Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led presidential screening committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has shortlisted 13 aspirants to participate in the presidential primary election billed to hold on Monday, June 6, Leadership confirmed.
Telescope.ng gathered that the committee chairman confirmed the story while submitting its report yesterday to the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
Earlier 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.
But dependable sources in the presidency who have seen the full report, however told the newspaper last night that the said media reports suggesting that ten candidates had been disqualified were not true.
According to one of the sources, all 23 aspirants screened were cleared and qualified, but the committee recommended a “safe list” of 13 names.
Those recommended in the list are APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed 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, according to the report, include 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 yesterday afternoon.
The ten aspirants excluded from the shortlist are Pastor Tunde Bakare; former Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha; Cross Rivers state governor, Ben Ayade; former Zamfara State governor, Sani Yerima, and former Senate president, Ken Nnamani.
Others are former minister of Information and Culture, Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Demeji Bankole; US-based Pastor, Felix Nicholas, and the only APC female aspirant, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.
Our source who did not want his name in print because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said, “The committee did not disqualify anyone. I don’t know where the news about disqualification came from. The report made it clear that all the aspirants had been cleared and were qualified to contest in their own right.”
Another source close to the committee said the decision of the committee to recommend a “safe list” was based on the large number of aspirants who appeared for screening.
The source said, “During the screening, the aspirants told the committee that they were ready to accept a consensus candidate in the interest of the party. The only exception out of the 23 was Tinubu, who said he would only accept consensus if he was the beneficiary. That being the case, what is the point of going into the primary, which is only a few days away, with a horde of aspirants?”
On the basis for making the “safe list,” the source said electability and the complexity of the country’s makeup were considered, among other things.
“Apart from these two criteria, the committee also tried to avoid the potential of litigation and also the extent and degree of field work that the aspirants undertook,” the source noted, adding that “this last point weighed heavily on the committee’s mind because the committee wanted to recommend people who had actually gone out there to work.”