The seven-member presidential screening committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by John Odigie-Oyegun recommended a “safe list” of 13 aspirants to the party ahead of its presidential primary, although it did not disqualify any of the 23 aspirants it screened.
Sources within the APC explained that a Lagos State-based pastor, Tunde Bakare, former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, and seven others were not included in the 13 “safe list” of aspirants as put forward by the screening committee.
Earlier on Friday, speculations about “disqualification” of some of the presidential aspirants were rife following the failure of Oyegun, who briefed journalists after submitting the report, to name the 13 aspirants on his committee’s shortlist.
It was later learnt that all 23 aspirants screened were cleared and qualified, but the committee recommended a “safe list” of 13 names.
According to sources, those recommended in the so-called “safe list’ are; APC national leader, Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi.
Others included former minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Ebonyi State governor David Umahi, and his Jigawa State counterpart, Abubakar Badaru.
Two other aspirants, former minister of the Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio and Mr Tein Jack-Rich, were also believed to have made the list after the committee submitted its report on Friday.
The sources added that apart from Bakare, Nnamani and Bankole, others excluded were; former Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha; Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade; former Zamfara State governor, Sani Yerima, former Minister of Information and Culture, Ikeobasi Mokelu; US-based Pastor, Felix Nicholas, and the only APC female aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
While submitting the report to the party leadership at the national secretariat, Oyegun said the committee would have gone a little shorter than 13 but chose to allow the party to decide who their preferred candidate will be.
He had said: “First, we had 23 member aspirants that we interacted with. And my first comment is that we were very occupant. Those were 23 that presented themselves. We had a lot of others, prominent Nigerians both within and outside the country that had applied but for whatever reason, could not proceed with their applications.
“The second point I want to make is that we were surprised at the active participation of the youthful members of the party. Some of them surprised us with what they have accomplished in life, their understanding of the situation in this country and why they want to have the privilege of governing this country.
“What was important was that they so believed in the country and the party that they were able to pay the sum that some of us considered princely handsome to participate in the process. And I think the party ought to pat itself on the back for them.”
Also, Imran Muhammad, an APC member privy to the inner workings of the party, confirmed the 10 names not on the priority list of the party.
Muhammad, citing a source, said the Oyegun-led panel cleared all the 23 presidential hopefuls but recommended a “safe list” which contains 13 names, while 10 names were not in the priority for the convention.
Via Sahara Reporters