party.

“It is on that basis that we made our final shortlist. I don’t want to read the names which I think would leave to you (Chairman) but we have a shortlist. We brought the number severely down to 13.

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“We could have cut it a little shorter but we wanted deliberately the younger elements to surface for them to be seen, for them to be noticed and no noise. We would hand them over to the party and it is for the party to decide whom their candidate will be.”

Consensus Candidate

Mr Oyegun disclosed that 22 aspirants agreed with the consensus arrangement, except one of the aspirants, who insisted that it must be either him or a contested primary.

“We engaged every aspirant on the issue of consensus and it was a pleasant surprise that 99 per cent agreed that the party is supreme and whatever the party finally decides, with proper consultations, they were likely to accept. There is only one person that said I will accept consensus as long as it is based on me.

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“So, I think it is a point I need to emphasise on it. That gives you a way in the hours ahead to trim down even more drastically. But finally, we think we should not be afraid of the contested primary if anybody insists on the contest,” he said.

Those screened were a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu; a cleric, Tunde Bakare; Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa; former governor of Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun; former governor of Zamfara, Sani Yerima and Rotimi Amaechi, former minister of Transportation.

Others were a former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; Felix Nicholas, a pastor; the only female presidential aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye; a senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

The governor of Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Tein Jack-Rich; former Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of Information, Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, were also screened.

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Aspirants with challenges during Screening

During its assignment, the committee received a petition against Mr Tinubu over discrepancies in his educational qualification.

Sagir Mai Iyali had asked the screening committee to disqualify the former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, from the presidential race.

Mr Iyali, who claimed to be a member of APC Kano, wrote a petition dated May 17 and addressed it to the National Chairman of the APC, Abdulahi Adamu.

Also, a former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, attended the screening while under investigation over misappropriation of funds.

Mr Okorocha almost missed the screening as he was in EFCC custody until his N500 million bail was perfected.

Mr Okorocha moved to the venue of the screening directly from EFCC custody after he was granted bail.

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