Officials from the All Progressives Congress’s National Working Committee have explained why the screening of the party’s 25 presidential candidates has been postponed.
Felix Morka, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said in a statement released Sunday night that a new date for the election would be announced soon.
Nigerians were taken aback when it was announced that the exercise would not take place on Monday as planned.
This is the second time the party’s National Working Committee has moved the presidential screening date after it failed to take place on May 14 as planned.
Confirming the report, APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu, said the postponement became necessary as the screening panel has not been constituted.
Argungu, however, assured party members that the panel will be constituted today.
“But, we have to consult with our leaders before we make it public. By Monday, we will know who the panellists are,” he said.
He also said that a seven-man panel, comprising a member from each of the six geo-political zones, will be set up by the National Working Committee.
Although a new date for the presidential screening has not been officially announced, Argungu hinted that it could likely take place on Tuesday at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
While his justification for delaying the screening may appear plausible, a source in the secretariat told our correspondent that the alleged formation of screening panels is nothing more than a smokescreen.
According to him, the party’s grand plan is to put its house in order and compel presidential candidates to participate in proposed consensus talks.
The list of the aspirants who have submitted their nomination forms ahead of May 29 presidential primary are the National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osibanjo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger Delta Development, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha and former Ogun state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosu.
Others were Pastor Tunde Bakare, Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; his Ebonyi State counterpart, Gov. Dave Umahi; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello; Jigawa Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and former Zamfara State governor, Sen. Ahmed Yerima.
Others on the list are Senator Ajayi Borroffice, the only female aspirant, Mrs Uju Kennedy Ohnenye; Pastor Nicholas Felix Nwagbo, former Speaker of Representative, Dimeji Bankole; Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, former Minister of Information, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu and oil mogul, Mr Tein Jack Rich.