Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the party’s National Working Committee have recommended five aspirants for today’s presidential primary of the party while advising the remaining contenders to step down.
Those who got the nod of the governors and party leaders to remain in the race are former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu; a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who is the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, disclosed the development on Tuesday morning, saying the list of shortlisted “frontline candidates” has been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said okayed the recommendation.
“The president told us any of these five are qualified to be president and have contributed to the party (APC). He said he is comfortable with any of them,” said Lalong while speaking on Channels TV.
“Our recommendation is to enable us to give direction for the party as we go into the primary. We cannot go with everybody, but in our view, these are the people we think should remain.”
The Plateau Governor said the five recommended aspirants were also advised to hold consultations among themselves to enable them further reduce the number of contestants.
On how the list of “frontline” aspirants was arrived at, Mr Lalong said, “The screening committee submitted a report. All the contestants were graded even though none of them was disqualified.”
Lalong, however, added that contestants not shortlisted were free to disagree with the recommendation and proceed to contest at the primary.
The latest development appears a blow to the plot by the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu to foist Senate President Ahmed Lawan on the party as a consensus candidate.
The APC presidential screening committee had last week okayed 23 aspirants for today’s primaries.
They are Jigawa Governor, Abubakar Badaru; a former Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry, Godswill Akpabio; a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; a former Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, businessman, Jack -Rich, Tein; President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; a former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; a former Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya On and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Also cleared are a former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu; Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi; a former Governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade; General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, and a former Zamfara State Governor, Sani Yerima.
Also on the list are a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani; a former Minister of Information, Ikeobasi Mokelu; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives; Dimeji Bankole; a Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Borroffice; US-based pastor, Felix Nicholas and the only woman in the race, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.